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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Oven Roasted Crispy Pork Belly (Lechon sa Hurno)

Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
Filipinos eat a lot of pork. They’re really good at cooking it, too. Lechon is one of the national dishes of the Philippines. It’s basically a whole roasted pig. The pig is skewered on a bamboo pole and slow roasted over hot coals while being continuously hand-turned like a giant rotisserie till the skin turns a crisp, reddish-brown and the meat becomes juicy and tender.

Lechon Kawali is made from pork belly that’s boiled until tender, then dried overnight, and the next day, is deep fried in a kawali (Filipino wok) till the skin is puffed and crunchy. However, cooking lechon kawali can be a dangerous endeavor. The pork belly pops and can splatter hot oil (or make talsik” as they say) quite violently and can cause some pretty serious burns if you’re not careful. Not to mention making a greasy mess. Few are the Filipino cooks who have escaped unscathed from a bout with a slab of frying pork belly.

Enter Lechon sa Hurno (Oven Roasted Pork Belly). Lechon sa Hurno is prepared similarly to Lechon Kawali except instead of being fried, the pork belly is baked in the oven. No oil splatters, no greasy mess, and no visits to the urgent care clinic. Just some tender pieces of pork topped with a delicious crunchy skin.

This recipe differs from traditional Lechon sa Hurno in that you don’t boil the pork first before roasting. My cousin, Ana, has a business in the Philippines selling crispy pork belly and she said she uses lemon grass and bay leaves for “aromatics.” Meanwhile, I’d heard of roasting pork belly with a salt crust, kind of like the way they do with prime rib or whole fish, and decided to try the salt crust method of roasting the pork belly with aromatics underneath it for flavoring. Success! The meat was so tender and tasty. And the skin was to die for! Nicely seasoned and so crisp, you could hear the crunch across the kitchen as you sliced it.

LECHON SA HURNO (OVEN ROASTED CRISPY PORK BELLY)

  • 2½ – 3 lbs. boneless, skin-on, pork belly
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup salt
  1. The day before you plan to roast your pork belly, wash it in cold water and dry it very well with paper towels. Then put it on a platter, skin side up, and place the pork, uncovered, in the fridge to dry overnight.
  2. The next day, take a long sheet of foil, fold it in half so you have a double thickness, and press it into your roasting pan.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Lay a bed of chopped onions, lemon grass, and garlic on the foil, then place the oregano, thyme and bay leaves on top. These are your aromatics. If you’re not sure how to work with lemon grass, you can read about it here.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  4. Place the pork belly, skin side up, directly on top of the aromatics in the pan.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Look at your pork belly skin. If one portion of it seems to dip lower than the rest, take a piece of foil, scrunch it up, and tuck it under the lower part to raise it. You want the skin on top to be as level as possible so that it crisps evenly. (I learned that the hard way after the sides of my pork belly starting browning faster than the center portion which was lower.)
  6. Pull up the foil to enclose the bottom and sides of the pork belly, pinching the corners to fit the foil around the meat. Leave the top open to expose the skin.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  7. Carefully pour water against the foil along one side of the pork belly so it runs underneath the meat and mixes with the aromatics. This helps keep the aromatics from burning. If any water gets on the skin, dry it quickly with a paper towel.
  8. Pour the salt on top of the skin and pat it smooth to make a salt crust.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Bake at 350ºF for 1½ hours. Remove from oven and raise oven temperature to 425ºF.  Pull foil open to expose the sides of the pork.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  10. Using a pair of tongs, carefully lift off and discard salt crust.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  11. Usually, the salt crust lifts off in one piece. If it breaks like mine did, don’t worry about it. Just throw away the broken piece and carefully remove what’s left.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  12. After discarding the salt crust, pick up the pork belly with the tongs, hold it over your sink, and brush off any excess salt that may have spilled onto the skin.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  13. Place a wire rack over the pan and place the pork belly on the rack.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  14. Return pork to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes more.
  15. Turn off oven, turn on broiler to low, and broil for about 15-20 minutes or until skin is completely puffed up and golden brown all over. Watch carefully that it doesn’t burn!
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry
  16. Slice into 3/4-inch strips. Then cut the strips crosswise into 1-inch pieces and serve.
    Crispy Pork Belly | Pinky's Pantry

Americanized Bibingka

Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
Living in the United States, we don’t always have easy access to Filipino food. I guess it depends on where in the U.S. you live. Unfortunately, where I live, if you want Filipino food, you need to make it yourself. There have been times when I’ve really been craving some native food from back home. This recipe was born from one of those cravings.

