Monday, December 27, 2004

extra special cassava bibingka...

"bibingkang kamoteng kahoy na napakaespesyal".. tried to teach my sister-in-law to say that. she managed "bibingka" and i said good enough.

this was our dessert contribution, in lieu of a fancy chocolate-orange cheesecake..sigh, there just wasn't enough time.
when i gave a little loaf size of this to a very nice Filipina friend (double sigh, she moved to N. Carolina) her Italian-American husband called and sang me an operatic aria. he enjoyed it that much. one of husband's co-workers too claimed it was soothing to her digestive system! at the family party i saw the folks making a beeline to the table when dessert was served...
very easy to make, the ingredients are all readily available in the Asian groceries.
cassava, or yucca, manioc, or mandioca, is a root crop that is peeled and then grated or boiled. my ma planted them in the vacant lot next to our home in Quezon City and the shrubs grew tall: a great place to play "jungle" for us! all about the cassava, a filling starchy snack ingredient in our family's "merienda" repertoire. my lola (grandma) adored it just plain boiled and salted, and sprinkled with freshly grated coconut meat.

preheat oven to 350F.
line a lasagna-size pyrex dish with cleaned banana leaves (thawed if frozen, rinsed and dried) and butter lightly.

mix together 2 packs of thawed frozen grated cassava, or 4 cups freshly grated , 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 cup of canned cream of coconut (coco lopez or other Spanish brand), 1 can of condensed milk (subtract 6 tbsps. for topping), 1 can of coconut milk (subtract 6 tbsps. for topping), 5 eggs, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 jar of drained macapuno strings or a pack of thawed frozen shredded young coconut.

pour mixture into prepared pan.
bake until slightly set about 40 minutes. meanwhile prepare topping: 6 tbsps. of coconut milk, 6 tbsps. of condensed milk, and 2 egg yolks (you may add the egg whites to the cassava batter if you like a firmer texture).
increase heat to 400F and pour topping over the pan. bake until topping is brown and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes more, watching closely so the topping doesn't burn. let cool before cutting into bars.