Cooking with Maria Lawton, The Azorean Green Bean

Maria Lawton cook book

I recently wrote about how charmed I was by Maria Lawton, the Azorean Green Bean. After feeding me cake and tea, Maria and I started cooking together… and by that, I mean she cooked and I photographed and asked questions. She chose two dishes to cook from her childhood for me: galinha guisada com batatas (her sister Isabel’s stewed chicken and potatoes) and queijadas de leite (milk tarts), both of which can be found in her Azorean Cooking book.

The recipe for the stewed chicken is actually her sister’s recipe. Maria likes to cook in large portions so we used 3 lbs of chicken (!) for this dish. This recipe is some serious home cooking! It’s perfect for a chilly day, especially for a group of people (or if you want leftovers). You can find the recipe for the stewed chicken in her book, but the recipe for dessert can be found below.

Maria Lawton making batter

I was partial to the queijadas because I have a huge sweet tooth and it’s impossible to dislike this dessert. Before you start making them, I need to warn you: you can’t have just one. You can try, but you’ll inevitably find yourself reaching for a second. This is a variation on queijadas de nata, which are cream tarts, because there’s so much delicious milk in the Azores.

I can’t wait to try these recipes at home – without professional assistance this time. I’ll update this post with photos of the outcome when I make them next. Here’s the recipe for queijadas for you (you can thank me and Maria in the comments section below).

4 XL eggs or 5 L eggs
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
1 lemon, peeled
1 tsp vanilla
Confectioners sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
2. Grease muffin tins very well with butter (be really generous with the butter). Put to one side.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add milk and lemon peel and bring to a slow simmer. Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat until it’s a creamy consistency. Add the butter, and add the flour, bit by bit. Add the milk (removing the lemon peel) and vanilla and beat together. The batter will be runny, but don’t worry – it’s supposed to be.
5. Fill the tins about 3/4 of the way.
6. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until tops are golden.
7. A wonderful little trick Maria taught me was to make sure to loosen the tarts as they start to cool slightly, so that they don’t stick to the pan. Honestly, this is the kind of advice I need in the kitchen and why my recipes end up tasting great, but looking “less than professional”, to put it nicely.
8. Dust them with confectioners sugar (optional).


Queijadas de leite Maria Lawton

I learned to make queijadas de leite with Maria Lawton

I think we did a fabulous job. Will you be trying this recipe at home too?

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