Quindim is a traditional Brazilian dessert primarily made with coconut, egg yolks, and sugar. It has a consistency like that of custard and is similar to the popular Spanish dessert flan. Quindim is bright yellow in color due to the large number of egg yolks in the recipe and is customarily served in molds of either individual cups or one large ring.
The source of the typical quindim recipe is believed to be, at least in part, based on traditional Portuguese baked desserts. The recipe was modified by slaves in the Bahia area of Brazil during the 17th century. The profusion of coconuts in the region during that time made coconut an integral part of the reinvented recipe, but the utilization of massive amounts of egg yolks indicate its Portuguese roots; Portuguese cookery traditionally employs substantial numbers of egg yolks. Like the Brazilian desserts fios de ovos, papo de anjo, queijadinha, and the Portuguese dessert Cocada amarela, egg yolks are the staple ingredient in any quindim recipe.
A classic quindim recipe includes approximately 1 lb. (about 454 grams) of sugar, anywhere from 15 to 20 egg yolks, and up to a half-pound (around 227 grams) of butter. Generous helpings of coconut, as well as a dash of vanilla extract, are also commonly added. Other ingredients like milk, coconut milk, water, or even a sprinkling of parmesan cheese are sometimes combined with the batter. Like most custard desserts, the quindim is then poured into either single cups or a large mold, placed in approximately a half-inch (1.3 cm) of water, and baked at 350°F (around 177°C) until a golden-colored crust forms on the top of the custard. After cooling for a short period of time, the still-warm quindim is removed from the mold. It is served cold, crust side down.
If quindim is made in a ring-mold, it may also be known by the name quindao. It is removed from the mold when still slightly warm and put into the refrigerator. After being thoroughly chilled, the custard is cut into slices. The quindim/quindao is served by the individual slice and is sometimes garnished with fresh fruits.
The word "quindim" has its origins in the Bantu language of Sub-Saharan Africa, which was undoubtedly the birthplace of many of Brazil's slaves during the 17th century. They utilized this term of their mother tongue when christening the sugar- and egg yolk-heavy dessert. Loosely translated, "quindim" means "the gestures, demeanor, or humorous characteristics of adolescent girls."