My mom’s ninang is an amazing baker. She makes the best puto maya I’ve ever tasted. It’s basically sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf topped with shredded coconut and muscovado sugar. Admittedly, what I look forward to isn’t really the puto maya itself, but the toppings. There’s something about muscovado sugar (unrefined brown sugar with a strong flavor akin to molasses) that gets me riled up in a good way. The sensation of biting into these large clumps of sugar, melting in your mouth spreading the strong, almost overpowering sweetness, is priceless. So when puto maya isn’t available, I might as well wolf down a heaping tablespoon of muscovado and it’s Christmas day in my head
Yesterday, I was pretty beat up after making those cupcakes. I have yet to fill all 54 pieces with crushed peaches. I told myself that I really have to make something easy today, or else I’ll crash and burn.
So what could be more easy than simple syrup? Coconut syrup to be exact. What makes this recipe simple is that I used coconut milk in a tetra pack, eliminating the need to go to your neighborhood vegetable stand and buy coconut shreds. I could have just easily bragged that I went the extra mile and extracted coconut milk from scratch but no, I was pretty lazy today.
But I wasn’t too lazy to the point that I didn’t look for something to pour the syrup over. Bananas were the obvious choice because Sareala (banana slices cooked in coconut milk and muscovado) is also something common in our household. Pretty obvious but the combination lacked ‘oomph’. Pancakes? Buttermilk pancakes? Now you’re talking.
I’ve been meaning to post my recipe for buttermilk pancakes for a while now. Today I hit two birds with one stone. These pancakes aren’t too sweet, which we like. This makes for a really great easy afternoon snack.
Buttermilk Pancakes (makes around eight 4 inch pancakes) adapted from Joy of Baking
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (in a pinch: 1 cup milk and ½ tablespoon vinegar)
- 1 egg
- ¼ – ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 – 3 tablespoons melted butter plus more for greasing the pan.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add the sugar and melted butter. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
- Add the egg-milk mixture into the flour mixture by making a well at the center of the bowl. Whisk together until the batter is mixed well but STILL SLIGHTLY LUMPY.
- Grease a nonstick pan with the melted butter over medium heat. Gently ladle batter (around 60 ml or ¼ cup) into the pan. When the surface starts to bubble, after 2 – 3 minutes, gently turn the pancake over. Cook the remaining side until lightly browned, around 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve with the coconut syrup.
- 200 ml coconut milk (around 3/4ths cup give or take)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water
- In a small pot, combine everything except cornstarch.
- Heat over medium flame until it bubbles.
- Add the cornstarch and regularly stir to prevent the liquid from burning.
- Adjust sweetness to your liking. When thick and slightly reduced, remove from heat and drizzle over pancakes.
But don’t jump for joy too much though. There’s so much going on in this world that tragedy really sobers us up. It may bring forth so much physical and emotional destruction, but in the wake of all of mayhem, the goodness of people also shines.