News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Getahead » Christmas Recipe: Audrey Crasto's Guava Cheese, Rose Cookies

Christmas Recipe: Audrey Crasto's Guava Cheese, Rose Cookies

Last updated on: December 21, 2023 15:32 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Audrey Crasto grew up in Mazgaon, central Mumbai, once a picturesque Roman Catholic neighbourhood of old stone houses, lovely churches, cheek-by-jowl Portuguese villages and a place of sonorous sounds, like guitars strumming and church bells.

Christmas was, and still is, a busy time in Mazgaon, when every home starts cooking up a rumpus. So along with the usual sounds, the tunes of Christmas carolling practice rent the air, and Mazgaon, at that time, also gained some of the best fragrances in the city, as thousands of homes got down to baking plum cakes, bolinhas and frying or stirring up rose cookies, kulkuls, fudge, marzipan, dodols and sorpotels.

"A few weeks back I visited my brother in Mazagaon. Normally I go there just a couple of times a year, late evening for a birthday party or during the Christmas week or Easter," says Audrey's husband Ivan. "This time I stayed overnight and spent a couple of days there just to look around the place where I grew up and how it is now."

"As I walked through the streets, it was hard to believe that this sleeping, peaceful locality, of what was one of Bombay's seven islands, has changed so much over the last 40 years or so. Most of the tiled houses and buildings with wooden staircases had given way to high-rise structures. The East Indians and Goans, who originally lived there were hard to find; the sense of calm in the neighbourhood was conspicuous by its absence. The pavements have been taken over by hawkers and maddening crowds."

"Gone was the day when you would wake up to your favourite song playing from someone’s gramophone or a two-in-one, or meet someone sitting outside his house playing the guitar or kids playing marbles in the passage. With most of the original residents having moved out of the building, there was hardly anyone to be seen.

"I still remember the door to the entrance of the house only being shut at night. Grandmamas used to be streaming through those open doors ready to offer help or advice with cooking tips. Now there's not a door open; that 'Good morning, goodnight' we would greet elders with was not heard. Really sad, the serenity and brotherhood that was associated with the place is no more. It's no longer maza-gav!"

Those lovely memories of that Mazgaon, fortunately still live on in the delicacies whipped up for Christmas, wherever the Crastos are. Rose Cookies and Guava Cheese are two winning preparations Audrey has always made for Christmas.

Rose Cookies

Photograph: Kind courtesy: Vikram Rajashekar/Wikimedia Commons

Rose Cookies

Servings: 25-30


  • 1 cup maida or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/3 cup fine-grained sugar, like castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds, optional
  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying

Audrey Crasto's Rose Cookies

IMAGE: Audrey Crasto's Rose Cookies that take their name from their shape. Rose Cookies are made in many countries -- in Portugal they use port wine and orange juice instead of coconut milk. Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/


  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, adding water carefully.
    The required consistency shouldn’t be too thick or too runny.
  • Heat oil for deep frying in a kadhai or wok till quite hot.
    Dip the mould (form), flower or butterfly shaped,in hot oil before dipping it in the mixture.
    Then place the dipped mould into the heated oil and hold till the batter leaves it.
    Fry till light brown and drain onto a tissue or paper towel-lined plate.
  • When cool, store in an air-tight container.

Guava Cheese

Photograph: Kind courtesy: Voton/Wikimedia Commons

Guava Cheese

Servings: About 800 gm


  • 6 medium-sized round ripe or overripe guavas, yellow skin and white innards (inside) and red seeds
  • Water
  • Pinch salt
  • Sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ginger juice
  • 50 gm butter + extra for greasing the plate


  • Wash and boil the guavas in a large saucepan with water and a pinch of salt for a long on low heat till pulpy.
    Cool and peel skin with a knife
    Remove/strain the seeds.
    Grind the guavas to a pulp in the mixer.
  • In a large saucepan, measure the pulp with a cup and add an equal quantity of sugar and heat over medium heat.
    Keep stirring.
    When it begins to thicken add the ginger juice.
    When it begins to leave the sides of the pan add the butter and stir.
    The whole process will take approximately an hour.
  • Take off heat and spread on a greased plate.
    When it cools, cut into cubes.

Editor's Note: Red colour can added while making guava cheese, but Audrey does not prefer to.


Get Rediff News in your Inbox: