Weddings in Brasil are always a big affair. Friends of mine in the United Kingdom are very surprised when I tell them that couples in Brazil get married in the evenings as this is unusual in the UK. The later the wedding in Brazil the bigger the social statement you are making.
Then there’s the Reception and everything else that comes with it. I will not go into detail but what I wanted to make you aware of are the little ‘Wedding favours’. They are little in size but very, very plentiful! These ‘Wedding favours’ which are a must in every Brasilian wedding are called ‘Bem Casados’ which is translated as ‘Perfect Matches’.
Each of them consists of a two part sweet treat joined by soft toffee and as the toffee dries off it sticks the two halves together. As simple as it might sound, the making of the delicious Bem Casados is an art form. The dough is very delicate, even ‘temperamental’, and one must approach it with care.
All over the country there are small companies that make them but they are very often a family run business which has a recipe which has been passed down through generations.
When choosing the venue for the reception the bride and groom can do a ‘tasting’ in the various catering houses in order to choose the ones with the best ‘Bem Casados’. These catering companies not only apply an art to baking them but also apply an equal effort into ‘dressing them up’. The packaging is very important and at the actual wedding reception there will be a special area designated for the display of these ‘wedding favours’ as they are no ordinary sweets.
The guests are meant to help themselves to only one each on their way out of the reception but many guests have been known to take more that!
The picture above and on the left are by Vera Costa, a lady who owns a company in Salvador, Bahia which specializes in Cakes and receptions. Each company adds its own touch to the bem casados.
In São Paulo they have two companies which are rather nice too:
Caramelada is a company that I specially like as they do the most beautiful displays. There is also Conceição who have been making Bem Casados for more than 35 years and is known to cater for more upmarket weddings.
I will leave a simplified recipe here in case you would like to give it a go:
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
Couple of drops of vanilla essence
Line a baking tray with greased baking paper and using a piping bag fitted with a round tube make small circles with the dough. Leave some space between them as they tend do spread a bit.
Bake them until they become golden and cool them completely on the baking tray. Once cooled take one of them and spread some filling on it before joining the other half. Do the same with all the remaining ones.
The filling is often toffee like. You can make it at home by immersing 1 large tin of condensed milk in boiling water, and boiling for five hours. You will need to top the pan up with plenty of water every so often. If you choose to use a pressure cooker for that cooking time will go down by 1/5. Alternatively you can use a jam of your choice.
Wrap them up as desired.
Below is a picture of unwrapped and wrapped bem casados by Renata Boechat who has also provided the recipe above. Enjoy!!