Filipino bibingka galapong is a native cake made of rice flour that’s cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. As strange as it sounds, the sweet little cakes are dotted with pieces of quesong puti (carabao milk cheese) and wedges of itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). Growing up, the best bibingkahan to get hot, fresh-made bibingka was a place called Ferino’s. It was started in 1938 by a man and his wife who made their bibingkas on three clay pots set on a bench. From there, the business grew till they eventually had shops all over town.

Anyway, I was craving the taste of Ferino’s bibingka one day. Since I don’t have a clay pot or banana leaves, and since we can’t get quesong puti or itlog na maalat where we live, I came up with this recipe which I called “Americanized Bibingka” because I baked it in a pyrex glass baking dish in the oven, and I substituted American ingredients for the native Filipino ingredients I couldn’t get – cream cheese for the quesong puti and dried shredded coconut for the itlog na maalat. It’s not Ferino’s, but it’s a really good substitute.

This recipe makes a big pyrex dish so it’s perfect for parties or get-togethers. Don’t expect it to look anything like traditional native Filipino bibingka galapong. Just follow the recipe and you’ll get a good taste of what bibingka is like, albeit without the look. Everybody loves it, including all our American friends.

AMERICANIZED BIBINGKA GALAPONG

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 box (8-oz.) cream cheese
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded, sweetened, desiccated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar and water.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 9” x 13” pyrex glass baking dish.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt and stir together the butter and cream cheese. The cream cheese mixture will be separated and lumpy. It looks weird, but don’t worry. This is normal.
    Americanized Bibingka | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture as evenly as you can over the cake batter. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfectly even. You can’t.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cake from oven and top with shredded coconut (as much as you want).
  8. Return cake to the oven and broil till the coconut flakes turn golden brown.

NOTE:  If you can’t get self-rising flour, you can make your own by mixing together:
                4 cups all-purpose flour
                2 Tbsp. double acting baking powder
                2 tsp. salt

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

Filipino Hamburgers

Filipino Hamburger | Pinky's Pantry
Hamburger sandwiches are not native to the Philippines. That being said, hamburger joints abound everywhere and we ate burgers all the time growing up. But when it came to making burgers at home, unlike American burgers which are usually plain meat patties simply seasoned with salt and pepper, our cook would add all kinds of stuff to our burgers and boy were they good! Give this recipe a try and you’ll see what I mean.

FILIPINO HAMBURGERS

  • ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • condiments:  mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard
  • toppings:  cheese, lettuce leaves, tomato, onion, pickles
  1. In a bowl, combine beef, pork, onion, bread crumbs, milk, egg, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
  2. Divide meat mixture into four balls and flatten into patties.
  3. Grill or fry until burgers reach desired doneness.
  4. Serve on hamburger buns, with condiments and toppings on the side for people to build their own burgers.

NOTE:  If you want, you can make your burgers with a pound of pure beef and leave out the ground pork. Our cook always used a mixture of half beef and half pork, but that was probably because beef was very expensive in the Philippines.

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.

