bibingka

“Just eat it, otherwise they’ll feel bad.”

That’s what a nun told me when I was offered some bibingka. I was about 8 years old. And that phrase stuck with me all these years whenever I see or think of bibingka. Even though I no longer have an aversion to it.

I was an altar boy at the time and was caroling the day after Christmas with a group of other nuns and altar boys. We were caroling around my neighborhood and one of the houses let us into their living room and offered us refreshments. I think the nun said that to me because I was standing closest to the bibingka and the other snacks on their coffee table and she wanted me to set an example for the other altar boys that we should accept what people offer to us.

I’m a little foggy in my recollection on whether I actually vomited on their living room carpet or whether I discreetly vomited into a napkin. But I know I did vomit just a little. But, gradually over time, my aversion to bibingka dissipated. The salty and sweet combo was something I strongly disliked as a child. But now, as an adult, it’s exactly the sort of thing I crave at times.

I really crave the sweet saltiness of bibingka and other desserts and snacks. Or is it the salty sweetness? 🙂 Either way, I really dig the juxtaposition of the different topping ingredients that one wouldn’t expect to go so well together, but do. Salted duck eggs with grated cheese and coconut on top of a sweet coconut rice cake wrapped in banana leaves?! Sure!! I’d sing Christmas carols for it as an adult! It doesn’t even have to be Christmas time! Bring me some figgy pudding salty and sweet bibingka!

bibingka 

ingredients

4 cups sweet rice flour Mochiko

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 and 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup margarine or vegan butter, softened

6 eggs

3 cups coconut milk

3 salted duck eggs, sliced

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

banana leaves for lining pans

method

Heat oven to 375 degrees F., or fire up a BBQ or campfire grill. Line 12-14 small 4-inch round cake pans or foil pie pans of similar dimensions and volume with banana leaves. 

Cut banana leaves into circles that are about 2 inches larger in diameter to each pan or container that you will use. Wipe them with a clean damp cloth or paper towel and soften them by heating them over a stove on low heat to make leaves bendable and pliable and fit them into each pan. Set aside.

Add together the Mochiko flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar with the margarine or vegan butter, creaming together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until each egg is incorporated before adding the next egg.

Add the dry flour ingredients incrementally to the creamed margarine/sugar mixture while alternating also adding the coconut milk, until all is mixed together and you have a fairly thin, pourable batter.

Divide batter evenly between all the banana-lined pans.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F. for about 22 to 24 minutes. If using a BBQ grill, simply place on top of the grill and watch closely for similar amount of time until the cake looks to be cooked, depending on how hot the BBQ grill is.

About 10 minutes into baking time, open the oven door and top each bibingka with cheddar cheese, sliced salted duck eggs, and shredded coconut, if using. Continue baking until lightly browned on top. For more browning, turn the broiler on and leave to broil in the oven for a few more minutes, but be careful not to burn the tops. If you do this, use shredded coconut that isn’t sweetened, or just watch it more closely if using store bought sweetened coconut flakes as they tend to get browner and burn more easily.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving, spreading some butter or margarine on top and more toppings, if desired.

2 thoughts on “bibingka

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