Serradura De Várias Maneiras (Sawdust Pudding in Various Ways)

Serradura means sawdust in Portuguese.  The dessert gets its name from the way the crumbled cookies look like sawdust.  Serradura is a dessert that is always available at Portuguese restaurants.  It is  made in house since it is very easy to make and doesn’t require a pastry chef.  Portuguese supermarkets sell serradura but it lacks the depth and flavor of being freshly made.  You can also find serradura flavored ice cream which actually isn’t too bad.  Serradura is traditionally made with plain Maria Cookies but you can substitute your favorite cookie and create a completely unique version.  In this recipe I use three different varieties of cookies: (1) plain Maria Cookies, (2) chocolate flavored Maria Cookies and (3) Oreo Cookies.  In the past I also made a version with chocolate chip cookies.  If you cannot find Maria Cookies you can substitute plain vanilla wafers.  My recipe varies from others in that I like to drench the bottom layer with espresso coffee.  This gives it a nice flavor note and helps introduce moistness since the cookie layers tend to be dry especially if you layer them too thick.  I use instant decaffeinated espresso ensuring that it can be enjoyed in the evening without the worry of insomnia setting in.  I prefer the instant powder over freshly brewed for two reasons: (1) I can make it with cold tap water and use it right away and (2) why waste good espresso?  I am just looking for the flavor of coffee and I don’t need a gourmet shot of java to achieve this.  If you want to make an adult version layer the bottom with liqueurs like Cantares Licor de Café, Licor Beirão, Baileys and Kahlúa instead of coffee.  The measurements here are suggestions as you may prefer thicker layers of cookie or more whipped cream.  It can be easily doubled or tripled if you have a large crowd.  The one important ratio to keep in mind is the heavy cream to condensed milk.  It should always be 2 cups of heavy cream to 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk.  That provides the right amount of sweetness to the whipped cream and won’t play havoc on whipping the cream to the correct consistency.