Bebinca – The Queen of Goan Desserts
Bebinca is one of those classic desserts that complete every Goan occasion be it a christening party, a Holy Communion, a birthday celebration, a traditional roce, a wedding, there’s always Bebinca.
The traditional Bebinca is cooked over a wood fire and has a lovely smoky flavour. It is a layered dessert and it takes about 4-5 hours to cook and seconds to devour. It is quite a tedious task to prepare.
There is an interesting legend behind the existence of Bebinca. The convent of Santa Monica in Old Goa had a rule where the sisters had to have stiff habits. They would add egg whites to the water to make the clothes stiff. Not knowing what to do with the extra eggs, one of the nuns there, Sister Bebiana, by name, tried to find a way of not wasting all the yolks. She mixed the yolks in fresh coconut milk, added sweetening agents, aromatic spices and baked it over a wood fire, layer by layer. Coconut husks are burnt and that is what gives the sweet-smelling flavours. This was a sweet success. The recipe was tweaked along the way. Layers were added. Now it is the Queen of Desserts.
One cannot leave Goa without sampling this dessert at least once. A trademark dessert and a true mark in the Goan Portuguese fusion cuisine.