Recipe for a Tropical Christmas
is not a traditional Christmas recipe, but it is something easy
to make, something that everybody likes and that serves a lot
of people. I read it in a cook book and adapted it for my taste
and every year I make it for Christmas. We call it "torta
salgada" in Brazil ("torta" is the Portuguese
word for pie), but it is basically a big sandwich decorated with
This is the one
I made for Christmas 2001. As everything was done in a hurry
this year, I couldn't decorate it like I normally do, using lots
of greens (lettuce, crest, parsley, cherry tomatoes etc to create
a Christmas tree on top) but this picture can give you an idea
of how you can decorate it. I used lettuce, tomatoes, green peas
and corn on this one to cover.
1 can ham or liver paté
1 small chopped onion
1 cup parsley
1 cup coriander
lettuce (to decorate)
1 tomato (to decorate)
2 cans corn (1 can is used to decorate)
1 can green peas (to decorate)
raisins (to decorate - optional)
brocolli (to decorate - optional)
2 cans "creme de leite" or heavy cream (*see note 1)
600g white cheese (*see note 2)
15 slices of white milk bread (*see note 3)
1 jar of your favorite jelly (I use blueberry or strawberry)
1 glass fresh milk
the tuna paste like you normally do. I just mix the tuna with
mayonnaise and chopped onions and add a little bit of mustard.
If you don't eat tuna, you can substitute it for another one.
You can use cooked turkey or chicken to make a paste by mixing
it with mayonnaise and adding your favorite seasonings.
the cheese and herbs paste, follow these steps:
Note 2: I use a Brazilian cheese typical from the Minas Gerais
state which is called "queijo de Minas" and mix it
with the onions and the heavy cream ("creme de leite")
to make the cheese and herbs paste. You can use ricotta instead.
I spread the cheese paste in the middle and use the herbs paste
to cover (it will have a light green color when done), but the
original recipe uses only mayonnaise to cover. Personally, I
don't like it because it's too grassy, even if you use light
mayonnaise. You can also substitute the cheese paste for cream
cheese if you prefer, but beat it well in order to make it easier
to spread over the bread (I used cream cheese once and it works).
This is the "queijo de Minas"on the left and the "creme
de leite" on the right.
the chopped onion, the cheese and the heavycream in the blender,
approximately 1 can sour cream, 1 talblespoon chopped onion and
400g cheese. Add a pinch of salt and taste. It must be creamy.
If you use ricotta, it won't be so creamy and will have a harder
consistency. Maybe cottage cheese will work too, but I haven't
tried. I used cream cheese once when I made it for my sister's
birthday in April 2002 while I was in Boston and it worked. :o)
This is how my cheese paste looks after it's done.
the herbs paste, just add the parsley and the coriander. I use
two other green leaves, but I have no idea of their names in
English. This year I only used the parsley and the coriander
and it tasted good too. The herbs are just to give a green color
and a nice taste.
tastes really good if you follow this order :
three slices of bread in a large tray, one beside the other.
3: The bread I use is cut horizontally in thin slices without
the brown part around it - I don't know how it is called. :o).
Here is a picture:
you want it for just a few persons, you can use only one or two
slices of bread in a tray. If you can't find bread cut in large
slices like this, just use the regular square bread and cut the
brown part around it and put it one beside the other on a tray.
a little bit of milk. Here is the bread after I sprinkled the
milk on top. (Don't use too much milk, it's just to make it a
the first paste (I put the tuna paste at the bottom). Put three
other slices of bread and sprinkle the milk again. (You must
do this every time you spread a paste or paté on the bread).
you can see the tuna paste on the bread partially covered by
two other slices of bread.
the jelly, cover with three slices of bread and sprinkle milk.
the cheese paste. Then sprinkle some canned corn on top. (You
can also use heart of palms instead of corn. It tastes very good).
with three other slices of bread. Sprinkle the milk. Spread the
ham or liver paté. Then sprinkle chopped parsley and coriander
on top. Put three other slices of bread. Sprinkle the milk. Spread
the herbs paste. Decorate it with chopped lettuce on the sides
and everything else you like on top. I use canned corn, green
peas and sliced tomatoes. When I make it for Christmas, I decorate
it with brocolli, making the shape of a Christmas tree and raisins.
This year I used only green peas, corn, lettuce, tomatoes and
parsley to decorate.
it in the fridge until serving. It must be served cold.
can add other kinds of paste or replace the ones you don't like
or buy pastes ready to use that you can buy in the supermarket
instead of making them at home. And trust me, this recipe is
wonderful, everybody likes it. The secret is to use the cheese
paste in the place of mayonnaise to cover the bread, it is less
grassy and has more flavor.
Note 1: We use something called "creme de leite" in
this recipe. I got these pictures at the Nestlé Brazilian
site. But it can be substituted by heavycream if you cannot find
it in any supermarket. The "creme de leite" can be
used to make both sweet or salted recipes, like this one. I use
the same product to make my chocolate mousse, for example. The
most similar product I found in the US to the Brazilian "creme
de leite" is the heavy cream. You can find this one in Brazilian
or Spanish supermarkets.