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

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Browned Butter Toffee Tartlets

Browned Butter Toffee Tartlets | Pinky's PantryI’ve had this recipe a long time. I don’t remember where I got it. It’s probably from one of my old cookbooks, though I don’t remember which one. I made it once years ago and then never made it again. For the life of me, I don’t know why. They were a hit when I made them all those years go. These tartlets are not only yummy, but they’re super-duper easy to make. The recipe makes a lot, too, which is perfect for a party or get-together.
Browned Butter Toffee Tartlets | Pinky's Pantry

BROWNED BUTTER TOFFEE TARTLETS

  • 3 pkgs. (15 pcs. each) baked miniature phyllo dough shells
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsps. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup toffee pieces
  • 2 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, chopped or bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place phyllo dough shells on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; then reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Continue to cook, without stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant.
  5. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and salt. Whisk vigorously to combine.
  7. Whisk browned butter into egg mixture.
  8. Stir in toffee pieces.
  9. Spoon filling into tartlet shells.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are light brown.
  11. Transfer carefully to wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  12. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth.
  13. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of cooled tartlets in any design you want.
  14. Let stand until set.

NOTE:

  • You should get at least 40 tartlets (if not more) from this recipe, depending on how full you fill the shells.
  • If you can’t get toffee pieces, you can substitute chocolate-covered toffee candybars, like Skor, Heath or Daim, and chop them up.
  • To store, layer tartets between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw tartlets at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Pinky’s Mango Fruit Tart

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

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

PINKY’S MANGO FRUIT TART

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

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.

PEAR PIE

  • 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.