It's as good a weekend as any, just chillin', killing Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty, and having lots of pie. We're sampling two classic Filipino pies:
The bright green pie is "buko pandan." Buko is coconut, and pandan is a long and slender leaf used in Asian cooking. As Canadians have various words to describe snow, Filipinos have many words to describe coconut.
Buko is the general name for coconut, but more specifically it is fresh coconut meat from green coconuts. When you chop the top off this kind of coconut you can slip a straw in and drink a lot of refreshing coconut water. After which, you can crack the coconut open and eat the soft white meat.
Niyog is from more mature coconuts. I'm tempted to say ripened, but they're not fruits so they pretty much just dry up. Niyog is where you get coconut milk from, which is used in many Filipino dishes, as well as Thai curries. This is also the type of coconut that shows up in your local grocery's baking isle. This coconut has but little juice left, and the meat is dryer. It's commonly grated or shredded, and coconut milk is squeezed out of the shredded meat. Note the distinction between coconut juice or water and coconut milk. Watch a video: http://bit.ly/2CGdQ0
Pandan doesn't normally make dishes look neon green. This pie uses pandan extract, as we're too far from the tropics to do fresh pandan justice.
The purple pie is "ube macapuno." Ube is purple yam (pronounced ooo-beh), a staple of many Filipino desserts, from cakes to ice cream. I'm not quite sure how to describe ube's taste, but it's yummy. Macapuno is yet another coconut variant. It's made of young coconut strips cooked in sugar and water, producing a thick syrupy concoction. Real macapuno comes from "mutant coconut" bred by the Philippine Coconut Authority, which yields more of the soft flesh required for macapuno's production.
Both pies were really good but the buko pandan pie would have to be our favourite. They are a little dry and though stored in the fridge are best served at room temperature. I can say that buko pie from Laguna, just south of Manila is the best I've tasted, though living in Toronto, this pie is a good fix. Buko pie, legend has it, was invented by an old American woman in Laguna during the American occupation coz she couldn't find enough apples around. I miss the Laguna pie's soft pliable crust, and big chunks of coconut meat packed in a sweet gooey filling. Yumm!