Portuguese Christmas Golden Soup

In The City and the Mountains, the brilliant Portuguese writer Eça de Queiroz recalls his leaving Paris to return to his native Portuguese village for family reasons. What a nuisance. But then he realized that there might be compensations awaiting him: “I thought how good Aunt Vicencia’s golden soup would be. I hadn’t savored it for years, nor the roast suckling pig, nor the rice, made at our home!” He confided afterwards: “I ate with delight Aunt Vicencia’s golden soup…”

Golden soup is a dessert served usually during the Christmas season in the Minho province and more specifically in Viana do Castelo.–Edite Vieira

LC Portuguese Christmas Tradition Note

Though the Portuguese traditionally reserve golden soup for Christmas, we think they’d understand if you just can’t wait till the holidays to indulge.

Portuguese Christmas Golden Soup Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 slices sponge cake (it’s okay if it’s stale cake)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling


  • 1. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with the water and bring to the boil. Simmer until you have a thick syrup that registers 225°F to 230°F (105°C to 110°C) on a candy or deep-fry thermometer.
  • 2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the cake.
  • 3. When the syrup registers the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, carefully dip each slice of cake into the syrup and then place it in a large serving dish.
  • 4. Beat the egg yolks and slowly whisk them into the syrup remaining in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat for just a moment, stirring, until the mixture thickens but without allowing the yolks to curdle. Pour this custard over the cake slices, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let cool to room temperature before serving.
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