When I say baking, most people will only think of 'cakes' as was kindly pointed out to me by someone a couple of months back. More often than not, 'cakes' are synonymous with 'pastries' - the rich, spongy, loaded with whipped cream and decorated with sugar flowers variety. I argued in vain because to me 'baking' is not restricted to cakes. But the truth is people, at least in India, will associate it with pastries. Baking includes so many different varieties of food that is not restricted to cakes or even desserts for that matter.
About a year ago, when I saw the Rachel Allen Bake! series for the first time, I heard the renowned Indian chef, Atul Kochhar, make Indian' baked' delicacies. Nankhatai and Bebinca. That's when I realised that although the form of baking is a little different, Indian food also has a large variety of 'baked' goods, not in the least limited to cakes. Think of the 'tandoor'. What does it do? It 'bakes' your breads (naan, kulcha). I could go on about this, but here I am talking about one such, less known, but utterly delicious Indian 'baked' dessert called Bebinca. This is a Goan dessert, although from Wikipedia it appears to me that it originated in Portugal (not surprising, given the long hold of the Portuguese on Goa).
Bebinca is made with white flour, egg yolks, coconut milk, sugar and ghee (or clarified butter). It is a layered cake like pudding, which is baked layer by layer, in a clay oven or cooked on a wood fire with the vessel covered (something similar to 'dum'). when one layer is cooked, a layer of ghee is added and a layer of batter and cooked further. Traditionally it has 16 layers. Very few people bake this today, because of the effort and the heat. It reminds me of another such layered cake called Baumkuchen, a German cake baked on a spit.
So here are two pictures of authentic Goan Bebinca, that the Chef presented us with on one of our trips to Goa. Trust me, Bebinca is delicious and make sure you try it on your next trip to Goa!!!