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.

 

Cherry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry
It’s cherry season and the cherries are out in full force. I see them everywhere – at the farmer’s market, in the grocery stores, on street vendor’s tables – and they’re absolutely delicious! So dark and sweet and juicy.

I picked up a sackful from the store yesterday and decided to make them into a fresh cherry cobbler. I love fruit cobblers, don’t you? Especially when they’re just out of the oven and served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side. Yum! As an added bonus, they make the house smell so good while they’re baking, too!

If you have a cherry pitter, use it. It sure makes the work of pitting each cherry a lot easier. I used to be the Room Mom for my kids’ kindergarten classes and one year, as a thank you gift, the children gave me a pretty white basket filled with fresh cherries. Tied to the basket’s handle with a red-and-white checkered ribbon was a silver cherry pitter. I still have that same cherry pitter to this day. It’s proven to be a mighty useful contraption over the years.
Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry

FRESH CHERRY COBBLER

  • 4 cups fresh cherries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 can evaporated milk (or 2 cups fresh milk)
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or plain white sugar), optional
  1. Wash, stem, and remove the pits from the cherries. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  3. Using a wire whisk, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Empty the can of evaporated milk into a measuring cup and add enough water or fresh milk to make it amount to 2 cups.
  5. Add the milk and melted butter into the flour mixture and whisk together well. Batter will be thin.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  7. Scatter the cherries over the top of the batter, distributing them evenly so you get a cherry in every bite.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the ¼ cup demerara sugar, if using.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top turns light brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

NOTE:  You can make this cobbler with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any other fruit you like.

This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9-inch square pan for a smaller cobbler.

Blueberry Lemon Bread

Blueberry Lemon Bread | Pinky's Pantry
I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.

Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
Blueberry Lemon Bread | Pinky's Pantry

BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
  3. Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  5. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Gently fold blueberries into batter.
  7. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
  9. Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
  10. Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
  11. Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.

NOTE:  My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.

A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.

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

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.

Halloween Fondant Ghosts

Fondant Ghost1 | Pinky's Pantry
To add to the treats I was making for the kids this Halloween, I decided to make some fondant ghosts. You can make your own homemade fondant like I did, or buy ready-made fondant. Obviously, homemade marshmallow fondant tastes a hundred times better than the store bought kind, but it can be a pain to make so it’s entirely up to you. The ghost bodies underneath the fondant are made by stacking chocolate candies that you “glue” together with melted chocolate chips. Whether you choose to make your own fondant or buy the ready-made kind, assembling these ghosts is definitely easy and fun to do! They look adorable on your Halloween table, too.

HALLOWEEN FONDANT GHOSTS

  • 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or you can buy ready-made white fondant)
  • 1 bag Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 box Whoppers malted milk balls
  • 2-3 tbsp. chocolate chips, to use as “glue”
  • powdered sugar or cornstarch, for dusting
  • 1 tube of black ready-to-use decorating icing
  1. Heat chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted.
  2. Smear a little melted chocolate on top of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and press a second cup on top of it. This is your ghost’s body.
    Fondant Ghost2 | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Next, smear a little dollop of melted chocolate on a Whopper and press it onto your peanut butter cup stack. This is your ghost’s head.
  4. Knead the fondant till it’s soft and pliable.
  5. Dust work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch.
  6. Pull off a piece of fondant and cover the rest with a damp towel. I like to work with fondant in small batches to keep the big piece of fondant from drying out.
    Fondant Ghost3| Pinky's Pantry
  7. Roll out the piece of fondant you pulled to a little less than a quarter inch thick.
  8. Cut out 4½-inch circles from the fondant.
    Fondant Ghost4 | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Break off another piece of fondant, roll, and cut out more circles.
  10. Repeat till you have the number of circles you need for however many ghosts you’re making.
  11. Drape a fondant circle over a chocolate stack, arranging it so it drapes in nice folds.
    Fondant Ghost5 | Pinky's Pantry
  12. Pipe two eyes with black decorating icing. If desired, you could add an “O” shaped mouth as well.
    Fondant Ghost6 | Pinky's Pantry
  13. These ghosts can be served as is, or use them as cupcake toppers or to decorate a cake.
    Fondant Ghost7 | 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

Strawberry Cream Cake

Strawberry Cream Cake | Pinky's PantryIt’s Bashful’s birthday today. She’s turning 23. Where did the years go? It’s so true that time flies faster the older you get. Like her namesake, Bashful is shy and sweet and kind-hearted. Been that way since she was a little girl. She spoke just fine at home, but hardly said two words outside. Without fail, every new teacher she had would call me at the beginning of each school year to ask if things were alright at home because she never said a word in class. I would have to explain that that was just her way but if they called on her to answer, she would, even if she hadn’t raised her hand. She answered in this tiny little soft-spoken voice, but she answered. She’s all grown up now but when I look at her, I still see that quiet little girl who always stood to one side silently watching the world with big, solemn eyes and a shy smile.

This morning I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and of course, she asked for her favorite Strawberry Cream Cake. Its always been her favorite and that hasn’t changed over the years. I’m not surprised. This cake is so fabulously good. I make a moist vanilla cake for the base, use sliced fresh strawberries in the filling, and cover it up with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s Yummy with a capital Y!
Strawberry Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

Vanilla Cake:

  • 3 cups all­ purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray three 9-­inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, then spray the paper.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy.
  5. Slowly pour in the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  7. Then add the vanilla, beating until well-combined.
  8. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions.
  9. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a spatula.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  12. Invert cakes, peel off parchment paper, then re-invert so cakes are top side up.
  13. Cool completely before frosting. Trim tops off to make cakes level if desired.

Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
  1. Hull, wash, and slice strawberries.
  2. Toss in a bowl with sugar and set aside until ready to use.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, add more or less as desired
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
  1. Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  2. Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it less sweet.
  3. Beat until stiff peaks form.

NOTE:

  • If you want really white frosting, omit the vanilla or use clear vanilla extract.
  • If you have cake strips, use them! They really help the cakes to rise up evenly with nice, level tops.

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.

Zucchini Crumble Bars

Zucchini Crumble Bars | Pinky's Pantry
I make these bars a lot during zucchini season. The zucchini is like a “surprise ingredient” that fools everybody. They all think it’s apple and don’t believe me when I tell them it’s zucchini. These bars are delicious, and best of all, are so easy to make. My family loves to eat them warm with a scoop of ice cream. Give them a try and see if they don’t surprise you, too.
Zucchini Crumble Bars | Pinky's Pantry

ZUCCHINI CRUMBLE BARS

For the Filling:

  • 8-10 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4-5 lbs.)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tbsp. cold water (this is called a slurry)
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook zucchini, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring occasionally until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. While stirring constantly, pour in slurry (cornstarch water mixture). It is important to keep stirring as the slurry will thicken the mixture very quickly.
  3. Continue to cook and stir, 1-2 minutes more, until mixture is thick and glossy.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Crust:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cold butter, cut in cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Set aside about 3 cups of the crust mixture for topping.
  5. Press remaining crust mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan.
  6. Pour zucchini mixture over crust, spreading evenly to edges.
  7. Crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini mixture.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.