CHEF Gene Gonzalez’s latest cookbook, Modern Philippine Confections: Tropical Island Flavors and Treats, shares a number of recipes of delightful Philippine confections. One of them happens to be Chocolate Malo, which guests got to sample during the recent book launch held at Café Ysabel.
1/4 cup powdered gelatin
2-1/3 cups water
2-1/3 cups sugar
2 Tbsps. chocolate flavor concentrate
cocoa powder for dusting
1. In a mixing bowl, combine powdered gelatin and one-third of the water. Set aside. This will allow the gelatin to bloom.
2. In a saucepan, mix chocolate flavor concentrate, sugar and remaining water. Bring to a boil and let the temperature of the mixture reach 220˚F.
3. Switch on electric mixer. Using paddle attachment, gently pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture until mixed thoroughly.
4. Once the sugar mixture and gelatin mixture are completely combined, change to wire whisk attachment and whisk at high speed for 10 to 15 minutes. When the mixture is fluffy, add food color, salt and chocolate flavor. Whisk until light and fluffy.
5. Dust with sifted cocoa powder.
CHEF Gene Gonzalez, easily one of the country’s most accomplished chefs, recently launched two exciting cookbooks—Modern Philippine Confections: Tropical Island Flavors and Treats; and Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More—in the new location of his restaurant, Café Ysabel, along M. Paterno St. in San Juan.
Chef Gene Gonzalez in front of the new Cafe Ysabel along M. Paterno St., San Juan
Authored by Chef Gene, Modern Philippine Confections is a collection of 60 recipes representing Chef Gene’s interpretations of favorite international confections. These include French macarons, chocolates and marshmallows. Chef Gene gave them tropical island flavors, ube (purple yam), langka (jackfruit), calamansi and sampaguita.
Especial Pan De Sal de Baliwag
Crispy-Crusty Pan De Sal
The other book, Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More, is a collection of recipes by the late Efren Bunquin. Most of the recipes in the book came from Bunquin’s Golden Treasury of Baking, which was first published in 1963. The others were sourced from research work done by Chef Gene on Bunquin. Chef Gene got interested in Bunquin four years ago when he met Raymond Bunquin, Efren Bunquin’s son, in an event he attended. They got to talk, the younger Bunquin told him about his late father’s cookbook and promised to send him a copy. When Chef Gene finally received the copy, he flipped through its pages right away, and what he found was a treasure trove of precious recipes that he thought should be shared. So, he talked to his publisher, Anvil Publishing, and asked if it would print the cookbook if he kitchen-tested the recipes and wrote annotations on each. He got an affirmative answer and started kitchen-testing some 400 recipes with Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) students. He wrote annotations on each kitchen-tested recipe and put them together in a cookbook which became Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More. Recipes include Especial Pan De Sal de Baliwag, Beautiful Babka and Crispy-Crusty Pan De Sal.
Samples of recipes from both books were prepared by Café Ysabel and CACS students for the book launch, so guests had their fill for their afternoon snacks.
Both books are published by Anvil Publishing and are available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks branches at Php195 for Modern Philippine Confections and Php525 for Breads, Cakes, Pastries, and More.
CHOCOLATE! Who does not like it? We just differ in the way we like our chocolate. Some like it dark, others prefer milk chocolate, and then there are those who enjoy white chocolate the most. But no matter how you like your chocolate, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Chocolate Symphony at Café Pronto is sure to please.
Perfect partners for Café Pronto’s vibrant selection of coffee, tea and smoothies is a cacophony of choice chocolate treats crafted by the coffee shop’s dessert makers.
Salted Caramel Dome
Café Pronto offers a medley of desserts to please even the most discriminating palates. The Salted Caramel Dome, Chocolate Amara Tart, Fruity Nutty, and Mini Hazelnut Caramel are three of the ultimate chocolate lover’s fantasy come true this whole month of July (201.
Then there is Chocolate Truffle Crème Brûlée, which features melt-in-your-mouth brownie chunks in a silky smooth blend of crème brûlée and chocolate truffle ganache.
Star of the chocolate show is Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s signature creation, Chocolate Haven. This dessert has three textures of succulent dark chocolate flavors in its sponge, mousse and glaze. Enjoy a slice of special crème brûlée layer to complement the deep cocoa flavor. You just cannot help but give in to sweet surrender.
Café Pronto is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It also serves a variety of freshly-made pastries, breads, gourmet sandwiches and savory delights.
(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire St., Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number 720-7777.)
WE all love pastillas. It is that chewy milk-based local confection that is cooked in huge vats by continuous mixing until the mixture is thick. Afterwards, while the pastillas mixture cools down, bite-sized pieces are hand-rolled into short logs, coated with sugar and then wrapped in Japanese paper or cellophane.
The confection is generally called pastillas de leche because it is made mainly with milk (leche). But it comes in different flavors, such as pastillas de ube (purple yam) and pastillas de langka (jackfruit), as well as in different forms, including a hard pastillas that is sliced and wrapped.
Halaya, meanwhile, is a local delicacy or dessert made by boiling a root crop like ube, peeling it and mashing the ‘meat’ and cooking it with milk and sugar much in the same way that pastillas is prepared—except that the halaya stays mousse- or jam-like. The most popular form of halaya is halayang ube, and it goes by the names halaya, haleya and halea, taking after the Spanish word jalea, which means jam.
