Maja Blanco (Coconut Cake)


  • 2 cups coconut, finely shredded (see how to use fresh coconut above) fresh, frozen, or canned, tightly packed into the measuring cup
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups coconut milk, fresh, frozen, or canned (unsweetened)
  • 3 eggs
  • Whipped topping for garnish


  1. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites one at a time.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  3. If using freshly grated unsweetened coconut, add about 3 Tablespoons of sugar to taste into a small bowl. No sugar is needed if packaged or canned sweetened coconut is used.
  4. Combine coconut and melted butter or margarine in medium mixing bowl.
  5. Using fingers, press mixture onto the bottom and sides of a pie pan, making a piecrust.
  6. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  7. Put cornstarch and sugar in medium saucepan. Add water and mix well to dissolve cornstarch.
  8. Add coconut milk and egg yolks. Stir constantly over medium to high heat until mixture boils.
  9. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until smooth and thick, about 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and pour mixture into coconut piecrust.
  11. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate for about 3 hours to set.
  12. To serve, cut into wedges and add a scoop of whipped topping on top.
Serves 8.
While Filipinos use limited spices in their cuisine compared to other Asian nations, they love the taste of sour flavors, particularly vinegar. Meats and fish are commonly marinated in palm vinegar, which is half as strong as Western-style vinegar. Vinegar acts to preserve freshness. Since refrigeration is not nationally available, this marinating method, along with drying, salting, and fermenting are techniques used to preserve meats. Instead of adding strong flavors to their cooking, Filipinos use strong-tasting condiments to accompany their food.
The national dish of the Philippines is called adobo . Not only is this a national dish for the Filipinos, but it is also a style of cooking. This Spanish-influenced dish is like a stew, and involves marinating meat or seafood pieces in vinegar and spices, then browning them in their own juices. The sauce in adobo usually contains soy sauce, white vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns (or pepper) and is boiled with the meat. The vinegar preserves the meat, and adobo will keep for four or five days without refrigeration. This is considered an advantage in the tropical heat. Pork adobo is the most popular, for those who can afford it, but any type of meat or seafood can be used.

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