Maja Blanca

Maja Blanca | Pinky's PantryMaja Blanca is a traditional Filipino dessert. It’s kindof like a coconut pudding studded with kernels of corn. It sounds strange to think of coconut and corn together, but believe me this dessert is sooo good, you’ll find yourself coming back for seconds and thirds. I think Maja Blanca is traditionally topped with latik which is basically coconut milk curds. To make latik, you bring some coconut milk to a simmer and keep simmering till the oil separates from the milk solids which eventually start to fry in the oil and and turn into little brown curds. It’s a lot of work. My shredded coconut topping is way easier.

When you shop for the canned milks for this recipe, you’ll need to buy:

  • 4 cans (13.5 oz. each) coconut milk
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

From the 4 cans of coconut milk, you’ll be able to get 5 cups for the 1st Mixture, but you won’t have enough left over to make 2 cups for the 2nd Mixture. Never fear. What you’re going to do is pour the last of the coconut milk into your 2-cup measure and then add enough of the liquid drained from the whole kernel corn to make 2 cups.

Same thing with the evaporated milk. You won’t have enough in the can to make 2 cups but it’s not worth opening a whole ‘nother can when you’re just a little bit short, so pour the evaporated milk into your measuring cup and then add enough corn liquid drained from the whole kernel corn to make the 2 cups that you’ll need for the 1st Mixture. If you run out of corn liquid, go ahead and use water. It’ll be fine.

MAJA BLANCA

1st Mixture:

  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (14¾ oz.) cream-style corn
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) whole kernel corn, drain and reserve the liquid

2nd Mixture:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  1. Grease a rectangular pyrex glass baking dish or metal baking pan with butter or margarine.
  2. Mix all the ingredients of the 1st Mixture together in a large pot.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients of the 2nd Mixture using a wire whisk until smooth.
  4. Bring 1st Mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. When boiling, pour the 2nd Mixture into the pot, scraping it all in with a rubber spatula, and continue to cook, stirring constantly until thick. The mixture will thicken really fast so this step is best done by two people. One person to stir the pot while the other person pours the 2nd Mixture into it.
  6. Quickly pour maja into prepared baking pan.

Toasted Sweet Coconut Topping:

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  2. Add grated coconut and sugar and toast, stirring constantly until golden brown. Watch carefully because the coconut burns fast!
  3. Sprinkle toasted sweet coconut over maja blanca.

NOTE:  If you can’t get fresh grated coconut, you can substitute unsweetened dessicated coconut. If you can’t get unsweetened dessicated coconut, you can use sweetened dessicated coconut but cut the 1/2 cup sugar down to 2 tablespoons.

This is a big recipe so it’s great for potlucks or family gatherings. It makes enough to fill a 9×13 rectagular baking dish with enough left over to fill an 8-inch round pie plate. If you have a dish bigger than 9×13, use it.

 

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Spinach Feta Quiche

Spinach Feta Quiche | Pinky's Pantry
I’ve had this recipe for years but hadn’t made it in a long time. One day, my daughter, Tissi, decided she wanted to make herself some quiche. She’s a veggie eater and she loves quiche so I dug up my recipe for her. The problem was when I wrote it out for her, I said it only needed one pie crust. Needless to say, she ended up with a ton of extra filling. It wasn’t until a couple of attempts later that I realized my recipe was actually for TWO pies! Poor Tis. She couldn’t figure out why the recipe wasn’t working for her. LOL! If you want to make just one pie, cut the recipe in half. Otherwise, make sure you have two pie crusts ready.

SPINACH FETA QUICHE

  • 2 ready-made frozen pie crust shells (or make your own)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half or whipping cream or milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 pkg. (10 ozs.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 6 ozs. (1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line pie crusts with foil, fill with rice, beans, or pie weights, and bake for 10 mins.
  3. Remove foil and pie weights, return crusts to oven, and bake an additional 4-5 minutes or until crusts are set and dry.
  4. Remove crusts from oven and set aside until ready to use.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 350°F.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper, using a wire whisk.
  7. Sprinkle in flour, whisking vigorously back and forth to break up any lumps. If you have a few tiny lumps left, don’t worry about it. They’ll disappear into the quiche.
  8. Stir in spinach and feta cheese.
  9. Divide mixture evenly between the two crusts.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crusts with foil to prevent over-browning.
  11. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu | Pinky's Pantry
Tiramisu is a very popular Italian dessert. It’s not a very old recipe. In fact, it’s said to have been created in the 1960s. These days, you can find it offered in practically every Italian restaurant all over the world. Tiramisu is typically made with mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, and ladyfingers that have been dipped in espresso. It’s rich and creamy and so delicious that you’ll be tempted to have a second and a third piece!

