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Brazilian Coconut Custards (Quindim)

Bright yellow Brazilian quindim custards

Quindim are a favorite dessert in Brazil, especially in Salvador de Bahia. They are vibrant yellow in color and have a signature shine that make for an enticing little treat. Their texture is cooling and creamy, perfect for the warm summer months. 

Like many of the beautiful dishes in Bahia, quindim are a blend of African and Portuguese traditions. Egg yolks feature heavily in many Portuguese desserts, while the coconut crust in these sweets is of African influence. 

What Does Quindim Mean in English?

The word quindim is also of African origin. It is derived from dikende, a word from the African Kikongo language that means, roughly, “to act like a young girl.”

While it is uncertain why that particular name was chosen for this dessert, we might assume that it has to do with the quindims’ sweetness. There is an old American nursery rhyme that suggests that girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Perhaps there is something similar in the folklore of the Kikongo-speaking nations. 

Making Brazilian Quindim

Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: quindim are delicious. And what’s more, they require only a few ingredients and are quite simple to make. They are traditionally served in individual portions from a ramekin or small ring mold, similar mini flan. Occasionally, you will find them in a full-size cake called a quindão, which is offered in slices. 

The quindim get their vibrant yellow color from egg yolks, of which there are quite a few in this recipe. They also incorporate a good deal of sugar and a flavorful coconut crust. Like many custards, the ingredients are mixed together and baked in a bain marie. 

The bain-marie allows heat to be transferred to the custards slowly, letting them cook through before the crust forms and maintaining a creamy, non-grainy texture. It is a technique applied to many baked custards, like creme brulee. 

Quindim are naturally gluten free, and can also be amended to suit a keto diet (see notes below). 

Brazilian Quindim Recipe


12 egg yolks, strained through a mesh sieve
1 ¼ cup sweetened coconut flakes
¾ cups coconut milk, unsweetened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp real vanilla extract or almond extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a standard muffin tin, mini flan tin, or 12 ramekins with unsalted butter or nonstick spray. Add sugar in each container to coat and then a little extra in the bottoms.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the coconut flakes and coconut milk. Let stand while you proceed to the next step.
  4. Put the sieved egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is pale yellow and foamy in texture.
  5. Now add your coconut flakes and coconut milk and mix on low speed to combine.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared muffin tin, mini flan tin, or ramekins. Fill each to about ¾ full.
  7. Place your muffin tin or ramekin in a bain-marie. This is, essentially, a hot water bath. Find a large casserole that your tin or ramekins can fit inside and fill it with water about halfway up the custards.
  8. Bake the coconut custards in the bain marie for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife in the center of one to check for doneness. If the custard is still liquid, bake for an additional ten minutes.
  9. Remove the quindim from the oven and let it cool. You can serve it directly from the ramekins, but it is better to invert them onto a plate to show off that glossy, sugary topping. Use a cookie sheet to flip your muffin or flan tins before transferring to individual plates.

Recipe Notes:

To make keto-friendly quindim, replace the sweetened coconut flakes with unsweetened shredded coconut. Substitute monk fruit sweetener for the granulated sugar, and you’ll be good to go! 

Other sweet Brazilian recipes to try:

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