Brazilian Lemonade

It’s not summer yet, but you’ll be glad to have this in your arsenal when those long hot days finally roll around. The Minion and I discovered this amazing beverage while we were tooling around Salt Lake City and ended up having dinner at a Brazilian grill. The funniest part about it is that it contains no lemons whatsoever. But that is what it’s called.

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The traditional method follows the rule of threes: 3 limes, 3 cups water, 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, and 3 tablespoons sugar, but you can play with it as much as you like to come up with something that suits. I like it with a hint of mint added, myself.

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Take your 3 limes, washed and scrubbed, and slice off the stem and leaf bits at the top and bottom, then quarter them. If you have a really good blender, traditionalists will chuck the limes in whole, but my blender is not that great, so I quarter them. I found wedges were better than cutting rings, as the rings tended to get stuck around the blade at the bottom.

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Fill your blender with 3 cups water and chuck those limes in.

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Next, add in 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. I thought at first I could leave out the sugar but it’s necessary. The milk is just not sweet enough. Feel free to use any sugar substitute you like, of course.

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Now this looks way less appetizing, I’m sure. If you want to add some mint, tip in some fresh leaves at this point.

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Blend for about thirty seconds, until you have this frothy goodness.

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Strain out all the solids and compost those. Your compost bin will smell amazing.

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What you’re left with is a pale green milky liquid and a bit of froth.

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Serve over a glassful of ice and enjoy how refreshing it is.

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Want a dairy-free version? Not a problem. Tip a can of coconut milk into the blender and top it up with water to equal three cups. You will need to double the sugar to six tablespoons to compensate. The result is a slightly creamier version, and I can’t decide which I like more.

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In terms of longevity, this beverage is meant to be served immediately (possibly with some white rum mixed in), but I couldn’t drink both batches by myself that quickly so I tossed them in the fridge. The one of the left is the one I made with coconut milk, and you can see that over time it separates quite a bit. That said, a quick stir and it’s back to emulsified goodness, with no alteration in flavour.

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Fluffy Lemon Creamy Pie Thing

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This dish is actually known as “Dairyman’s Delight” but that seemed a little sketchy to use as a title.  So obviously I went with something equally vague and sketchy of my own devising.  Way to go Ali.  I think in essence it’s a lemon chiffon pie of sorts, but having never had one, I could be wrong.  Either way, this is a good way for me to use up extra cream cheese, condensed milk, and gelatin that I have hanging around.

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In a bowl, stir together 1 cup whipping cream with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and let that stand for about 10 minutes.

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In another bowl, plop 1 8oz (250g) package plain cream cheese.  I find that the closer to room temperature the cream cheese is, the smoother it ends up being.  Give it a bit of a beating to even it out. I confess here I wasn’t as diligent about my mashing and room temperature-ing as I should have been. Sue me.

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Gradually beat 1 can sweetened condensed milk into the cream cheese mixture.  Leave that alone for a few minutes so you can do other things.

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Sprinkle 1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavoured gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a heatproof bowl.  Let that sit for 5 minutes (you can do this first so it sits while you beat up your cream cheese and stuff).

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Once it’s sat for a while and bloomed, set the heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (or sit it in a sink of hot water) and stir until it’s all dissolved and incorporated.

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Now, whip that lemon-cream mixture (that has been waiting so patiently for you) until it starts to stiffen.

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Pour that creamy goodness into your cream cheesy goodness and continue to beat until it’s all well-blended. Stir in your gelatin as well as 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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Pour the whole thing into a 10″ deep dish graham cracker pie crust  (I bought this from Sobeys but you could make your own) and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. My pie pan wasn’t deep dish, but the filling has enough structure that you can kind of mound it into a little hill on top and it will stay.

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Serve with fruit on top.  Enjoy!

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