What is Curau?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Curau is a sweet custard from Brazil. Also known as Curau de Milho Verde, or Brazilian corn pudding, it is a typical dessert served during Festas Juninas, or June Festivals, in the country. The dish is made from milk, sugar, and the juice of unripened maize.

Curau is often topped with cinnamon.
Curau is often topped with cinnamon.

This light, sweet treat is a popular Brazilian dessert. It is often garnished with a sprinkling of flavorful cinnamon, and typically served chilled. It is also considered a quick dessert to prepare, and a favorite of Brazilian children.

The bulk of a curau recipe is usually corn processed in a blender with milk. Six ears of corn are typically needed for a standard recipe. The corn used should be fresh, scraped directly off the cob, and blended in a blender or similar device with milk before using. The resulting mush should be thoroughly strained. Only the liquid part of the mixture should be retained for the dish.

Once the mixture is strained, butter, sugar, and salt are typically added to the dish. Some cooks prefer to add condensed milk as well. This mixture should be simmered over heat in a pot and continually stirred. The cooking process can last between 15 and 45 minutes, and should continue until the corn base is thick and creamy. Once it reaches the desired consistency, it may be removed from heat and refrigerated until eating.

Before eating, curau is usually served in small dessert cups or serving dishes and topped with cinnamon. Sometimes it is served outside a dish, firmly set on a platter in a circle or square shape, similar to flan. It can also be artfully arranged in goblets, bundt cake pans, or any other shape desired. To do this, the finished hot custard should be poured into the container of choice, then chilled as normal.

For those who simply wish to purchase the dessert, it is often available in Brazilian grocery stores. Curau is often sold in small to medium plastic, lidded containers. These can be garnished for a personal touch with items such as cinnamon sticks, pumpkin, or chocolate wafers.

Depending upon the area of the country, curau may be known by several names. Most people in Rio de Janeiro know the Brazilian custard as corn porridge, or papa-de-milho. In the large area of Minas Gerais, curau is called corá. In Northern Brazil, the sweet custard is called canjica, while people in the south refer to the dessert as simply curau.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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