So many different names for one delicious dessert! Bebinca is Goa’s pride. According to Fatima da Silva Gracia who authored Cozinha de Goa suggests that Bebinca might have been invented by Bibiona, a nun at the Convento da Santa Monica in Old Goa.
Her first version was crafted with seven layers to represent the seven hills of Lisbon and Old Goa. My grandmother’s sister Aunty Annie, would make this in their tiny kitchen in Mumbai. I’m not totally sure how she prepared it as they didn’t have an oven. In the old kitchens of Goa, Bebinca is made using a clay pot and hot coal.
In the modern kitchen like mine, Bebinca is made in the oven and alternating with the convection and broiler setting. You want the tops of the layers to just get enough colour to distinguish between where one layer starts and ends. The custard itself is super simple – eggs, sugar, coconut milk and flour and the layers are brushed with ghee. The trick is patience, cooking each layer one by one and broiling in between till you get a stack of pure heaven.
- 9 Egg Yolks
- 400 gms Sugar 2 cups
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 600 ml Coconut milk 2 2/3 cups
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated Nutmeg
- 150 gms presifted Flour 1 1/4 cup
- Food colouring
- 1 cup Ghee
- Prepare the batter by whisking the Egg yolks together with the sugar
- Add the salt and pour in the Coconut Milk
- Add the Nutmeg and add the flour in additions
- The batter should yield 6 cups – separate this in half
- This is optional but I like to add a tiny bit of food coloring to half the batter
- Melt the Ghee and grease a baking tin – I like to use a square or rectangle but you can also use a round pan
- For the size of my tin, I add ¾ cup of the first batter and level it before baking in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins
- Before taking it out change it to broil but do keep an eye on it
- Brush with Ghee again and add ¾ of a cup of the other darker colored batter
- Repeat this process layer by layer
- If the layers bubble up, make sure they flatten when they are out of the oven before adding another layer to maintain straight lines
- Once all the layers are cooked and the Bebinca is cool free it from the cake pan and cut into slices and enjoy!