Inês Matos Andrade | 2020-10-12


Vitalina Santos is a part of the Soares family and essencial in Malhadinha Nova’s DNA. She started working for the family as a cook, when she was just 26 years old and now, 21 years later, is the busy cook of the Estate, responsible for the traditional recipes. Vitalina, born and raised in Alentejo, started cooking small snacks to be paired with the wine tasting in the Estate’s beginnings, when the property was just dedicated to viticulture. Almost a decade after, in 2007, Malhadinha Nova opened its restaurant, and a year later, the first housing unit, rebuilding a ruin in the Estate, giving rise to the Malhadinha Nova Country House & Spa. Rita Soares challenged Vitalina to incorporate the restaurant’s team, where she started to cook some Alentejo specialties by order. Nowadays, no one surpasses Vitalina Santos in delicacies like the Cabidela Rooster, Boiled Chickpeas, Lamb Stew, and of course, Sericaia. It is she who teaches the more curious guests how to get their hands dirty in traditional kitchen workshops. To those who cannot wait for the next visit to the Estate to taste such typical delicacies, Vitalina reveals her biggest secret, the recipe for her Sericaia, one of the most iconic examples of Alentejo desserts.



  • ½ litre of milk (take two soup spoons to a bowl)
  • 200 gr of sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 soup spoon full of wheat flour
  • 1 soup spoon full of Maizena flour
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon skin peel
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle
  • A pinch of salt

Step by step recipe:

  1. Put the milk (do not forget to take out 2 spoons) in a pot with the lemon peel, the cinnamon stick and the sugar and let it sit in low heat until it boils. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat the whites until they form stiff peaks. Lay aside. To the yolks, add the spoons of milk and the two flours (mixed and screened)
  2. Add this mix to the milk, that meanwhile has boiled. Mix it well, turn on the low heat again and stir until it thickens. Normally, this cooking process takes about 15 minutes.
  3. Turn it off and stir it to cool it down a little. Add the egg whites and mix them in the help of a wooden spoon. Mix it well. (You should only add the whites when formula is tepid or almost cold).
  4. Finally, add it spoon by spoon to a deep clay plate (do not faltted, just shake the plate) and sprinkle with lots of cinnamon.
  5. Put it in the oven at 180ºC and when it rises give it a few cuts and let it cook for 35 minutes.
  6. Perform the toothpick test, if the centre is dry, it is ready. Let it cool and serve with Elvas’ plums, together with its syrup.
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