Pear and Rhum Pound Cake

You’ve seen the pan, now here’s the cake…ta-dah!

Did you notice the cake is lopsided?  You wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t say a word, right?  Not so bad.  The cake was great whichever pan you used.  Can’t really go wrong with a combination of pear and rhum.

This recipe is based on a  Pear and Grappa Pound Cake again found in my current favorite, “The Soprano Family Cookbook” by Allen Rucker and Michele Scicolone.  The cake was mentioned by Meadow Soprano in The Sopranos Episode 59 of Season 5.  In this episode, she bakes that cake for her grandfather’s birthday party.

This cake is highly recommended.  Try it sometime.  It has a lovely combination of flavors, is very easy to make and is pretty much full-proof baking, even for higher altitudes. Continue reading “Pear and Rhum Pound Cake”

Bibingkang Galapong

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It’s Christmas everywhere and in the Philippines no other treat says Christmas more than this rice cake.  It’s available year round in most places.  During the Christmas season, churches everywhere will have vendors setting up shop in the wee hours of the morning.  These vendors will be selling  bibingka or puto bumbong and cooking them right in their stalls.  The Catholic faithful who hear the early morning novena mass before Christmas all flock to these stalls for their bibingka.  It makes a perfect breakfast with your coffee or hot cocoa.

The best way to cook these cakes is in shallow pans made of clay  lined with banana leaves set up over hot coals with more live coals on a movable tin cover to cook the top.  My version is oven-baked for convenience.  This was my first time to make this and I was not all that impressed by how it turned out.  When I took it to my mom’s for merienda however, they all liked it.  Youngest Sister even said the only thing missing was the distinct smell when you cook something over live coals….something we always called “charcoal smell.”

The toppings may not be readily available.  The salted duck’s eggs can be homemade but it will take a couple of weeks to cure.  The Filipino quesong puti is similar to the Mexican queso fresco or queso blanco.  The Philippine version uses carabao’s milk and thus,  richer.  As for the coconut milk, there’s nothing like fresh since it has a natural sweetness you can’t get from canned coconut milk.  If you are in a pinch, use cow’s milk or the canned/powdered coconut milk. Continue reading “Bibingkang Galapong”