Cocoflan Cake

Cocoflan Cake | Pinky's Pantry
This cake is a play on my Chocoflan Cake. I was making a Chocoflan Cake for Cinco de Mayo and I started thinking how fun it would be to make a coconut flavored flan cake, so I went out to buy ingredients for a test drive. It took a few trial runs over the next few weekends, but eventually my Cocoflan Cake was born! Thankfully my family doesn’t mind being the guinea pigs who have to taste and EAT all my kitchen experiments.

I like how this final version turned out. The dessert isn’t overly sweet, the cake is moist, and the flan is smooth and creamy. It looks like a lot of steps, but if you read through the recipe, it’s really not hard to do. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.
Cocoflan Cake | Pinky's Pantry

COCOFLAN CAKE

Macapuno Topping:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup macapuno, you can add more if you like

Leche Flan:

  • 4 ozs. (½ box) cream cheese
  • 1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut extract

Coconut Cake:

  • 1½ cups all­-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 small can (5.4 oz.) cream of coconut
  • 2 tsp. coconut extract
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Prepare a water bath by placing a roasting pan half full of water into the oven.
  2. Turn oven on to 350ºF to preheat.
  3. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place on stove over low heat.
  4. Let come to a boil and continue to cook until sugar starts to caramelize. Watch it carefully! The sugar can burn in an instant.
  5. Once the sugar starts turning reddish brown, take it off the heat immediately. It will continue to darken and you don’t want it getting bitter.
  6. Pour the sugar syrup into a bundt pan and swirl the bundt pan around so the bottom gets evenly coated with the sugar syrup. Be careful. The bundt pan will get very hot so use oven mitts!
  7. Distribute the macapuno evenly over the sugar syrup.
  8. Set the bundt pan aside to cool.
  9. To prepare flan mixture, place cream cheese in a medium bowl and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds so the cream cheese becomes very soft.
  10. Add the condensed milk to the softened cream cheese and whisk together with a wire whisk until well-blended.
  11. Add the coconut milk, eggs, and coconut extract, whisking together well.
  12. Set flan mixture aside while you prepare the cake batter.
  13. To make the cake batter, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  14. In a small bowl, stir the cream of coconut and coconut extract together.
  15. With an electric mixer set on high speed, beat butter and coconut oil together until smooth.
  16. Slowly add sugar, continuing to beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  17. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  18. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of cream­ of­ coconut mixture.
  19. Beat until just combined.
  20. Pour the cake batter on top of the macapuno-sugar syrup in the bundt pan, smoothing the batter evenly with a rubber spatula.
  21. Slowly pour the flan mixture through a sieve over the cake batter. Don’t worry if it sinks or causes the batter to separate in clumps.
  22. Cover bundt pan tightly with a piece of tin foil and place into water bath in oven.
  23. Bake for 1 hour, then remove foil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes more or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.
  24. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature; then place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  25. To serve, invert cake onto a large cake plate or serving platter.

NOTES:

  • This cake is best prepared a day or two in advance and kept chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Macapuno is a Filipino delicacy. It’s basically shredded young coconut that’s been cooked in syrup to preserve it. It’s sold in jars in Asian food markets. If you can’t find macapuno, you can omit it from this recipe.
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French Coconut Pie

French Coconut Pie | Pinky's Pantry
Unlike its name, French Coconut Pie did not originate in France but was actually invented in America. Wherever it originated from, it’s one of the easiest pies you’ll ever make and tastes amazing to boot! You can make your own pie crust if you want to. I have a great recipe for homemade pie crust here. Or you could just purchase a ready-made pie shell from the grocery and save yourself some work. Either way, this pie turns out delicious! It’s literally a pie to die for.

FRENCH COCONUT PIE

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 deep-dish 9-inch pie shell, purchased or homemade
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Bake pie crust for 18-25 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined.
  4. Pour filling into pre-baked pie crust. Crust doesn’t have to be cool for this step.
  5. Bake 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and custard is set.
  6. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour, before serving.

