Natas do Ceu
No worries, the rest of this text is in English. "Natas do Ceu" is Portuguese for Cream from Heaven. It is one of the country's most traditional desserts. Last summer, I spent two weeks backpacking in Portugal, which gave me an excellent opportunity to learn a thing or two about the local cuisine. I must say, I love their approach to desserts. Naturally, they are full of sugar but also full of eggs! And we do adore eggs, don't we?
For those of you, who might have found this site by accident, what follows is a recipe for a sugar-free, low-carb, high-fat version of Cream from Heaven. Do stick around and enjoy this sugarless, albeit sweet and creamy Portuguese dessert.
Heaven, I'm in heaven ...
You might be thinking the same thing I would be thinking: "If she (the author of this blog) goes by the ketogenic way of eating, how can she be a fan of Portuguese desserts, having run into them just recently? Well, to tell the truth, I took a break from any form of low-carb/keto lifestyle on the trip. It was an absorbing experience (in good and bad), and I'm still planning on writing a blog post about the consequences.
Anyhow, for now, let's just take a look at the sunny side: Cream from heaven can taste heavenly. It is full of eggs, which is keto heaven. On the other hand, it is also full (very full) of sugar, which acts like a drug in your brain, and takes you to heaven immediately. What follows, really doesn't matter during the moments of stuffing your mouth with the sweet, creamy mousse.
The original version calls for crushed cookies like Maria cookies. Here, we use our own keto cookies that can sit in the cream for days, get all soaked, and still remain crunchy. Ha ha! The secret lies in ground macadamia nuts. Feel free to use any other type of nuts. Feel even more free to make a double batch of the cookie crumble, and keep half of the (uncrushed) cookies for ... occasional munching on cookies!
Whatsoever, here is a low-carb version of the recipe for you, low-carb people. It is not the quickest procedure but going to heaven does take a little bit of effort. Or so they say.
Cream from Heaven
Cookie crumble (can be made well in advance)
- Separate egg whites from the yolks. Measure out approximately ½ of an egg white (1 Fl. oz.) and keep it separately.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line a baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, mix softened butter and erythritol. Add in vanilla extract and mix.
- Using an S-blade food processor, ground the macadamia nuts. Make sure you leave it roughly ground, not turning it into flour or even butter.
- Put the ground macadamia into a medium bowl. Sift together both flours and salt, adding them to the ground macadamia.
- Add the flour mixture and macadamia to the butter-erythritol mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
- The dough now is probably crumbly and does not hold together very well, but do not worry. Shape it into a flat disk, wrap it in a plastic foil, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough on the baking pan ½ inch thick. It still acts crumbly at this point but will hold together once baked and cooled down. Try shaping a square. Cut out 12 or more rectangle-shaped cookies.
- Take half of the egg white, mix it lightly with ½ tbsp. powdered erythritol, and spread it over the cookies.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Make sure not to burn the cookies. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down completely. They will get firm when cooled. Once cooled, crush the cookies.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks until frothy. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix heavy cream, erythritol, lemon rind and cinnamon stick. Note: I couldn't get an organic lemon on this occasion, so I mixed in some pre-bought organic lemon zest.Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the pan.
- Bring this mixture close to a boil, then slowly add it to the egg yolks, whisking the eggs constantly. Return the cream/egg mixture to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the egg/milk mixture thickens.
- Pass egg cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in butter until incorporated and let it cool.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Slowly add 2 tbsp. powdered erythritol and continue to beat until the mixture (now meringue) is very thick and glossy.
- In another large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Gradually add 3 tbsp. of powdered erythritol and whip until you get very stiff peaks. Be careful not to whip the cream over or it will become butter.
- Fold the meringue into the whipped cream, a little at a time and slowly so as to not deflate the mousse mixture. Chill this mousse until you’re ready to assemble.
- Prepare 8 individual serving glasses or one large serving bowl. Add a layer of the crushed cookies, followed by a layer of mousse. Repeat with another layer of cookies and mousse. Smooth the top layer of mousse with the back of a spoon. Top the mousse with the egg cream.
- Chill for at least 4-5 hours before serving. Overnight chilling in the fridge works best. Keep the Heavenly cream in there for a couple of days if needed. Enjoy!