Toyo-Bam (Pork Braised in Soy Sauce)

Toyo-Bam | Pinky's Pantry
My aunt, Tita Tinggay, was a wonderful cook who turned out delicious dishes for her family and friends. At one point, she even owned a restaurant in the Philippines where they served delectable Filipino food. I learned to make Toyo-Bam from her. How the dish got its name, I have no idea. Sadly, I never thought to ask Tita Tinggay. She’s passed away now or I would find out for you guys. There’s probably an interesting story behind it. I know that “toyo” means soy sauce in Filipino. Maybe the “bam” is just a descriptive adjective sort of like Emeril’s “BAM!” Who knows? Certainly the dish is delicious. The pork comes out falling-apart tender and the sauce is wonderful served over hot, white rice.
Toyo-Bam | Pinky's Pantry

TOYO-BAM

  • 1 pork butt or pork shoulder

For every 2 lbs. of pork, you will need:

  • ¾ cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp. water
  • calamansi or lemon juice (optional)
  1. Place the pork in a large stockpot. You can use bone-in or boneless pork, whichever you prefer. I usually buy bone-in.
  2. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and chopped onions to the pot.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil; then lower the heat, cover, and simmer pork in sauce, turning occasionally until the meat is falling-apart tender. This can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours or more, depending on how large your piece of pork is.
  4. Remove the cooked pork from the liquid and transfer to a serving platter with a lip.
  5. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tsp. water and slowly pour into sauce in pot, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to cook the sauce until thickened.
  7. If desired, squeeze a little calamansi or lemon juice into the sauce. You can add as much or as little as you like. (I usually just omit this step.)
  8. Pour the thickened sauce over the pork in the serving platter.
  9. Pull pork apart into chunks or slice it into neat slices if you prefer. If using bone-in pork, remove the bone and discard it.
  10. This dish is best served with hot, cooked white rice to pour the sauce over.

Mom’s Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake

Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake | Pinky's Pantry
When I was growing up in the Philippines, there was a bakeshop called Cookie Monster Bake Shop. They were famous for their delicious chocolate cake. The moist and tender cake wasn’t overly sweet, but it was the perfect base for the yema-like filling inside it and the rich chocolate frosting that covered it. My Mom tried to imitate their cake and came up with this recipe which tastes almost exactly like Cookie Monster’s. Mom would fill it with her coffee-scented mocha filling, and frost it with her silky chocolate icing. Our family called this Cookie Monster Chocolate Cake, but I honestly think my Mom’s version was better than the bake shop’s.

I hope you don’t mind the odd format. Out of nostalgia, I decided to type out the recipe the same way my Mom had it written in her old, stain-spattered recipe notebook. Read it all the way to the end before starting so you can gather all your ingredients together.

MOM’S COOKIE MONSTER CHOCOLATE CAKE

1. Grease bottom and sides of two 9×13 rectangular baking pans. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper.

2. Sift into a large bowl and mix together well:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder

3. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ stick margarine
  • ¾ cup canola oil

4. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Add, but don’t mix till all ingredients are in:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (mashed in small bowl to remove lumps)
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla

6. Blend thoroughly and pour into prepared pans.

7. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool. Carefully peel off parchment paper.

8. When cakes are completely cool, fill with Mom’s Mocha Filling and frost with Mom’s Chocolate Icing.

MOM’S MOCHA FILLING

1. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan and using a wire whisk, whisk together:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 can evaporated milk

2. Place saucepan over low heat and add:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine

3. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. This burns fast so watch carefully!

4. Keep cooking till mixture begins to bubble; then let boil for 3-5 minutes, all the while stirring slowly and continuously with the wire whisk.

5. Remove from fire and allow to cool completely before using. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the filling, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

MOM’S CHOCOLATE ICING

1. Using a wire whisk, mix together in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder
  • 2 cans evaporated milk

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

3. In a small bowl, beat:

  • 6 egg yolks

4. When chocolate mixture just begins to boil, pour one-third of it into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks and mix well. This tempers the yolks which keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs.

5. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and combine with the rest of the chocolate mixture.

6. Return to flame and add:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

7. Keep cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes back to a boil.

8. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, stirring till mixture reaches spreading consistency.

9. Cool completely before frosting cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the frosting, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

Homemade Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche | Pinky's PantryDulce de Leche is a South American caramel confection. It’s made by cooking sweetened condensed milk until the sugar is caramelized and the milk is thickened and brownish in color. I remember my Mom boiling an unopened can of condensed milk for what seemed like hours on the stove. Of course we all grew up hearing the horror stories and dire warnings of how you should be careful because the can could explode, but none of that ever seemed to matter. What was most important was getting a taste of that sweet, thick, and sticky treat. I remember how awfully hard it was to wait for it to be ready, and even harder to wait for it to cool! But you had to let it cool before you could open the can or the dulce would spurt out and could burn you. We would eat it by the teaspoonful, carefully eking it out and eating it ever so slowly to make it last as long as possible because Mom would never let us have more than 2 little spoonfuls of it in one day.