Coconut Toast

Coconut Toast | Pinky's Pantry
I read about Coconut Toast on this blog called Laugh With Us Blog. It reminded me of this Filipino coconut dessert we ate all the time growing up. It was called “bukayo.” Bukayo is a native coconut “candy” made by cooking fresh grated coconut and sugar together. One of these days, I’ll have to post a recipe for you guys so you can see what it’s like. Our cusinera (cook) — yes, we had a cook when I was growing up — used to make it for us for an afternoon snack all the time. It’s usually shaped into little balls or little flat patties, but Manang Francisca used to just pile it all into a bowl and we each got to have a tablespoon or two of it. Saved her the work of rolling it into balls, I guess.

Anyway, the coconut in this recipe is prepared a bit differently as it has egg in it, but it reminded me a lot of bukayo. Of course, piling it onto bread takes it up a notch. How clever is that? Then you actually get to eat it with your fingers! No spoon needed. And eat it you will! Esther from Laugh With Us Blog wasn’t kidding when she said this was a must try. OMG! You’ll not only eat it with your fingers, but you’ll lick every little crumb off said fingers, too! It’s that good!

COCONUT TOAST

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 9-12 slices of bread
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and coconut together.
  3. Spread the mixture onto each slice of bread.
  4. Arrange bread on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toast is lightly browned.

NOTE:  The original recipe is supposed to make enough mixture to cover 12 slices of bread. Apparently, we slather it on a lot thicker than that because we only get 9 slices of bread per recipe. LOL! Just spread the mixture on as thickly as you like. You’ll get anywhere from 9 to 12 pieces of toast.

Also, for those of you looking to cut down on your sugar intake, I’ve made this recipe with only 3/4 cup of sugar. It’s just as delicious as it is with the full amount.

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

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup | Pinky's Pantry
When Old Goat Honey and I were newly married, there was a little hotel on the main road of the town where we lived. On the first floor of this hotel was a tiny Thai restaurant. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it now. It has long since closed, but when it was open, we would go there for dinner at least once every other month. Their food was sooo good. One of our favorite things to order whenever we went there was their Thai Coconut Chicken Soup or “Soup No. 9” as we called it because it was the No. 9 item on their short, 2-page menu.

The soup was absolutely delicious! They served it in this round silver bowl that sat on a pedestal. The bowl had a hole in the center with a sort of “chimney” sticking up out of it. And inside the pedestal underneath the bowl was a little fire (I guess from a sterno can) that kept the soup hot. Since then, I’ve learned that that serving bowl is called a Thai Hot Pot. I don’t have one and just make my soup in a regular stock pot, but I suppose if you really wanted to go authentic, you could purchase a thai hot pot of your own.

Thai Hot Pot

Thai Hot Pot from Amazon.com

This soup calls for lemongrass. For those who are unfamiliar with it, lemongrass is a fragrant grass-like stalk that’s widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s long like a green onion, with a pale green color and with a tough, outer casing similar to a thick corn husk. It has a citrusy, herbal-like flavor. It’s readily available in Asian food stores and its increasing popularity is making it easier to find in your local neighborhood grocery. I know I can find it in mine.

TO PREPARE LEMON GRASS:  Cut off about a half-inch from the top and the root end. Wash it well, then peel off the tough outer layers. Before you chop or slice it, take a meat tenderizer or a mallet and smash it. This helps release the oils that impart that delicious lemony flavor. Then cut it into 2-inch pieces or mince it finely, depending on your recipe’s instructions. It’s quite tough and woody so it’s usually cut into pieces which are later discarded before serving, but you can eat the more tender center portion if it’s finely minced. If you’re going to mince the center portion, use the bottom 4 or 5 inches only since that’s the most tender part of the stalk.

