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Mix">All Filipinos seem to be born with a sweet tooth, and most of us never really outgrow it. We�re never too old for a candy bar or a rich filled doughnut. That�s why desserts have always been a big part of Filipino cuisine. For many of us, a meal isn�t a meal without something cold and sweet to top it off. It doesn�t matter if your meal consists of rice and dried fish; without dessert, it�s simply not complete.
However, our idea of dessert has evolved a lot through the years. Ask any kid what his favorite dessert is and he�ll most likely say ice cream, cake, or something not really Filipino. If you think the same way, maybe it�s time you tried the old favorites and rediscover Filipino food. Here�s a quick guide to local desserts and some Filipino desserts recipes you can make on your own.
With rice as our staple food, it�s really no surprise that we�d turn it into a dessert as well. In fact, we have more than a dozen varieties of kakanin, the local term for rice desserts, most of them sold at practically every corner. Because they are rice-based, they are seldom eaten after regular meals (which already have rice as the main course). People prefer them for merienda in the late morning or afternoon. Some of the most popular Filipino rice cakes are puto, suman, biko, bibingka, and kalamay.
If you�re looking for a lighter dessert, Filipino pastries may be just what you need. Our native pastries cover everything from small bite-size tarts to tropical fruit pies. They may seem complicated at first glance, but they are actually one of the easiest Filipino food recipes. In fact, if you�re just starting out, pastries make a great beginner recipe. Start with simple snack tarts such as this one.
Easy Caramel Tarts
Procedure: Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the white sugar. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into baked pastry shells. Top with the egg white mixture and bake for about 10 minutes or until the meringue turns brown.
Puto and kutsinta
Puto a steamed cake made from rice flour, often topped with cheese or salted eggs. It is often sold with kutsinta, a brown jelly cake served with grated coconut. The two go together because the soft, grainy texture of the puto contrasts the tart smoothness of kutsinta. Both are among the simplest Filipino recipes; you can make a batch of each cake in less than two hours.
Bibingka is actually an Indian dish (bebinca), but the Filipino variety is unique because it uses rice flour instead of white. It also comes with a variety of toppings such as butter or margarine, cheese, salted eggs, or grated coconuts. Bibingka is a popular snack in the Christmas season, where it is often sold with puto bumbong (same as puto, but cooked in bamboo vessels and flavored with coconut or purple yam)and other Filipino cooking recipes. It is traditionally cooked in charcoal ovens, which gives it a smoky flavor. Of course, you can also tweak the recipe and bake it in modern ovens. Here�s how.
Procedure: Preheat your oven to 375oF. In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in coconut milks and add in the eggs. In a separate bow, sift the flour, add the baking powder and salt, then sift again. Combine with the egg mixture and beat well. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 15 minutes. Top with cheese and resume baking for another 20 minutes, brushing with margarine occasionally. Give it a final brush when done, and serve with coconut on the side.
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Travel Part B