Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Filipino Coconut Bibinca

Watching friends ooh and aah over dessert always gives me a warm feeling. Geets and Suju come to visit. We have an annual gathering of old friends. Words fly thick and fast over wine and appetizers. We sit down to dinner recreated from this blog with soba noodles, potatoes, bok choy, pork meatballs and a soon too be posted salmon. Dessert is at Geets request...Filipino bibinca or as we affectionately call it, coconut sport.

My recipe box is filled with hand written gems from the days of yore....days before Apple generated instant gratification, when recipes we found were painstakingly penned in ink. I met Marie Dizon in Shauna's preschool many many moons ago. Eating Filipino bibinca at her house, it was love at first bite. The taste reminds me of the thick gelatinous halvas my grandmother made. Her recipe asked for a few but strange ingredients. I went through hoops searching for them. Having never heard of grated cassava, cream of coconut or tender coconut, I was determined to recreate this unusual yet familiar taste. Marie directed me to the right store and a favorite was born. Slow-baked twenty five years ago, sport keeps popping up every half decade. The once strange cassava and macapuno are now pantry staples. Easy to put together, coconut sport is a rare gem, a mouthful of familiar, reminding me of grandmother's kitchen, swaying palms, hot breezes...precious memories reaching out from the past to giving me an all encompassing hug.

Serves 10-15 

2 1 lb packets of frozen grated Cassava
2 cans Coconut Milk
1 can Cream Of Coconut (Coco Lopez brand-used for pina coladas)
4 tablespoons melted Butter
2 Eggs
1 2/3 cup Sugar
Pinch of Kosher Salt 
1 12 oz jar Macapuno or Tender Coconut in syrup 

Defrost cassava. Scrape into a large bowl.

Heat oven to 300F.

Add coconut milk, cream of coconut, melted butter, eggs, sugar and salt to cassava. Mix well so batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour into a 12x10 inch ovenproof dish. 

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours till sport has set. The center should be jelly like. The edges should be tinged brown.

Remove from oven and cool on rack for 5 minutes.

Spread the contents of the jar over the coconut. Use a spatula to spread tender coconut all over.

Enjoy the bibinca at room temperature. 

DO NOT REFRIGERATE. It keeps on the counter for a few days if it isn't readily consumed by all.

I bring the bibinca to the the table. Twelve ladies make repeated forays into dessert. I am astonished and immensely pleased with the enthusiastic response. We reminisce and recall food memories from our youth. The next day we make further inroads, extolling the virtues of coconut sport. I still cannot recall which childhood dessert it reminds me off. So I am content with the knowledge that it pleases many and my puzzlement over the taste is a laughing matter for good friends.