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.


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.



Fluffy Tapioca Pudding

Fluffy Tapioca | Pinky's Pantry
My mom used to make tapioca pudding for us all the time when we were growing up in the Philippines but since fresh cow’s milk was not very easily obtainable, she made it with evaporated milk or evaporada as we called it. I have to say, we love tapioca pudding made with evaporated milk more than fresh milk. The evaporated milk gives it a creaminess and a rich flavor that you just don’t get from plain, bland cow’s milk. Give this recipe a try and you’ll see exactly what I mean.


  • 1 egg, separated
  • 6 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 tbsp. MINUTE tapioca
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Beat egg white in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy.
  2. Gradually add 3 tbsp. sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
  3. Mix tapioca, remaining sugar, milk and egg yolk in medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full boil. Remove from heat.
  5. Quickly fold egg white mixture into hot tapioca in saucepan until well blended.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Cool 20 minutes; stir.
  8. Serve warm or chilled.
  9. For creamier pudding, place plastic wrap on surface of pudding while cooling.
  10. Stir before serving.

NOTE:  Store leftover pudding in refrigerator.


To Double:  Use 1/3 cup tapioca and double all other ingredients.
Makes 6½ cups or 8-10 servings.

To Halve:  Use 1 egg and 1/2 of the other ingredients.
Makes 1¾ cups or 2-3 servings.

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


  • 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.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Sauce

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta | Pinky's Pantry
Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert that’s become very popular all over the United States. It’s a custard-like confection made of cream sweetened with sugar and thickened with gelatin. Though it’s made with rich cream, it’s surprisingly light, and the ease of making it belies how fancy it looks.

To serve, I like to loosen the panna cottas from the ramekins and turn them out onto dessert plates, then pour some sauce carefully around each panna cotta. You could also just pour the sauce on top of the panna cottas in their ramekins and serve them that way. Mint leaves and fresh raspberries make a pretty garnish.


  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (can substitute 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  1. In a small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water; set aside.
  2. Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture comes to a simmer.
  4. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Pick out and discard the vanilla bean pod.
  6. Add gelatin to hot cream mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves completely.
  7. Pour into 6 lightly oiled 1/2-cup ramekins or other small cylindrical molds and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.


  • 1 bag (10 ozs.) frozen mixed berries, thawed (can substitute fresh berries)
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (taste and add more if you want it sweeter)
  • 2 Tbsp. brandy
  1. Combine berries and sugar in bowl of a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until berries are completely crushed.
  3. Pour through a strainer into a bowl, pushing mixture back and forth with a rubber spatula. Discard the solids.
  4. Stir the brandy into the sauce.

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


  • 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, condensed milk, and pudding mix until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes 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 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

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry
Jackie was my classmate in school from the time we were in kindergarten all the way through high school. We hit it off right away and became fast friends. On one of my visits to her house (I think we were only in the 5th grade then), her mom served us some cream puffs and I absolutely loved them. Even at that tender age, I was interested in cooking. I asked for the recipe which Jackie wrote out on an index card for me. To this day, I still use that same recipe carefully handwritten on that old, now yellowed index card.

Over the years, I’ve kept the ingredients true to the original recipe, but I’ve changed the procedure a bit for baking them. For instance, the original recipe called for baking the puffs for 20 minutes, then turning the oven off and letting them sit for 10 minutes in the turned off oven with the oven door slightly ajar. I just bake them for about 25 minutes straight and then I’m done.
Cream Puffs | Pinky's PantryCream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry
Cream puffs are a wonderful French invention. Known as “pâte à choux” in France, they are amazing in their versatility and swing from sweet to savory with a simple switch of the filling. They can be filled with custard, pastry cream, whipped cream, or ice cream, or for a savory appetizer or brunch dish, fill them with chicken salad, curried shrimp, tuna or crab salad, creamed turkey, or whatever your heart desires.
Cream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line two cookie sheets with silpat silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a rolling boil.
  3. Add flour all at once, keeping pan on the heat, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Remove pan from heat and still using wooden spoon, beat in eggs, one at a time, until all eggs are well blended. If you want, you can use a hand mixer for this step.
  5. Spoon or pipe onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Depending on how small or large you make them, you should get between 16-24 puffs.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until medium golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool completely; then fill with desired filling.

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


  • 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.

Pear Pie

Pear Pie | Pinky's PantryIn the movie “City of Angels,” when Seth (Nicholas Cage) asks Maggie (Meg Ryan) to describe to him what a pear tastes like, she says, “Sweet, juicy, soft on your tongue, grainy like sugary sand that dissolves in your mouth.” It’s the perfect description for this unpretentious little fruit.

We don’t have pears in the Philippines so I’d never tasted them before coming to America. My mother-in-law (who was Dutch) loved them, though, so I always made sure to buy some whenever she came to visit. I learned to love them because of her. This recipe is actually one of the very first pies I learned to make when I arrived in the United States as a teenager. It’s an easy recipe and has long been one of our family’s treasured favorites.