THAI COCONUT CHICKEN SOUP

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (3-inch) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, crushed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15-oz.) can coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. patis (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ozs. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-4 small Thai chilies, sliced thinly (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (or 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  1. Heat canola oil in a soup pot and sauté garlic, ginger, and lemongrass.
  2. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, patis, sugar, and lime juice.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir in bell pepper, mushrooms, chilies, and chicken.
  4. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.
  5. Pick out and discard lemongrass.
  6. Stir in cilantro.
  7. Sprinkle with green onion and serve immediately with extra lime wedges on the side.

NOTE:  If you can’t find Thai chilies, you could substitute 1-2 tsp. sambal oelek (ground fresh chili paste) for the chilies. Actually, Old Goat Honey loves this soup served with a little bowl of sambal oelek on the side.

Also, if you can’t find fresh lemongrass, you could substitute the zest and juice of a fresh lemon, though it’s not quite the same thing. I’ve done it though, and it works fine in a pinch.

1 stalk lemongrass  =  zest of 1/2 lemon + 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Lemongrass freezes well so if you do find it, I recommend that you buy a bunch to freeze. Just wash it, peel off the outer leaves, stick it in a ziploc bag, squeeze out all the excess air, and put it in your freezer. It will keep for months and can be used directly from frozen.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons | Pinky's Pantry
Casa Catastrophe sure is quiet today. I remember when the kids were little, a quiet house meant you’d better go investigate because they were probably up to no good. I’ll never forget the day the silence led me to find No. 1 creating a whole artistic mural on the underside of our dining table with his crayons and markers. Yes, his work of art still exists to this day. You just need to crawl under the table to see it.

Or the day I caught Yissi quietly sprinkling “pixie dust” all over the kitchen (and herself) with the flour I had just brought home from the grocery store. Looking back, I wish I had taken a picture of her standing in the middle of the kitchen blinking innocently up at me with everything covered in white powder. Even her eyebrows and eyelashes! It was pretty funny. Of course at the time, the last thing I felt like doing was laughing, let alone going for the camera. It took me an hour to clean up the mess!

Then there was the day that Tissi decided she and Rory (her favorite stuffed toy lion) both needed haircuts. Luckily for her, I caught her right as she had just started on herself so she only had to walk around for the next few weeks with an inch-long patch sticking out of the top left side of her head like a little off-center mohawk. Unfortunately for Rory, he wasn’t so lucky and to this day he indignantly sports an uneven buzz cut where once resided an impressive lion’s mane.

Oh, and who can forget the time that Spunky, who was supposed to be eating her grilled cheese sandwich, thought she would feed it to the VCR instead. A fact we didn’t find out till we tried to stick in our latest Blockbuster Video rental that night! I wondered how she had managed to finish her lunch so quickly. I mean, I was only gone long enough to warm up some milk in the microwave and pour it into her little sippy cup! Poor Old Goat had to take apart the VCR to get all the melted cheese cleaned out of it.

Today, Casa Catastrophe is all quiet once again. But my investigations found Yissi chatting with her friends online, Tissi reading a book, Bashful drawing on her laptop, Spunky experimenting with her makeup, and No. 1 gone on a date with his girlfriend. The kids are all grown up now so I guess a quiet house no longer means the same alarming thing it used to. But I miss the noise anyway.

Well I guess I should take advantage of the peace and quiet while it’s here. And there’s no better way to enjoy peace and quiet than in a comfortable chair with a good book, a nice hot cup of tea, and a little plate of coconut macaroons by your side.
Coconut Macaroons | Pinky's Pantry

COCONUT MACAROONS

  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 can (14-oz) condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups desiccated coconut
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line about 36 mini muffin cups with baking paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together well.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared cups, filling them just about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes or until the top surface starts to brown lightly at the edges.

NOTE:  These macaroons get better as they age so bake them a day or two before you serve them. Store in an airtight container at room temperature with wax paper between the layers for up to one week. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen macaroons overnight before serving.