T'was the Day Before Natal

... and all through the house...

Oh nevermind!

It's busy here in this Portuguese house and I just wanted to share a little something festive from Portugal for my American (and Canadian and Australian and British... you get the point :D) friends and family as well as something that we love in The States for my Portuguese friends and family.

That means this post will be short and sweet with two recipes; one for Sonhos (Dreams) and the other for homemade Eggnog.

Sonhos for Natal

Sonhos (Dreams) with Strawberry Sauce

  • 1/4 lb (57g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (236ml) water
  • 1 cup flour (white or wheat, it's your choice)
  • 4 eggs
  • oil for frying (peanut oil or vegetable oil are both good, the lighter in color the better)
Toss butter, sugar, salt and water to a boil in a small heavy pot over high heat. Remove from heat and pour in all of the flour, beating it with a wooden spoon until it makes a ball.

Set the pan on a wet towel (this is to help keep the pan in place) on the counter and add in eggs one at a time and beat with the wooden spoon (I'd say forgo the spoon and go with an electric mixer except this is one of those doughs that just climbs up the beaters and into the mixer itself, so save yourself some trouble and don't do it) making certain it's beaten in well and has become smooth before adding the next. This will be labor intensive but the out come is delicious.

Pour the oil into a deep pot or fryer and set it to a high heat. If you have a thermometer heat it until it reaches 375F (190C). If you don't then drop a 1 inch square of bread into the oil. If it takes 60 seconds to brown, then the oil is at 365F (so a little quicker would mean it would be the right temp).  Try to keep the temperature at a steady heat.

Drop 3-4 rounded spoonfuls of the dough into the oil and allow to cook 2-3 minutes or until all the sides are browned and it's puffed up. Drain fried sonhos on paper towels.

Serve warm with strawberry sauce (recipe below) or just sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Strawberry sauce
  • 1 cup (236ml) strawberry preserves
  • 1/3 cup (79ml) water
  • juice from half a lemon
In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, melt preserves with water and lemon juice (about 4-5 minutes, maybe longer if it takes a bit for your pan to heat up). Remove from heat and strain. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

X-mas Eggnog


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup of rum or bourbon (or whatever you'd really like in there instead OR omit all together)
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until they become lighter in color and the sugar has just dissolved. Combine the milk, cinnamon, ground cloves in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat mixture on medium heat until it is hot, but not boiling.

Slowly add half of the hot milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture or you'll wind up with scrambled eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk, until it begins to thicken slightly, and it runs in a stream when the whisk is lifted.
Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. If you have any lumps strain it through a mesh strainer and allow to cool for about an hour. Stir in vanilla and rum.

Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into the eggnog.

Put in the 'fridge until it reaches your desired coolness.

Be safe and have a Feliz Natal!


Dawniepants said...

Oh gosh yum! I'm really hungry now and it isn't Christmas anymore. Is it still acceptable to eat this?

Rochelle Ramos said...

Sure!! The first time I made sonhos was for Valentine's Day and eggnog... well that's good any time that it's cold :D