Mascarpone cheese is pretty easy to find nowadays, but if you can’t get it in your local grocery store, you can substitute 1 box (8 ozs.) of cream cheese, blended with ¼ cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter. (You would have to double that for this recipe.)
Tiramisu | Pinky's Pantry

TIRAMISU

  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 3 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. coffee liqueur, like Tia Maria or Kahlua
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 16 ozs. mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 24 to 46 ladyfingers or savoiardi cookies (depending on how big your cookies are)
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Stir together water, espresso powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, and coffee liqueur in a  shallow bowl or pie plate until sugar has dissolved, then set aside to cool.
  2. Using a wire whisk or hand mixer, beat egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a double boiler set over gently simmering water until tripled in volume, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the mascarpone and beat until well incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Cover and place in refrigerator while you prepare the vanilla cream.
  6. In another bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form, then beat in vanilla.
  7. Gently fold one-third vanilla cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten it.
  8. Then gently fold in remaining cream until thoroughly combined, taking care not to deflate the cream. Mixture will look lumpy. I have no idea why it does that. Don’t worry about it. It’ll still taste good.
  9. Quickly dunk each ladyfinger in the cooled coffee until the coffee soaks about halfway through, leaving the center of the cookie dry (you can break one in half to check). Don’t get the ladyfingers completely saturated or you’ll end up with a layer of unrecognizable, soggy mush. Gently shake off excess coffee and lay soaked ladyfingers in 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish, lining them up to completely cover the bottom. If you need to, you can break some of the ladyfingers to create a snug fit.
  10. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top of the ladyfinger layer.
  11. Dip remaining ladyfingers one by one in coffee and arrange in second layer over mascarpone cream.
  12. Spread remaining mascarpone cream evenly on top of second layer of ladyfingers.
  13. Cover and chill in refrigerator until set, at least 4-6 hours.
  14. Before serving, dust top generously with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh sieve.

NOTE:

  • You can substitute 2 cups freshly brewed espresso or double-strength drip coffee for the water and instant espresso powder.
  • Tiramisu can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving.
  • If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one by setting a heatproof glass bowl on top of a pan of gently simmering water, as pictured below.
    Homemade Double Boiler | Pinky's Pantry

Filipino Buko Pie (Young Coconut Pie)

Buko Pie | Pinky's PantryMy Dad’s family hails from a place called Bay, Laguna in the Philippines. Bay (pronounced “Bah-eh” by the locals) is one of the oldest towns in the province of Laguna. Legend has it that the Datu or Tribal Chief of the area had three beautiful daughters. When the Spanish came to convert the natives to Catholicism, the Datu’s three daughters were baptized and renamed Maria Basilisa, Maria Angela and Maria Elena. The first letters of Basilisa, Angela and Elena were put together to form the name “Bae” which over time changed to “Bay.” The district of Santo Domingo in Bay was actually named after my great-grandfather, Domingo Ordoveza, who was a wealthy landowner in the area.

I remember going to Bay as a little girl with my grandparents. We went every year during the town fiesta. There would be a huge party on the plantation with lots of people, tons of food, games, prizes, and fun. We stayed at the family homestead which I remember as a big, white house surrounded by lanzones trees. Lanzones is a small, yellow fruit native to the Philippines. I remember watching the boys climb the trees to pick the fruit for us to eat.

One of the things I also remember eating is Buko Pie. The province of Laguna with all its coconut trees is famous for its buko pie. Buko is the Filipino word for “young coconut.” As a coconut matures, the meat becomes thicker, firmer and whiter; but young coconut meat is thin, soft and almost opaque in color. That’s the coconut we use to make buko pie. The coconut shell is cut in half and the buko is scraped out with a shredding tool that produces thin strips or strings of the meat. It’s absolutely delicious. Where I live in North America, I can’t get fresh buko (or fresh coconuts for that matter) so I have to buy frozen buko from the Asian grocery stores. It’s not as good as fresh, of course, but it works fine when you’re craving a slice of nostalgia in pie form.
Buko Pie | Pinky's Pantry

