The history of the Ovos moles (Soft Eggs) has a conventual origin in the 16th century. It was in the Convent of Jesus in Aveiro that this typical sweet was first prepared. While egg whites were used for household chores – for ironing clothes, for example -, yolks were not known for use. Until the day they added sugar!
Sugar cane was brought to Portugal by the Arabs in the 8th century and soon they started to try to plant it. However, it was only after a few centuries that they discovered that the ideal place to do it was the island of Madeira. Of this production, a part went directly to the royal house, which in turn distributed another part as alms to various institutions and convents.
Very good confectioners, the nuns of the convent quickly created a delicious egg dessert that would later result in the Aveiro Ovos moles.
The Soft Eggs are served in an host, due to the conventual influence, in forms that refer to the city of Aveiro and its fishing tradition and proximity to the sea – fish, shells. But they are also presented in small hand-painted barrels.
Since the implementation of the Porto-Lisbon railway line, the sale of soft eggs at the train stop at Aveiro station has traditionally been carried out by women dressed in regional costumes. The sweet is traditionally sold in wooden barrels painted externally with moliceiro boats and other motifs of the Ria de Aveiro.
Eça de Queiroz at Os Maias was referring to the Ovos Moles of Aveiro!
In the capital, this delicacy also has a prominent place – The Casa dos Ovos Moles in Lisbon. In wafers or in casks decorated with rigor, the Soft Eggs are part of a list of conventual sweets that are served here with all the tradition and where the eggs are kings. Fidalgo, Trouxas de Ovos, Celestes ou Toucinho do Céu accompanied by a Ginjinha, a Port Wine or a Moscatel.
And how to make soft eggs? Just take a look at the recipe below…
Ingredients: (24 units)
12 tablespoons of sugar
12 tablespoons of water
4 wafer sheets with molds
White-egg to seal the leaves
Place the egg yolks, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the heat, stirring constantly until the cream thickens. Allow to cool.
Pour small portions of the egg cream, already cold, into 2 sheets of wafer (leave a little cream to spread the other leaves). With a knife, spread the cream well, in order to fill the spaces between the moulds.
Bar the moulds of the other wafer sheets and place them on top of the previous ones.
Cut out the wafer moulds already filled.
Wet your thumb and forefinger in clear to bring the edges together. Cut the shavings from the moulds and you will have your Aveiro soft eggs ready.
Now just put it into practice! Enjoy!