There are many different ways to make your own dulce de leche at home. You could do like my Mom always did and boil an unopened can of condensed milk on the stove for 2 or 3 hours. You could bake an unopened can in a water bath in the oven; or cook a can in a pressure cooker; or cook it in a slow cooker; or open a can, empty the milk into a pot and cook the milk over the stove, stirring till your arm falls off (don’t ask me how I know). Why, I’ve heard you could even make it in a microwave!

My favorite method is super easy and doesn’t involve any risk of explosion or having your arm fall off. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

HOMEMADE DULCE DE LECHE

  1. Empty 1 can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  2. Cover pie plate tightly with foil.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Make a water bath by placing a pan larger than the pie plate into the oven and filling it with enough water to go 3/4 up the side of the pie plate.
  4. Place pie plate in center of water bath and bake at 400ºF for 1½ hours or so, adding water as needed. The longer you cook it, the darker the caramel gets.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Remove foil. The edges are usually more cooked than the center so take a wire whisk and whisk everything together until it’s well-combined and smooth.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  6. Pour into a clean jar and allow to cool before using.
  7. Store dulce de leche in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Leche Flan Cake

Leche Flan Cake | Pinky's Pantry
We ate Leche Flan Cake all the time when we were growing up in the Philippines. There was a canteen near my Lolo’s (grandpa’s) office that sold it for a few cents a slice. It was always such a treat to go visit my Lolo at work because he invariably would give us some money to run down to the canteen for a slice of Leche Flan Cake. Looking back, I think it was probably his way of getting rid of a bunch of noisy kids so he could work in peace for a while. LOL! Either way, I always thought the cake was the best part of visiting my Lolo at his work. Now, I make my own leche flan cake and hopefully, it’s created some fond memories for my own kids to look back on, too.

Traditional leche flan cake has a thin layer of flan on top of a thick layer of cake, but my Old Goat would always ask if I could make the flan layer thicker (like I do with Chocoflan Cake). So I finally gave in and that’s why my leche flan cake doesn’t look anything like traditional Filipino leche flan cakes. I have to admit he was right though. I do like it better with a thicker layer of flan. The fam sure does, too. And so will you!

FILIPINO LECHE FLAN CAKE

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  1. Pour sugar into 9×13-inch metal baking pan and set on stove over low heat.
  2. Cook sugar until it melts and begins to turn caramel colored.
  3. Tilt pan so caramel coats the bottom evenly. Use oven mitts! The pan will be hot!
  4. Set aside to cool. The caramel will harden and could crack as it cools. Don’t worry. This is normal.

For the Leche Flan:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In a bowl whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Pour the mixture over the cooled caramel in the baking pan.

For the Cake:

  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites to make meringue)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Sift together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the well of dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  5. Set batter aside and make meringue.

For the Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high until frothy.
  2. Decrease speed to medium and gradually add the sugar.
  3. Continue beating on medium until eggs whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.
  4. Take a third of the meringue and carefully fold it into the cake batter to lighten it.
  5. Fold the rest of the meringue into the cake batter until no more white streaks remain.
  6. Pour batter slowly over the leche flan mixture in baking pan.

To Bake:

  1. Place baño maria (water bath) inside oven. You can use a large roasting pan for this.
  2. Fill with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of baking pan.
  3. Turn oven on and preheat to 325ºF.
  4. When oven is ready, carefully lower baking pan with batter into hot water in baño maria.
  5. Close oven door and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center.
  6. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely; then chill in refrigerator overnight.
  7. Run a knife along the sides of the cake to loosen it from the pan.
  8. Turn cake out onto serving platter with a rim to catch any caramel sauce that might drip.