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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Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

This bread pudding was made without the raisins.

My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!

The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!

Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.

OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING

  • 4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 cups evaporated milk
  • 6 whole eggs
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
  1. Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
  4. Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.

To Cook Bread Pudding:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
  3. Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
  4. Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
  5. Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
  6. Cover tightly with tin foil.
  7. Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
  8. Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
  9. When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
  10. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
  11. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
  12. Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.

NOTES:

  • If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
  • You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.

Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):

  • 2 cans evaporated milk + 1 cup water
  • 5 cups bread cubes
  • 4 eggs

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

BANANA CREAM PUDDING

  • 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, pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours 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 another 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

Brownie Pudding Bars

Brownie Pudding Bars | Pinky's PantryWe’re having a bake sale at the office and I wanted to bring in something different from the usual brownies or chocolate chip cookies. I worked every single bake sale when my kids were in elementary school. Sometimes I coordinated the whole sale, and sometimes I just volunteered to help sell goodies. Either way, anytime there was a bake sale at school, you could be sure I would be involved in it somehow.

Funny thing, I remember the number one item that disappeared almost as soon as the bake sale began were the donuts. Glazed especially. We never had any donuts leftover. They sold out so fast! It got so that when I would ask for donations of baked goods for a bake sale, I always made sure to ask for several dozen donuts. They were so very popular with all the kids. The more “exotic” baked goods were always slower to move.

It’s the opposite with adults, however. I’m finding that the fancier items move really well at adult bake sales. Things like espresso bars and rum balls. So back to what I was originally saying, I wanted to make something different for the bake sale we were having at work. I found this recipe online for a Brownie Dessert which of course I had to tweak and make my own. Boy, were they good! And best of all, they sold like hotcakes! …..or should I say donuts?
Brownie Pudding Bars | Pinky's Pantry

BROWNIE PUDDING BARS

  • 2 boxes brownie mix
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16 oz.) tub whipped topping
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 (3 oz.) pkgs. instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 Hershey chocolate bar, optional for garnish
  1. Mix brownie mixes according to package directions.
  2. Bake in a well greased 9×13 inch cake pan. Do not overbake!
  3. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Blend cream cheese, whipped topping and powdered sugar together.
  5. Spread half of cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled brownies.
  6. Blend puddings and milk together.
  7. Spread on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  8. Top with remaining half of cream cheese mixture.
  9. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts.
  10. Decorate with chocolate shavings, if desired.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

[Adapted from Home Cookin]

Coffee Panna Cotta

Coffee Panna Cotta | Pinky's PantryWe’re having some old friends over for dinner tomorrow. We haven’t seen them in a while so I’m really looking forward to it. For the dinner, I thought I would keep it simple so I’m making a slow-roasted beef brisket with mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli. But for dessert, I wanted to serve something that would be easy to prepare and yet be fancy enough to make a statement. I decided to make Panna Cotta but didn’t feel like doing the traditional vanilla flavor. Then I thought, ‘how about coffee flavored?’ It would jazz up the custard quite nicely and make it sophisticated enough to appeal to the grown-up palate. If I could come up with some kind of sauce to serve it with, that would be the icing on the cake!….. or the icing on the cotta….. LOL! I must say, I think it turned out pretty well! I hope my friends, Maureen and Bullet, like it too.
Coffee Panna Cotta with Coffee Cream Sauce | Pinky's Pantry

COFFEE PANNA COTTA

  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp. instant espresso or coffee granules
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water; set aside.
  2. Place cream, sugar, instant coffee and vanilla extract in a saucepan.
  3. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  4. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add gelatin to hot cream mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves.
  6. Pour into 6 lightly oiled 1/2 cup ramekins or other small containers and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
  7. Once panna cottas are firm, turn out onto dessert plates.
  8. Decorate with chocolate covered espresso beans and mint leaves.
  9. If desired, serve with Coffee Cream Sauce.

Weight Watchers Lime Panna Cotta

Weight Watchers Panna Cotta | Pinky's PantryMy family loves creamy, rich Panna Cotta, but let’s face it – it’s not exactly the lowest calorie dessert out there. However, I do have the Weight Watchers PointsPlus Cookbook sitting on my bookshelf, and browsing through it I was more than pleased to discover that it contained a recipe for a low-fat Panna Cotta! I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, there’s nothing like the flavor of a full-cream Panna Cotta, but when you’re trying to cut down on the calories, this really was a good substitute.

LIME PANNA COTTA WITH BERRY COMPOTE

  • 1-1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lime zest
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. water
  1. Spray four 6-oz. custard cups or ramekins with nonstick spray.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of the half-and-half in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the lime zest, and salt in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, whisking, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, bring just to boil, and remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in gelatin mixture, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Pour through fine sieve set over medium bowl.
  4. Whisk buttermilk and vanilla into strained mixture. Divide mixture evenly among prepared custard cups. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and set, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  5. To make sauce, combine 1/2 cup of the raspberries, the blueberries, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and the water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil and cook, stirring often, until blueberries pop and sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup raspberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. To serve, run thin-bladed knife around edge of each custard cup; then dip cups into bowl of hot water, holding them there about 15 seconds. Immediately invert cups onto plate. Top each with 2 tablespoons of the sauce.

ONE SERVING (1 custard with 2 tablespoons sauce) = 4 POINTS

NOTE:  I followed the Panna Cotta recipe as is, but I didn’t have any raspberries or blueberries so instead of making the Berry Sauce, I made an Apricot Sauce to go with it by first draining a can of Lite Apricot Halves, and then pureeing the fruit with an immersion blender. Stir in a little squeeze of lemon juice and you’re good to go. If you want it sweeter, just add some Splenda to taste.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

Strawberry Panna Cotta | Pinky's Pantry
Panna Cotta is an Italian custard dessert. Panna Cotta literally means “cooked cream.” My kids love Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta which I usually serve with different fruit sauces, but since strawberries are in season, I thought I would try making Strawberry Panna Cotta by switching the vanilla bean for strawberry extract and making a strawberry sauce. They liked it a lot so I made it again to take to my sister’s house for Labor Day. It was a hit.
Strawberry Panna Cotta | Pinky's Pantry

STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA

  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. strawberry extract
  • few drops of pink baker’s gel food coloring (or red grocery store food coloring)
  • fresh strawberries and mint leaves, for garnish
  1. In a small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water; set aside.
  2. Place cream, sugar and strawberry extract in a saucepan.
  3. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  4. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add gelatin to hot cream mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves.
  6. Stir in a few drops of food coloring until mixture reaches the shade of pink desired. This is optional. You could skip the food coloring if you want.
  7. Pour into 6 lightly oiled 1/2 cup ramekins or other small containers and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
  8. Once panna cottas are firm, pour a little strawberry sauce on top.
  9. Decorate with sliced strawberries and mint leaves, if desired.

STRAWBERRY SAUCE

  • 1-1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • sugar to taste
  1. Blend strawberries and orange juice together until smooth.
  2. Add sugar to taste. How much sugar you add will depend on how sweet your strawberries are. Just add in one tablespoon at a time until it’s as sweet as you want it.