  • 1 unbaked, 9-inch, deep dish pie crust (store-bought frozen, or make your own)
  • 2 pears (Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc pears are good for baking)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Line pie crust with parchment paper or foil and fill bottom with pie weights or dried beans.
  3. Bake pie crust for 8 minutes, then remove parchment paper and pie weights, and continue to bake another 3-5 minutes until light brown.
  4. Remove crust from oven and set aside.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 350ºF.
  6. Peel, core, and slice each pear into 8 wedges for a total of 16 wedges.
  7. Arrange pear slices in pie crust like spokes of a wheel with narrow ends toward center and overlapping. You can slice portions of the narrow ends off to make them thinner and easier to overlap and fit in the crust. I usually take one of the pear slices, cut the thicker end off and lay it over the center to cover the overlapping ends. Also, you may not need all the pear slices depending on how big your pears are.
    Pear Pie | Pinky's Pantry
  8. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar together.
  9. Add flour, melted butter, and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  10. Pour custard over pear slices.
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until custard jiggles slightly in the center when shaken.
  12. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Mixed Berry Trifle

Mixed Berry Trifle | Pinky's Pantry
I was asked to bring the dessert for the family’s 4th of July barbecue this year. I thought it would be fun to fix something red, white and blue. And what could be better than using ripe red strawberries, sweet blueberries and creamy custard? So I decided to make a berry trifle.

A trifle is an old English dessert. It’s traditionally made with sponge cake (usually dipped in sherry or some other wine), fruit, gelatin and whipped cream. I made this trifle without the alcohol, gelatin, or whipped cream, but it was still wiped out! Bashful decorated the top of the trifle with a berry flag which turned out really cute. It was the perfect dessert to take to the barbecue!
Mixed Berry Trifle | Pinky's Pantry


  • 1 package white cake mix (or bake your own from scratch)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh blueberries
  1. Bake cake according to package directions. You could use yellow cake mix if you don’t like white.
  2. Cool the cake completely, then cut it into 1-inch chunks.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, mix together the evaporated milk, sugar, flour, egg, egg yolk, and salt with a wire whisk.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until thick and smooth.
  5. Remove custard from heat and stir in butter until completely incorporated.
  6. Allow custard to cool, then assemble trifle by layering cake, fruit, and custard in a trifle bowl. End with custard layer on top.
  7. If desired, you could make a flag on top of the trifle with strawberries and blueberries as pictured.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee | Pinky's Pantry
So I was lying in bed watching TV with my Old Goat Honey dozing next to me when a slight movement off the side of my eye caught my attention. Looking over, I gasped! A huge, horrible, monstrous, leggy, brown bug was crawling up the wall towards the ceiling! Anyone who knows me knows I have a deep-seated, inexplicable fear of creepy crawlies. Anything with more than four legs strikes the fear of God into my quivering heart. This thing had like a million legs! I kid you not! With a shriek, I recognized it as a house centipede.

I shook my Old Goat and in a nervous whisper said that there was a gigantic monster house centipede crawling up the wall and I needed him to take it away….. immediately! In typical heroic fashion, my knight in shining armor drowsily said, “Just leave it alone. They eat spiders.” Gah! Really? Is there anything more gag-inducing than the thought of an ugly leggy bug happily munching on another ugly leggy bug? Unable to tear my eyes away from the terrifying sight of the beast crawling up the wall, I watched in helpless fascination as he reached the part where the wall meets the ceiling and stopped. I swear he stood there looking right at me as if trying to decide whether I would make a tasty meal or not. Surely he wouldn’t walk across the ceiling towards me! He would be upside down if he did! How would he stay up there? Do they have like little dots of double-sided sticky tape at the ends of their legs? No….. he couldn’t walk upside down across the ceiling. He wouldn’t. He……… Ahhhhhhhhhh!

To my absolute horror, he started across the ceiling towards our bed! My mind filled with visions of him getting right above our bed, imagining how suddenly the double-sided sticky tape at the ends of his legs would lose its stickiness and he would drop right onto me in a full-on, ravenous attack. I quickly shook Old Goat again and in a panic-stricken voice yelled, “He’s coming this way! You’ve got to get him before he gets us!” to which my fearless knight sleepily responded, “Have No. 1 do it.”  O_O

By this time, I had already leaped out of our bed and made it across to the safety of the other side of the room. I watched from the doorway mesmerized as it crawled right above Old Goat, then suddenly veered towards the center of the ceiling where it crawled up onto the base of the ceiling fan. My powers of deduction obviously impaired by this point, I hit on the idea that if I turned on the fan, those big wooden blades would somehow chop up that little body with the million little legs into tiny flecks of dust that would poof away into nothingness. So I hit the ON button and to my utter shock, the fan sucked him right into its body! I always knew fans blew air out front. Never thought of them sucking air in on the back side but that’s just what this one did. Now what? I stood there waiting indecisively, but he never dragged himself out of the swiftly-whirring fan.

So, brave soul that I am, I hightailed it downstairs to the kitchen as fast as my shaky legs could take me, and feeling in dire need of some comfort, debated on whether to pour myself a stiff drink or make some Crème Brûlée for dessert tonight. The Crème Brûlée won.


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • turbinado sugar for caramelizing
  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place 8 small ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a saucepan, stir together the cream, sugar, and salt.
  3. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a paring knife.
  4. Stir the seeds into the cream and drop the vanilla bean halves in.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.
  7. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks lightly just to break them up.
  8. Remove and discard the vanilla bean halves.
  9. Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
  10. Fill each ramekin with the custard mixture.
  11. Carefully place the roasting pan with the filled ramekins into the oven.
  12. Slowly pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  13. Bake until the custards are just set but still a little jiggly, about 30-35 minutes.
  14. Remove custards from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of each custard to prevent them from forming a skin.
  16. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  17. Just before serving, preheat your broiler.
  18. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar evenly in a thin layer over the top of each custard.
  19. Place in broiler, about 3 inches away from the heat source, until the sugar melts and caramelizes. You may have to rotate your pan so it caramelizes evenly. Watch carefully and don’t let the sugar burn. If you have a kitchen torch, use it! It’s much easier to control the caramelization with a torch.
  20. Set the custards aside to let the caramel cool and harden.

NOTE:  If you can’t find vanilla beans, you can substitute 1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract.