Is the rice too salty? Has your pudding fallen apart? Is the cake too hard? Our columnist Bettina Orrico teaches how to solve all of these problems.

Author: Letícia Rocha

To be an expert cook does not mean that nothing will go wrong in the kitchen. But it means knowing how to save a recipe that didn’t go well. Our columnist Bettina Orrico knows a lot about these tricks and teaches some of them here:


1. A broken milk pudding

Has your milk pudding fallen to pieces while unmolding it? Don’t panic! Separate the syrup and put the creamy part in a bowl. Stir it very fast until you get a smooth cream. Serve it in individual bowls with the syrup and whatever you have at home: dried fruit, preserved fruit, chantilly, nuts.

Check a recipe of milk pudding

2. Overbaked cookies

Are the cookies too hard to bite? Grind them and mix them with some melted butter until you have some sort of flour. Put it in a removable bottom pan, press it and take it into a preheated oven. Pour cold creams over it: pastry cream, condensed milk cream with fruits, such as lime or passion fruit. Don’t need to go into the oven again, just wait to cool it in the fridge before serving. This biscuit crumble can be stored and used in fruit salads, ice-creams and pave.

3. Broken cake

If it has broken when unmolding it, put the pieces in a low round baking pan, press it and leave it into the fridge for two hours then cover it with melted chocolate.

4. The cake is tough

You left the cake too much time in the oven and now it is tough and heavy. To save it, make some small holes in it and pour over it a light fruit syrup, made with strawberries or orange juice. Then cover it with chantilly cream. It is possible that you find out, when making the batter, that you don’t have baking soda. Use baking powder and double the amount indicated in the recipe.

5. The rice is too salty

Put it into a colander and wash it with running water. Dry the rice in a clean kitchen cloth. Taste it and, in case it is still too salty, repeat the process. Then, put it again in a pan and cook it again, beginning by frying the seasonings (onion, garlic…). This tip also works for beans and for feijoada.

How to make the perfect feijoada

6. Watery stew

Meat or vegetable stew, you can save both of them. Dissolve some corn starch or tapioca flour in water and add this “cream” to the stew,little by little, taking care to not form balls of starch.

7. Too dry white meat

Did you overcook the fish or the chicken? Or do you have some leftovers in the fridge that need some help? Make a salty mousse: put everything in the food processor, season it with herbs and mustard. Add mayonnaise or double cream to make a thick cream and add an envelope of unflavoured gelatin. Put it into a mould and put it in the refrigerator.

8. Overcooked squash or pumpkin

It can be moranga squash or Kabocha, if you cook it too much it will be too watery. Have you ever done that? The solution is to mash it until you get a smooth puree to use as filling to homemade fresh pasta or leave it in the freezer to add flavour to a vegetable soup or other puree.

Learn how to make pumpkin tortellini

9. Curdled milk

When you boiled the milk, did it get curdled? Don’t waste it. Use the whey as buttermilk. A common ingredient in United States, it is low fat liquid generated by the process of making the butter. In Brazil we call it “leitelho”, but it is not commercialized. The buttermilk works very well with baking powder, so it is a trick to add softness to cakes, breads, pies, pancakes and it is used as a substitute for milk or cream.