One of my favorite Brazilian dessert my mom makes is Manjar de Braco. She also make a delicious variation of this, Manjar de Coco, with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. In Brazil, Manjar Branco is made with milk, sugar, and cornstarch. We cook these ingredients until becomes a thick sauce, then set it in a mold and refrigerate it. It is usually served with a sweet sauce made with prunes.
Although you can fnd Manjar Branco in most Brazilian households as a typical dessert, we were not the ones who created this “whitedish”. Manjar Branco, is believed to have been brought to medieval Europe by the Arabs. It used to be a savory dish, often enjoyed with chicken and vegetables. Somewhere between then and now Manjar Braco turned into a dessert.
I made individual vanila scented Manjar Brancos and served them with a caramelized fig sauce. For the actual Manjar itself, I simply used whole milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch and vanila extract. I chose not to used vanila beans for esthetic purposes - I wanted it to be pure white. However, if you don't mind the tiny black specs, go for it! You can also flavor it with other ingredients of your choice: cinnamon, cheese, etc. This dessert is so quick to put together. After about 5 minutes of stirring the ingredients over medium-high heat, I placed my thick white sauce in individual molds and refrigirated it for at least 1 hour.
I love fresh figs. Since they are in season, I decided to incorporate them into my dish and make a caramelized fig sauce to serve with my Manjar. Like the Manjar, you can also get creative with the sauce.