Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tibok-Tibok (Coconut Milk Pudding)

Tibok-Tibok (Coconut Milk Pudding)

I miss the traditional desserts I used to enjoy back in the Philippines. I spent most of my childhood there, and even though it's been decades since I left, I can still remember how good the food was, especially the desserts.

So this year, I wanted to make a Filipino dessert for Thanksgiving. I asked my mom, my aunt and my grandmothers for their recipes for tibok-tibok. It's a milk pudding topped with fried coconut milk solids called latik. It is a specialty in the region where I grew up, an area just north of Manila called Pampanga. It's very similar to maja blanca, another Filipino dessert that has bits of corn mixed into it.

My Tita Rica explained to me that the name "tibok-tibok", which literally means "heartbeat", describes how you can tell when the pudding is done; the bubbles just barely touch the surface so it looks like it's pulsating - like a beating heart.

Tibok-Tibok (Coconut Milk Pudding)

There was so much variation between each of their recipes that I decided to take what I liked most about each one and created a whole new recipe. For example, tibok-tibok is traditionally made with carabao's milk, which is rich and creamy in texture, but since it's not available here in the U.S., I've used a combination of coconut milk and cow's milk in its place.

For fun, I topped them with toasted coconut flakes to add another layer of texture. Maybe I'll try topping it with julienned Philippine dried mangoes too :-) Yum!

Tibok-Tibok (coconut milk pudding) with latik and toasted coconut
Allergy Note: contains dairy ingredients.
For dairy-free alternative, you can replace the whole milk with coconut milk, rice milk, goat milk or soy milk.

3 1/2 cups canned coconut milk*

toasted coconut:
1 -2 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut (same as desiccated coconut)

3 1/2 cups canned coconut milk *
3 1/2 cups whole milk (for vegetarian, you can replace with coconut milk)
1 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon of lime peel
1/2 tsp salt

* for best results, try to find canned coconut milk that has "first pressing" written on the label

For the latik:
In a deep non-stick frying pan, bring the coconut milk to a boil then lower to medium heat. Continue stirring the coconut milk until the coconut oil starts coming out and the coconut milk solids turn golden brown. Remove from heat immediately and pour into small bowl.

NOTE: some canned coconut milk are very lean, so if your coconut milk starts thickening and there's not much oil coming out, add a tablespoon of coconut oil or vegetable oil to allow the milk solids to turn golden brown.

For the toasted coconut:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the flaked or shredded coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.

For the pudding:
Grease a 9 x 13 pan, with the coconut oil from the latik, then set aside. In a large saucepan, combine coconut milk, 2 1/2 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup sugar and lime peel. Bring to a boil, remove lime peel and then lower heat to a simmer. Combine cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup whole milk and mix thoroughly. Pour into the saucepan and stir constantly until the pudding starts to thicken. Let the pudding cook for a few more minutes. The pudding will thicken and as soon as it starts to bubble, remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan. Let cool completely before cutting into servings.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Egg-free Coconut Macaroons

Egg-free Coconut Macaroons

I made these coconut macaroons for a play date last week and they were a hit. They're nice and crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. And the best part: they are soo easy to make. Just dump everything in a bowl, mix and then bake. I have to warn you though. . . they're very addicting :-) And if you drizzle or dip them in chocolate. . .good luck trying to resist them.

Egg-free Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Ina Garten's Coconut Macaroons.
Makes about 3 dozen
Allergy Note: contains dairy and wheat ingredients

14 oz. bag sweetened flaked coconut
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat

In a large bowl, combine flaked coconut, flour and salt. Pour in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Drop tablespoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.

- drizzle or dip these macaroon in melted chocolate
- chop up 1/2 cup of dried fruits like pineapple, papaya or mangoes and add into the batter (I used jackfruit)
- if you don't have a tree nut allergy, you can top each macaroon with some chopped nuts. suggestions: almonds, pistachios or cashews

UPDATE 3/25/10: I tried pulsing the shredded coconut in the food processor first before adding it into the batter and it really improved the texture of the macaroons.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hot for Chocolate? Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

Hot for Chocolate

Now that the weather has cooled down, I found myself in the mood again to make chocolate truffles. I guess you can say I'm looking forward to the holiday season. Every year, I give my friends and family boxes filled with my homemade goodies, and almost always I include chocolate truffles. I started doing this about ten years ago, when I was a poor college student and couldn't afford to buy gifts for everyone. Nowadays, the boxes are a bit bigger and the goodies are even more delectable.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tutorial: How to Make a Fondant Frame


Whenever I'm shopping for new toys...errrr tools, I always have a hard time narrowing down which ones to get because I want to buy them all. To keep myself from going on a spending spree, I try to practice some restraint by getting one or two items each month (okay, maybe three). My most recent purchase is an FMM textured lace set . One of the lace patterns looked remarkably similar to the pattern on a picture frame I have. So I had an idea...I'm going to make a picture frame out of fondant!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Muddy Buddies with Sunflower Seed Butter (aka Puppy Chow)

Muddy Buddies with Sunflower Seed Butter

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I found this lovely jar of sunflower seed butter, right next to the ubiquitous peanut butter. It was like manna from heaven! I can't even tell you how happy I was to serve up a sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich to my little guy. And guess what? He liked it! I started running through my head all the wonderful things I could make with this delicious find. Oooh...the possibilities!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lemon Layer Cake

lemon layer cake

It's my mom's birthday and, upon request, I made her a lemon layer cake. I tried to convince her to let me experiment with flavors, like adding a layer of dark chocolate ganache and raspberries, but she just looked at me like I was crazy. Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an interesting flavor combination? O.K. Never mind. Anyway, I went ahead and made a vanilla butter cake with lemon curd filling. She specifically asked me to use hybrid buttercream frosting and absolutely no rollled fondant whatsoever...not even for decorations.



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