This is one of my favorite desserts...but I could never make it as well as my grandma or the people at Petits Fours (the pudim is behind the passion fruit mousse on the yummy photograph below), a sweet shop in Leblon, my favorite neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Here it goes, though.
1 cup sugar (for the caramel)
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 500° F. Prepare a caramel like you would for pudim de leite (Brazilian sweetened condensed milk flan).
Put the sugar in the ring mold. Place the mold directly over medium heat. Keep turning the mold until the sugar melts into a golden brown caramel and spoon it up the sides of the mold. Be careful not to burn the sugar and yourself. I use an oven mitt to hold the mold in my left hand and a large spoon for the sugar in my right hand. This way I can keep turning the mold and spooning the sugar. Let the mold cool.
Gradually whisk the egg whites until foamy (we used to do it by hand, but now, of course, there are electric mixers...). Increase the speed and add the sugar by spoonfuls. When the meringue forms stiff peaks, fold in the lime zest. Use a rubber spatula to gently spoon the meringue into the mold. Bake until the surface is golden brown (about 5 minutes in my oven, which is really hot). Cool and refrigerate, covered, overnight.
Just before serving, run the tip of a knife around the inside of the mold. Place a deep platter over the mold and invert: the pudim should slide out easily. If not, give the mold a firm but careful shake. Spoon the caramel sauce on top and serve. Serves about 10. Totally yummy! I love to eat this with the passion fruit mousse...total pig out!
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