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4 Sweet Asian Noche Buena Favorites

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Come hours after you read this, it’ll be the eve of Christmas – the most awaited celebration in the whole world. Well, for us Filipinos, this marks the eve where everyone is gathered ’round the dining table to share a festive meal. Aside from that, a time where we embrace the essence of the season and create memories together that’ll last forever.

Indeed, merry Christmas everyone. Today, as the hours draw near, I would like to share some sweet Asian noche buena favorites that you might find suitable for tonight’s celebration… and the days that follow. If you want, whip some of these at home and be mesmerized to taste something new.

Again, merry Christmas! Cheers for more fruitful and blessed years ahead.

Leche Flan
This is an inevitable star in the dining table. Be it Christmas or not, we all love to munch on some of these.

Ingredients
9 tablespoons sugar
12 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
vanilla extract
lime zest, optional
1Prepare llanera (ramekins). Place 3 tablespoons sugar on each. Set the llanera over the stove on low heat. Melt the sugar until golden. Remove from the heat and let cool to harden. This now is your caramel.
2In a bowl, combine the yolks, milk, vanilla extract and lime zest – if using. Gently blend not whisk. Pass through a siever, strain the mixture to remove any lumps. Pour strained mixture onto prepared llaneras.
3Cover each llanera with foil and arrange in a wide baking dish with about 1-inch of water (water bath).
4Bake in 375F oven or steamer until done or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5Remove from the oven or steamer. Let cool and refrigerate. To serve, turnover on a serving plate.

Sweet Pancake Roll
For the pancake lover in me, this is a treat I can never say ‘no’ to. Best thing about this? This can be eaten all throughout the day.

For the Filling
1In a pot with tepid water, place chunks of palm sugar and knotted pandan leaves. Slowly bring to a boil and then add freshly grated coconut. Mix well. Continue to stir until almost dry and coconut is moist. Once done, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool.

For the Batter
1In a blender with water, add roughly choppes pandan leaves and liquify. Strain to get the juice.
2In a bowl, put flour and salt. Pour the egg and whisk slowly the coconut milk and pandan juice. Remove lumps and if gets too thick, you can always add water.
3In a non-stick pan, heat a knob of butter and pour some of the batter to make a pancake. Cook and flip until done.
4Place pancake onto plate and laddle a spoonful of the filling. Fold the pancake like a spring roll. Serve hot.

Layered Pandan and Coconut Jelly
You can always  make this more colorful. Add some fruit extracts and viola – your very own rainbow jelly.

For the pandan layer
6 pandan leaves, chopped
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon agar agar powder
2 ½ cup water
200g white sugar
1Make the pandan juice. In a blender, add pandan leaves and 190ml water. Pulse and liquify. Strain through a siever. Set aside.
2In a small wok, place agar agar powder and water. Dissolve completely. Add sugar and cook until dissolves. Do not boil. Add the pandan juice and stir well.
3Remove from heat. Place mixture in a small bow set in a bowl of warm wter. Don’t let the mixture sit for too long or it’ll set completely.

For the coconut-pandan layer
1 tablespoon agar agar powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups coconut cream
5 pandan leaves, cut
½ teaspoon salt
1In a small wok, place agar agar powder. Cook until completely dissolved. Add the sugar, coconut cream, pandan leaves and salt until completely dissolved. Do not boil.
2Strain the pandan leaves and place the mixture in a small bowl over a bowl of warm water.
3While the two batches of layers are still warm, prepare your jelly cups.You can also use a pre-buttered baking dish.
4Place 2 tablespoons of the coconut-pandan layer in the jelly cups. Let the layer almost set. Pour 2 tablespoons of the pandan layer next. Repeat until all cups are full. Set completely.
5To serve, remove the jellies from the cups.

Ube Halaya Ice Cream
Something fresh for the hungry you.

Ingredients
2 cups ube halaya
1 cup macapuno
2 cups all purpose cream
2 cups fresh whole milk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (add more or less depending on how sweet your ube halaya is)
1In a blender, combine all ingredients except the macapuno. Blend until smooth.
2Place mixture in the fridge and let it chill for 2 hours.
3If you have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture according to the the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the macapuno while it’s churning when the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency.
4If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture in a freezer-safe container and freeze — stirring every hour to break up any ice crystals. Add the macapuno when the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency.
5Chill the macapuno in the fridge before adding to your ice cream. Add it to your ice cream when the ice cream is solid.

Disclaimer: Photos not mine — recipes are. 

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