Mexidos (no English equivalent for translation)
Mexidos is a speciality from northern Portugal
1 large baguette of bread
200 g sugar
300 dl water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 egg yolks
1 glass of port wine
about 250 g honey
One fistful of each of the following: hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins, sultanas and pine nuts
Ground cinnamon (for decoration)
The bread should be bought at least 3 days in advance and left to dry in a cool dry place. It then needs to be cut into very small pieces (roughly 1 cubic centimeter each). The easiest way to achieve this is to use a food processor, taking care not to chop the bread too finely. Traditionally the bread was cut by hand, a task that normally fell to the children of the house.
Once the bread is ready, make a light syrup with the water, sugar and cinnamon into which you then add the pieces of bread. Let it all cook over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes stirring it constantly. Then stir the dried fruit and nuts into the mixture, along with the port and the honey. Finally, add the beaten egg yolks, and let the mixture cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, never stopping the stirring. The mixture should then be poured into one or more shallow serving dishes and left to cool.
Photograph (c)2008 Fernanda Quinta
Once cooled, sprinkle with ground cinnamon. One can decorate each plateful with the cinnamon in such a way as to create pretty patterns or even spell the relevant words for "Merry Christmas", as my grandmother used to do.