But have you ever tasted halaya de pastillas? Small jars of it was given away as souvenirs during the opening lunch of Diamond Hotel Philippines’ recent Filipino Culinary Pride food festival held at Corniche. Featured chefs were Chefs Sau del Rosario and Miko Aspiras. Proudly Kapampangan, Chef Sau helped put together the edible souvenirs made using the heirloom recipe of the Carreon family of Pampanga and goes very well with bread.
Exactly what is it? Halaya de Pastillas is a delicacy made from fresh carabao’s milk that is prized for its distinct sweet taste and rich texture.
Chef Sau del Rosario’s Lechon Roll or Porchetta with Malagos Chevre and Cocoa (above) and Chef Miko Aspiras’ Cherry (below)
HOW often do you see two Filipino celebrity chefs like Chef Sau del Rosario and Chef Miko Aspiras pair up in a Filipino food festival? Not too often because, most of the time, one of them is enough to fill a whole restaurant for lunch or dinner buffet. So, in the very few occasions when they collaborate in the kitchen to come up with a very impressive savory and dessert spread, diners really come to partake of the feast and totally indulge in good food.
Chefs Sau del Rosario (left) and Miko Aspiras (right)
Well, there is still time to head off to Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche, where the Filipino Culinary Pride food festival is ongoing until July 1, 2018. Chef Sau del Rosario, who owns and runs Café Fleur and 25 Seeds in Pampanga, takes care of the savory dishes, and his spread spans the entire buffet from appetizers, soups and salads to hot dishes and carvings. Chef Miko Aspiras, who is behind Le Petit Soufflé and Scout’s Honor, among others, lays out an awesome daily spread of innovative cakes, mousses, pastries and desserts.
Salted Eggyolk Prawn Rebosado
Crispy Pork Kare-Kare Macadamia
Porchetta Stuffed with Malagos Chevre and Cocoa
Duck Adobo Confit
Chef Sau offers his usual unique Filipino dishes, most of which are classic Filipino dishes given a contemporary twist and modern presentation. Consider this list of items on his menu cycle—Tamales Pampangueña (chicken, salted egg, chorizo, annatto and coconut cream in, no, not wrapped in banana leaves but attractively presented in mousse form with plenty of toppings in glasses); Chicken Galantina Roulade (no, not the usual whole deboned and stuffed chicken but in roulade form); Sinigang Flan (not the soup that we know but in a savory gelatin appetizer); Paku with Kesong Puti and Watermelon (with watermelon replacing the usual tomato to go with the crunchy forest fern); Salted Eggyolk Prawn Rebosado (which proves that the salted egg trend has not gone away); Crispy Pork Kare-Kare Macadamia (a gourmet twist on the traditional kare-kare); Sisig Paella (Chef Sau’s signature dish where he transforms his home province’s famous sisig into a paella); Bringhe (the Kapampangans’ answer to Spanish paella); Salmon Salt Crusted with Calamansi and Coconut (a special treat on the carving station for fish lovers); and Lechon Roll or Porchetta Stuffed with Malagos Chèvre and Cocoa (yes, that’s goat cheese and chocolate from Davao’s Malagos Farm).
Chef Miko lives up to his reputation as a multi-awarded pastry chef with his dessert spread for the food festival. He has fruit shaped desserts which are actually different types of desserts—Mansanas (dulcey-cinnamon mousse and Granny Smith apple compote dipped in a red glaze with chocolate leaf and twigs décor); Dayap (coconut mousse with dayap curd dipped in praline cocos); Mangga (mango mousse with passion fruit and mango sauce insert, mango coulis dipped in gourmet glaze); and Cherry (layers of chocolate sponge, cherry mousse and cherry Chantilly).
Keso de Bola Mcaron
He also offers Grape Choux (choux pastry filled with blueberry and Mascarpone Chantilly and blueberry compote); Mandarin Cheesecake (Graham cracker base, Mandarin cheesecake with fresh orange segments on top); and Keso de Bola Macaron (French macarons with keso de bola).
Ensaymada with Flambeed Morada and Rosella
Then there is a live station for serving Ensaymada with Flambéed Morada and Rosella, which Chef Miko demonstrated on opening day.
Zero Waste Ice Cream
Centerpiece of Chef Miko’s dessert spread happens to be his Zero Waste Ice Cream. It is interesting because it changes every day, so you always look forward to how it will taste like the next day. The reason for this is that the ice cream incorporates leftover desserts in the kitchen at the end of the day, such as syrups, brownies, cakes, breads and sweets. Chef Miko waits for the leftovers in the hotel’s pastry kitchen at the end of each day before churning out his next batch of Zero Waste Ice Cream.
What’s more: Guests who have a minimum spend of Php5,000 at the Corniche lunch or dinner buffet during the food festival are entitled to a raffle ticket for a chance to win a two-night stay in Baguio.
What’s even more: Guests who spend Php20,000 or more at the Corniche buffet are gifted with a complimentary overnight stay in a Deluxe Room with breakfast for two.
(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila, with telephone number (632) 528-3000.)