Dessert kids

Tutti Frutti Treats or just… To My Mum

Tutti Frutti Treats - Bicho de Pé

My mother was not a great cook of savory dishes – she had a few very good dishes like her Roasted Pork Loin that was the best Pork Loin of the universe but her food was always very simple and whenever she tried something fancy it was never as good (of course I never told her this!).

Mum was an awesome pastry cook though! She used to make all sorts of little sweet treats, different kind of chocolates and sweets “Willy Wonka” style that used to drive us kids insane!

She used to start planning and cooking weeks before our birthdays and we always had a large table with all sort of amazing things like Brigadeiros with shortbread shaped like little turtles, coconut sweet “porcelain” dolls, carrots sweet that looked like little carrots, little “pumpkins” made of tutti frutti sweet, beautiful decorated chocolates, homemade lollypops, little white chocolate blue rivers with marzipan ducks….  Well, I have to say that our parties were very popular and when we were making group school assignments my home was always the first choice.

She also used to make terrific savory pastries and her Brazilian pies (Empadinhas) were to die for!

Today I am telling you all of this because I am missing her so much!  Two years ago at this week I spoke to her for the last time, by Skype (God Bless the Internet) as we had been an ocean apart for almost two years.   The last thing I told her was that I loved her – I didn’t know that I was saying my last goodbye.

My mother started feeling lightheaded about midday of 30th August.     It was my brother’s birthday and although my brother had passed his 30’s she was as usual preparing all sorts of treats for his party.   She also ignored the cold sweat and the dizziness, she thought it was nothing, just her diabetes.   My brother arrived at home around three o’clock and forced her to go to the hospital – her heart stopped on the way…..   They reanimated her but despite all doctors efforts she passed away later that night.      

I know this is a food blog but I wanted to write this post to her.   I know this is a food blog but I want to tell you two things:

  • If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, have nausea, cold sweat, pain in the upper body or feel a heavy chest, Please! Go to the Hospital – These symptoms can be due to several things and if it’s nothing serious great but you never know.   If my mother had recognized her heart attack symptoms and gone to the hospital earlier she could be here with us today.   Know the warning signs!
  • As a Poet once said:  Love people as there was no tomorrow because if you think twice, there isn’t.  Don’t wait til tomorrow to say I love you to that special person in your life.     

So, I have been meaning to write this post since Thursday but was just too sad to do it – today to celebrate my mother’s life I would like to share one of her “Wonka”  treats with you:  the Tutti Frutti little “pumpkins”  that I loved so much when I was a kid.

Tutti Frutti Treats - Bicho de Pé

Tutti Frutti Treats (Bicho de Pé)
Yields: 20  | Time:  1h  | Cost:  $ | Difficulty: Easy 
Author: Mum


  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon pineapple jelly (gelatin / Jell-o ) powder 
  • Few drops of red food coloring
  • 1 Cup Sugar to roll
  • 20 Cloves to decorate


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large and tall pot. 
  2. Cook the mixture in medium heat stirring really well with a wood spoon until it starts to boi
  3. Reduce to low heat and stir until the mixture “comes with your spoon” (it will make sense!) and you can see the bottom of the pot. 
  4. For each sweet (about 20):
    1. Roll in Sugar 
    2. Using a piece of thread divide the sweet in 8 slices – you will not cut it, just lightly press it to give it the shape.
    3. Put a clove in the middle 
  5. Repeat the procedure until you have shaped all sweets.


    1. Know how you feel & I lost my Mum over 30 years ago. She wasn't a great cook either, in fact the only thing she was a wizz at was fruit cakes & plum puddings.

    2. Oh, Rachel! I am so sorry! You've made me tear up. This is a lovely post, and your mother sounds like she was such a sweetheart starting to make treats so far in advance of your birthdays. That is wonderful for you to post the symptoms of a heart attack, especially since it's a food blog! Good for you, and I hope beautiful memories of your mother help ease the pain. CC xx

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