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JUST DESSERTS

09 August 2019


We go sweet in this issue. More specifically, Pinoy sweet, as we collect recipes for traditional desserts in the Philippines which are,  however, often served as merienda (afternoon or tea-time) snack because they are laden with flour or glutinous rice, and are therefore, too heavy for rounding up a meal.

However, some restaurants or hotels have found that serving them bite-size, or alongside traditional desserts such as ice cream, make them look just the right thing to serve after a meal.
But for many Filipinos who were raised partaking these heavenly treats in their original size and form, plus mode of cooking, no fusion or twist could ever be as sweet.

However, recent innovations have made cooking these desserts a lot of easier.

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For instance, instead of going through the tedious process of soaking sticky rice, then grinding it to form the dough necessary to cook carioca and palitaw, you can just use glutinous rice flour which you can find in most grocery stores. Just add water and - voila! You have your dough.
For maruya, there are many recipes available online, each prescribing a different consistency for the flour and the ingredients you mix it with. But there is one key ingredient one must not dispense with, or substitute with something else, and that is our native saba banana.
But as with all recipes, one needs to find one that works best, or to keep improvising until the end-product looks as yummy as the one seen in the pictures or videos, or as unforgettable as the one your mother or grandma served to you as a kid.

Take your sweet time re-discovering these favorite Filipino treats!


Maruya (Banana Fritters )

Ingredients
6 pcs ripe saba bananas, mashed
1 cup all- purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 cup fresh milk
1 & ½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated white sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cups cooking oil

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Procedure:
1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Gradually add the mashed bananas while mixing.
3. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients.
4. In a pan, heat half of the oil. When the oil becomes hot, scoop about ½ cup of the mixture and fry in the pan (add the remaining oil in the next batches).Fry both sides until the color turns golden brown.
5. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on both sides.
Serve and enjoy!


Carioca (Sweet Rice Balls)

From Panlasang Pinoy

Ingredients:
1 cup sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour can be used as a substitute)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups cooking oil
Coating:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk

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Procedure:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine sweet rice flour, sweetened shredded coconut, and coconut milk. Mix well until a dough is formed.
2. Scoop about a tablespoon and a half of the mixture then form into a ball shaped figure. Set aside.
3. Heat a cooking pot then pour-in cooking oil.
4. Deep fry the mixture that were formed into balls in medium heat for 5 to7 minutes or until the color turns light to medium brown.
5. Turn off heat and remove the balls from the cooking pot. Transfer the balls to a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
6. Start making the coating by heating a saucepan and pouring the coconut milk in. Let the coconut milk boil then add the brown sugar and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Turn off heat.
7. Dip the fried balls into the coating then skewer, if desired.
8. Serve. Share and enjoy!


Palitaw (Pinoy Mochi Cakes)

From Lalaine Manalo, Kawaling Pinoy

Ingredients
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
1 cup grated mature coconut
water for boiling

Instructions
1) In a pan over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring frequently, for about 30 to 40 seconds or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2) In a bowl, combine toasted sesame seeds and sugar. Set aside.
3) In a bowl, combine rice flour and water and mix into a soft, pliable dough.
4) Divide the dough into portions and using the palm of hands, shape into balls and then flatten into oval disks about 1/4-inch thick.
5) In a pot over medium heat, bring about 5-inch deep of water into a rolling boil. Individually drop the rice patties into the boiling water, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the patties float to the surface,
6) Using a slotted spoon, remove from the water and drain well. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined platter to keep from sticking together and let cool just enough to touch.
7) While still warm, roll the palitaw on grated coconut to fully coat. Sprinkle with sesame-sugar mixture before serving, or serve on the side.

Tips on how to make the best Palitaw:
1) To get the perfect chewy texture, you need the right ratio of glutinous rice flour and water. Not enough liquid and the cakes will be hard to chew. Too much and the patties will be hard to form.
 2) I find 1 cup of water to 2 cups of flour yields the best texture for my taste. The mixture will look dry at first but keep on mixing with your hands until it gathers into a smooth dough. The consistency you’re looking for is like that of soft, pliable putty.
3) For more uniform size, use a small scoop to portion out the dough and use the palm of your hands to roll each portion into a ball and then flatten into an oval shape about 1/4 thick. If the dough is sticking, wet hands in between shaping.
4) Once the patties rise to the surface, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water right away to keep from over-cooking. Drain well.
5) Let them cool just enough to touch and begin rolling in grated coconut as they coat better when still warm.
6) Roll the patties immediately in coconut but sprinkle the sugar-sesame mixture when you’re ready to serve as the sugar tends to dissolve over time. Or you can serve it on the side and allow the guests to sweeten the cakes as they like.
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