FILIPINO BUKO PIE

Crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup cold shortening, cut into pieces
  • 5-6 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Pinch off a small clump of dough and squeeze it in your hand. If it does not hold together, sprinkle the dough with 1 tablespoon of ice water and blend with a fork. Keep adding ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture just holds together when squeezed in your hand.
  4. Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly bigger than the other, and flatten each ball into a disk.
  5. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

Filling:

  • 3 pkgs. (about 3 cups) frozen shredded buko, thawed and drained
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup buko juice
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan, stir cornstarch into buko juice until completely dissolved.
  2. Stir in evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla and buko.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To Assemble Pie:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Sprinkle flour on work surface and roll out the larger of the two disks into a 12-inch circle. When rolling, work from the center to the outer edges, spinning the dough occasionally to get an even round shape.
  3. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into the bottom and up the sides.
  4. Trim off any excess dough.
  5. Place bottom crust in refrigerator while you work on second disk of dough.
  6. Roll out second disk on lightly floured work surface, spinning occasionally to get an even circle large enough to cover the pie.
  7. Take bottom crust from the refrigerator and pour filling into it spreading evenly.
  8. Place top crust over pie.
  9. Roll the edge of the top crust just underneath the edge of the bottom crust and flute the edges together all around the pie.
  10. Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg and 1 tablespoon cold water together.
  11. Brush egg wash all over top crust.
  12. Prick holes on the top crust with a fork to allow steam to escape the pie while baking. You could also cut 6 or 8 vent holes with a sharp paring knife, or cut out decorative designs with a pie crust cutter.
  13. Bake pie in oven for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  14. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

NOTE:  If you have a food processor, use it to make the pie crust. It makes it so much easier and quicker. Besides, the less you handle the dough, the more tender and flaky your crust will turn out. Just follow the directions as listed, but instead of using a pastry blender or a fork, pulse the ingredients together in the food processor.

Frozen buko comes in plastic bags like this:
Buko Pie | Pinky's Pantry

Mango Float

Mango Float | Pinky's PantryMangoes are indigenous to the Philippines. They grow quite a few different varieties all over the country. Filipinos love to eat them ripe and sweet, or green and sour. Philippine mangoes, in my opinion, are the best in the world. My favorite is the variety they call Carabao Mangoes. Their thin, smooth skins are easy to peel and hide a golden orb of juicy sweetness that’s unrivaled by any other country’s. South American mangoes, though good, are very fibrous. In contrast, Philippine mangoes have very little fiber. You could cut one open and eat the flesh with a spoon.

We had two huge mango trees in our garden when I was growing up. I have very fond memories of sitting under the shade of the trees on lazy afternoons, reading a book or drawing. When harvest time came, we would get baskets and baskets full of bright yellow fruit from the overloaded branches. Way more fruit than we could ever eat. Our cook would make mango desserts, mango jam, and “burong mangga” (sweet pickled mangoes). We also gave away lots to friends and neighbors.
Mango Float | Pinky's Pantry
Mango Float is a very popular dessert in the Philippines. How this dessert got its name, I have no idea. To me, the name Mango Float conjures up images of a milkshake-type drink. Nothing at all like what this dessert is truly like. It’s rich and creamy and utterly delicious. You’ll find yourself wanting a second and third helping, it’s so good. And because it’s so easy to make, you’ll find yourself wanting to make it again and again.
Mango Float | Pinky's Pantry

MANGO FLOAT

  • 4 large ripe mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (12.8 ozs. each) Nestlé table cream
  • 1-2 cans (14 ozs. each) condensed milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. salt, optional
  • 1 box graham crackers
  1. Whisk the Nestlé cream, 1 can condensed milk, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Taste the cream mixture. If you want it sweeter, open the second can of condensed milk and add more, a tablespoon at a time, until the cream is sweetened to your liking.
  3. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer at the bottom of a 9×13″ pyrex glass baking dish. Cut and trim the crackers with a knife as needed to fit the baking dish.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture over the graham crackers.
  5. Top with a layer of sliced mangoes.
  6. Repeat layering two more times with graham crackers, then cream, and ending with mango slices.
  7. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

NOTE:  If you want thicker layers of cream between the graham crackers, add 1 can of Nestlé cream and ½ can of condensed milk to the cream mixture, then taste for sweetness and increase condensed milk by the tablespoon, if desired. No need to increase the vanilla and salt.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

This bread pudding was made without the raisins.

My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!

The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!

Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.

OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING

  • 4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 cups evaporated milk
  • 6 whole eggs
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
  1. Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
  4. Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.

To Cook Bread Pudding:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
  3. Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
  4. Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
  5. Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
  6. Cover tightly with tin foil.
  7. Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
  8. Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
  9. When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
  10. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
  11. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
  12. Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
  • You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.

Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):

  • 2 cans evaporated milk + 1 cup water
  • 5 cups bread cubes
  • 4 eggs

Banana Cream Pudding

Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry
When “Walking Dead” season starts, we have dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s house every Sunday night. Helen, Anthony, Old Goat Honey, and I are huge fans of “The Walking Dead.” Unlike Helen, Anthony, and Old Goat, however, I never liked zombie movies. In fact, I don’t really like horror movies at all! At least not the gory ones. I made the mistake of watching “Friday the 13th” once when I was younger (if you can call peeking between my fingers “watching”) and I had nightmares for weeks afterwards! But for some reason, “The Walking Dead” has drawn me in just like thousands of other fans. So during the season, Old Goat and I trek faithfully over to Helen and Anthony’s house every Sunday where we all have dinner and then sit down to watch the show together.

Dinner preparations are usually a combination affair. Helen makes some of the dishes and I make the others. This Sunday, I offered to be in charge of the entrée and the dessert. Since I was going to be making the main entrée, I thought I should do something simple for dessert. I used to make this banana pudding for my kids all the time when they were little. It’s one of those dishes on my list of “Comfort Foods.” And what could be more fitting when you’re watching a scary movie than a comfort food dish?
Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

BANANA CREAM PUDDING

  • 1½ cups cold water
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box (5.7 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box Lorna Doone shortbread cookies or vanilla wafers
  • 6-8 bananas, sliced (depends on how big your bananas are)
  1. Mix together the water, pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until it sets up.
  3. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  4. Working in thirds, fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well incorporated.
  5. In a trifle bowl, layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding mixture; continue until you’ve used up all the pudding mixture.
  6. Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before serving.
  7. If desired, sprinkle some crumbled cookies and add some fresh banana slices on top for garnish right before you serve.

Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

Mini Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles with Puff Pastry Stars

Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
I wanted to come up with a new red-white-and-blue dessert for our 4th of July Barbecue this year and thought it would be nice to make individual little trifles. My daughter, Bashful, helped me with these. She’s becoming quite the little sous chef.

These trifles are easy to make because there’s very little baking involved which is perfect for this hot summer weather. I did bake the graham cracker crust, though if you don’t feel like baking it, you could very easily use the crust unbaked. If you want to decorate the trifles with puff pastry stars like I did, those don’t require much more than 10 minutes of baking time either.

I made these in little shot glasses, but you could use little mason jars, small disposable clear plastic cups, or any other small, clear containers you have that would show the red, white and blue layers. If your strawberries aren’t very sweet, sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar before assembling. Also, depending on how many mini trifles you’re making, you could end up with extra graham cracker crust. I just use it to make a pie.
Lemon Mousse and Berry Trifles | Pinky's Pantry

MINI LEMON MOUSSE AND BERRY TRIFLES

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ jar purchased lemon curd (or you could make your own)
  • fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into the size of blueberries
  • fresh blueberries

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMB CRUST

For a baked crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. With a fork, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a baking pan.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until crust begins to brown at the edges.
  5. Set aside to cool completely.

For a no-bake crust:

  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together with a fork.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of mixture into bottom of each shot glass and press down with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  3. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

LEMON MOUSSE

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add 1/3 of a jar of lemon curd and continue to beat until well-combined.
  3. Taste the mousse and see how you like it. If you want it more lemony, beat in more lemon curd, a tablespoon at a time, until it tastes the way you want it.

TO ASSEMBLE THE MINI TRIFLES

  1. Take the baked and cooled graham cracker crust and crumble it up with a fork. If you’re doing the no-bake crust, you can skip this step.
  2. Place about a tablespoon of crumbled graham cracker crust into the bottom of your shot glass and press it flat with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  3. Place lemon mousse into a piping bag and pipe a layer of mousse over the crust.
  4. Sprinkle some blueberries over the lemon mousse.
  5. Pipe another layer of lemon mousse over the blueberries.
  6. Sprinkle chopped strawberries over the lemon mousse.
  7. Pipe a little dollop of lemon mousse right on top.
  8. If desired, decorate each trifle with a puff pastry star (recipe follows).

