World Cup Fever: Ay Pacoquita!

It’s been called the Brazilian Reese’s. But it’s more than that. Let me introduce you to the Pacoquita.

On the outside, a happy peanut:

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Now, the only reason I have the conceit to blog about these babies is that the Philosophe and I face what my erstwhile chef-teacher used to call a “positive problem”. It is that (on my instruction) recently our dear sailor friend, who lives on some ridiculously Eden-like farm in Brazil (there is a cinnamon grove), brought us as many packets of these as he could carry. But he unfortunately forgot to check their best before dates (imminent), which means we now have to think of a way to consume a lot of these fast.

So, glut of Pacoquita + couple of fading apples = fabulous World Cup cake!

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Apparently they’re also good crumbled on ice cream. Or sprinkled on toast with mashed banana (huh?). Or just popped straight into your mouth for a quiet explosion of peanut, salt and sugar. World of Peanut Butter, take note.

I believe that nothing bad can come from these. Except, of course, for the extra burden on that poor, down-trodden scale.

Pop Tarts 101

Ever had a breakfast that looks like this?

Me neither, until just now. It was my first taste of this thing I’ve been hearing about for years, and which comes out of a box which looks like this:

Pop Tarts are rather popular in the US, I believe – so much so that they were apparently the first thing that Walmart sold out of in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (they keep for a long time). Some experts say that they are also indispensable for hiking – but do beware, because bears like them too. Though if a bear should eat some of you along with its Pop Tart, the shiny foil could just save your life by helping rescue workers to spot you, incapacitated (hopefully not decapitated), in a ravine. When enjoying them at home, don’t leave them in the toaster for too long, as they are also rather flammable (that’s due to all the weird chemicals the “government” puts in there to make you stupid, and which indeed turn this humble pastry into a government conspiracy).

So how do they taste? They taste of the USA, I’d say. Way too much sugar in there, but not too bad (in a small dose). And the pastry – long-life but curiously “fresh” tasting – is, as the Philosophe pointed out, a marvel of science. I did get briefly excited by the fact that there are 27 different flavours, and thus the possibility of discovering a flavour more suited to my palate (because I really don’t want a pastry that tastes like a blueberry muffin), but then I realised that they don’t do anything with peanut butter. WTF? How un-American is that?

Of course if they were made in South Africa, we’d be all over the savoury fillings: cheese and onion, boerewors and chutney… how about Simba’s whacky 2010 flavours: Walkie Talkie chicken (don’t ask: I have no idea), vetkoek and polony, snoek and atchar, masala steak gatsby…though let’s not given anyone more ideas about perfecting the science of long-life meat products.

And finally, I must now confess that it’s not true that I’ve never eaten something that looks like a Pop Tart. There is indeed a variant of (real) Danish pastry called hindbærsnitter (raspberry “slice”) which looks very much like it:

I didn’t make these (pic shamelessly swiped from someone else’s Danish Kitchen, where you can also find the recipe), but I did once make my nephew a birthday cake based on the same principle (they were his favourite pastries), except that little boys have no time for little “slices”. He wanted his to be a green bat, naturally:

Very realistic, isn’t it. Just like a Pop Tart (which incidentally took its name from Andy Warhol’s Pop Art… gittit?).