Everyone has a favorite food; a dish that reminds them of the people and places they love. Whether it is the apple pie mom always made or your favorite bodega snack, a favorite food is like a small piece of home! Our au pairs submitted these traditional comfort food recipes that represent the cultures and culinary traditions they hold close to their heart. Try making a new dish with the family, invite some friends, and bon appetit!
Brigadeiros from Brazil
“Brigadeiros are a favorite among Brazilian children and are traditional food at all birthday parties. I would say that a party is not a real Brazilian party without brigadeiros!” -Submitted by: Renata Duprat C. M. De Barros and Midia Lambertucci, Cultural Care au pairs from Brazil
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons powdered cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles
1. Mix ingredients well and cook over low heat until mixture starts to separate from side of pan.
2. Continue to stir constantly for another two minutes.
3. Pour into a greased dish and let cool.
4. Butter your hands and make balls about the size of a cherry, roll them in sprinkles.
5. You can put them in small cupcake cups or keep them on a serving plate.
Potato Pancakes from Eastern Europe
“This is what we make for our large families. It is probably the easiest recipe in the world! It’s an extremely popular dish in Poland, Russian, Belarus, and Ukraine. In Russian it’s called ‘draniki;’ in Poland ‘placki ziemniaczane.’” -Submitted by: Cultural Care au pairs Ivana Jedlickova, Dana Tajcova and Jana Liskova from the Czech Republic, and Yuliya Andrukevich and Annia Kazmierska from Poland
2 lbs. potatoes
½ cup milk
4 cloves of garlic
7 oz. flour
1 finely diced onion (optional)
sour cream or apple sauce (optional)
1. Wash, peel, and grate potatoes.
2. Add hot milk, eggs, spices, crushed garlic, flour, and onion.
3. Mix well with an electric mixer.
4. Heat frying pan with oil.
5. Ladle batter into hot frying pan and fry on both sides to a golden brown.
6. Serve immediately.
7. You can use sour cream or apple sauce for dipping.
Beef Pie (Bobotie) from South Africa
“It is a Cape Malay traditional dish. Every family has their own unique recipe for this shepherd-pie like favorite. It is usually served with yellow rice.” -Submitted by: Genna Duplessis, Cultural Care au pair from South Africa
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef or lamb
1 slice of bread
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 oz. sultanas (Mediterranean raisins)
1 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon chutney
juice and rind of 1/3 lemon
4 bay leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and the meat and fry until brown, turning from time to time.
3. Drain off excess oil and set aside.
4. Soak the bread in half of the milk, mash with a fork and add to meat.
5. Add the remaining ingredients except the eggs, remaining milk and bay leaves to the meat mixture and mix well.
6. Transfer the mixture to a casserole and stick the bay leaves into the mixture and mix well.
7. Bake for 1 hour.
8. Remove the bay leaves, then beat the egg with the remaining milk and pour over the meat mixture.
9. Return for another 30 minutes.
10. Traditionally served with yellow rice.
Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen) from Germany
“My grandmother always made this cake and I love it! I love cinnamon so I normally sprinkle it on top of the cake.” -Submitted by: Claudia Weber, Cultural Care au pair from Germany
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup nuts, chopped
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
8 oz. cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
2. Beat eggs and oil in mixer until foamy.
3. Add and mix sugar, flour, apples, cinnamon, baking soda, and nuts by hand.
4. Pour into 9 x 13” pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.
5. For icing: With a mixer, combine and beat cream cheese, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar.
6. Spread over the cake once it has cooled.