Puff Pastry Stars | Pinky's Pantry

PUFF PASTRY STARS

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • pearl white sparkling sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cut out stars from puff pastry sheet using a star cookie cutter.
  3. Transfer pastry stars to a non-stick cookie sheet.
  4. Brush each star with a little melted butter.
  5. Sprinkle top of each star with sparkling sugar.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
  7. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

NOTE:  I also bake the little scraps of leftover puff pastry dough. After cutting out the stars, I take the little leftover scraps and lay them on another cookie sheet. Brush the scraps with melted butter and sprinkle regular sugar on them, then bake them together with the stars. Hand them out to the kids to snack on and voila! Nothing wasted at my house!

Prajitura Desteapta (Romanian “Smart Cake”)

Prajitura Desteapta | Pinky's Pantry
Prajitura Desteapta. Nope, it’s not a disease or some Amazonian jungle plant. It’s actually a Romanian custard cake. I had to bring dessert to my sister Helen’s house for dinner last night so I went searching through my recipe box for something to make. I wanted to bring something different. Maybe make something I hadn’t made in a long time. Lo and behold, I came across this recipe that was given to me years ago by my friend, Lyudmila.

According to Lyudmila, “Prajitura Desteapta” means “Smart Cake.” I guess they call it that because it’s super easy to make which is pretty smart in my book. The ingredients are all things you usually have in your fridge and pantry. While it’s baking, the cake separates into two layers – a thick, cake-like layer on the bottom and a softer custard layer on top. Lyudmila’s original recipe gave metric measurements for the ingredients. I’ve noted the American equivalents for those who want them. By the way, in America, this cake is called “Magic Cake” and it’s easy to understand why.

PRAJITURA DESTEAPTA (SMART CAKE)

  • 250 gm butter or margarine (1 cup)
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 300 gm sugar (1½ cups)
  • 2 packets vanilla sugar (1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 225 gm flour (2 cups)
  • 1 liter warm milk (4 cups)
  • powdered sugar, for dusting on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9×13 rectangular pyrex baking dish.
  2. Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.
  3. In an extra large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add melted butter and vanilla and continue beating.
  5. Beat in the sifted flour until well blended.
  6. Slowly add milk, beating on low speed. Batter will be very thin and watery.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Carefully fold beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
  9. Pour into prepared pyrex baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking!
  10. Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to chill.
  11. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
  12. Cut into squares and serve.

NOTE:

  • It’s better if your eggs are at room temperature when you start.
  • The butter should be melted but not hot. Make sure to cool it to room
    temperature before using.
  • Vanilla sugar is a very popular baking ingredient in Europe. Dr. Oetker is a very
    well-known brand, but unfortunately is not easy to find in the U.S. However, you
    can easily substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar in this recipe.

Pinky’s Mango Fruit Tart

Mango Tart | Pinky's Pantry
I love fruit tarts. The crisp crust encasing a creamy custard filling topped with sweet fruit. Yummm! It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts! This tart is nice because it’s so versatile. Once you fill your crust with the custard, you can top it with any fruit you like. I’ve made it with peaches, strawberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, a combination of strawberries and blueberries, etc.

I had some really nice mangoes so decided to use them for a fruit tart. Then I decided to take on the ambitious task of arranging the mango slices to look like a flower. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. If you want to do the same, just peel your mango, slice the two sides away from the seed, then cut each side into thin slices. Arrange the mango slices starting with a small circle in the center and going around and around till you reach the outer crust. The number of mangoes you need depends on how big they are and how tightly you arrange your mango “petals.”
Mango Tart | Pinky's Pantry

PINKY’S MANGO FRUIT TART

  • 1 sweet tart dough (click here for recipe)
  • mangoes (or any fruit of your choice like strawberries, peaches, blueberries, etc.)
  • 2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 jar apricot jelly (optional)
  1. Make a sweet tart dough and pre-bake it in a 9-inch tart pan; set aside.
    You could also purchase a ready-made tart or pie crust if you don’t have time to make your own.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix the cream, condensed milk, flour, and eggs together with a wire whisk.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Pour into the prepared crust and let cool completely.
  6. Top with fruit of your choice. Arrange the fruit so it looks attractive.
  7. If desired, you could make a glaze by melting a little apricot jelly in a small bowl in the microwave and brushing it over the fruit so it looks nice and shiny.
  8. Chill the tart in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  9. Cut and serve.