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Pope eats 4 layered Bebinca

The tasty Bebinca has been hailed as the golden jewel of all Goan desserts, by virtually anyone and everyone whose teeth have come into contact with the smooth rich delicacy. The latest person to sample Bebinca was none other than the honorable Pope Francis.

The sweet comforting, Bebinca was among 13 dishes prepared by the renowned Indian chef Vikas Khanna for the Pope at the Vatican. All the offerings had a common thread of originating from Christian communities in India. The majority of which would be very familiar to Goans. These include Chicken Xacuti, Lamb Vindalo with Sannas, Prawn Pulau and Bebinca’s poorer cousin, Dodol. The pope was so happy with the dinner, that as a gesture of gratitude he presented Khanna with a rose ring which he deeply cherished.

“I used a pizza oven to make the Bebinca. I could not make all seven layers, I made only four. It has not sunk in yet that I served the Pope a dish created by the Christians in Goa,” remarked a delighted Khanna.

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So what goes into a Bebinca?

A traditional Bebinca is usually made with seven layers and takes hours to bake, after meticulous care is taken to construct each layer. From village to village the quantities of the ingredients may vary, but largely the recipe stays the same:

  • Grated coconuts (x2)
  • Maida (150 grams)
  • 1 small nutmeg
  • 8 Egg yolks
  • Sugar (400 grams)
  • Ghee (2 tea spoons)
  • A pinch of salt

Origins of Bebinca

It is a widely held view that Bebinca was created in Goa during the Portuguese era, by Christian nun’s who came up with the recipe. They utilized the left over egg yolks after using the white to starch their clothing. In particular, it is believed that a nun named Bibiona was the first one to come up with the super treat, hence the name Bebinca.

Bebinca, which is also enjoyed with ice cream, has drawn copius admirers especially in Portugal and her former colonies. The latest story of the Pope enjoying dishes that originated in Goa should come as a proud moment for all Goans and give inspiration that our special recipes can get the world acclaim they deserve. Afer all the proof is in the pudding!

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