Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bibingka (Filipino Rice Cake)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Bibingka was a nice treat when I was growing up back in Bacolod. They were sold in the market where we go to buy our produce and meats but they are wildly popular during the Christmas season at the early morning masses. The stalls offering various native treats are synonymous with the early morning masses and everyone looks forward to having these treats for breakfast with their morning coffee. 

The rice cakes I grew up with are of the simple variety. However, while I was studying in Manila, I was introduced to a special bibingka with cheese toppings, coconut meat and as a must to vouch for its authenticity, slices of salted duck eggs. The latter are an acquired taste but they are basically duck eggs soaked in brine water for 21 days before they are cooked hard-boiled. The eggs absorb the salt and become mineralized and is quite similar to what a century egg is to Chinese cuisine. The addition of the salted eggs balances the sweetness of the cake which is actually quite nice and gives the cake a complexity when you bite into it. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Traditionally cooked in a banana leaf on a clay pot, I had to make do with parchment paper over a round baking pan. The oven used to bake these cakes are also quite different and is heated using charcoals but a conventional oven will do quite nicely. Salted eggs are quite hard to find but feta cheese or some sharp cheese comes to mind as a good substitute. Seriously, what I would not do for my gluten-free friends. Still, it was a nice trip down memory lane making this treat for them.

Bibingka (Filipino Rice Cake)

1 cup rice flour 
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup grated Grana Padano
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
3 large eggs
1/2 cup young coconut meat, sliced into strings
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and line a 9-inch round cake pan with 
    parchment paper. Grease the paper and set aside.

2. Sift the rice flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. 

3. In your mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the 
    sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time 
    mixing well after each addition. 

4. Decrease the speed to medium low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until 
    just incorporated. 

5. Decrease the speed to low and add the coconut milk. Pour the batter into 
    the cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. 

6. Remove the cake from the oven and top with the cheese and the coconut 
    meat. Return pan to the oven and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes or 
    until the top is golden brown. 

7. Brush with the melted unsalted butter and dust with white sugar. Cool to 
    room temperature.  

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