One thing that makes a Post Doc in Portuguese Pastries difficult, but intriguing, is that most pastries are not labeled in Portuguese pastry cases, so you are always in for a bit of a surprise. Getting an assortment of sweets often involves a lot of pointing and asking “what is this called?” Case in point, what we dubbed “flat madeleines” at Cafe Versailles were in fact properly called Linguas-de-gato “Cat’s tongues”). Still, they basically tasted like a flat, buttery madeleine tea cake. The characteristic cat tongue shape is achieved by piping the batter onto a cookie sheet. Though homemade cats tongue cookies are usually simple ovals, the store-bought versions usually have more of figure-eight shape. There is also a chocolate with a cat tongue shape that goes by the same name, which is popular in Brazil.
The “cat tongue cookie” is also popular in France and Spain, as well as Latin America, where the cookie is known variously as “Langues de chat” or “Lenguas de gato.” The exact origins of the cookie are unclear, with Spain laying claim to them, and others crediting the French ladyfinger cookie as a predecessor. Despite their popularity in Portugal, they likely did not originate here. This simple recipe comes from Finland, showing the near-universal appeal of the cat tongue cookie.