Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mini Buko Pies (young coconut)

Mini Buko Pies

I was lucky to have grown up having fresh buko, young coconut, in all its glory when we'd visit the Philippines. Street vendors would roam the streets selling fresh buko and it's juice for less than 10 cents a coconut.

When we visited my Dad's family coconut farm in the Philippines last winter, a brave young boy climbed up the tree in his bare feet, twisted the fruit off by hand and dropped it below for us to catch. He expertly sliced open the coconut with one swoop of a machete! The best part was scrapping out the tender buko meat with our handmade coconut husk spoons.

It was coconut heaven every time we were in Philippines.  It seemed like the past 5 years, the rest of the world also discovered the love for buko and it's nutritiously refreshing water. You can easily find coconut water in grocery and local convenient stores throughout North America.  The difference is it costs about $3-5 a bottle, much more than 10 cents for a fresh buko like it is back in the Philippines.

Coconuts are known to be the "tree of life" as it's valued for it's amazing flavour, nutritious benefits and versatility being a good source of water, meat, milk, and oil.
Did you know: Coconut water from buko is a natural source of electrolytes, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
This recipe is slightly easier than my last buko pie post because it calls for less ingredients to make the dough and it's great to make into smaller individual portions. I actually prefer making the dough by hand, this gives me more control so I don't over work the butter and shortening into the flour ensuring the pastry turns out light and flaky once it's baked! Masarup!

Mini Buko Pies

Buko Custard
Buko Custard:
2 cups young coconut meat (2 x 454g frozen buko packs, defrosted & drained)
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup young coconut water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan over medium heat. Watch carefully, stirring constantly until buko filling has thickened into a custard, about 5 minutes.

Pastry in muffin cups
Buko Pastry:
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening, chilled and diced
1/4 cup butter (1 stick), chilled and diced, plus extra butter to grease muffin tray
3-4 tbsp cold water
1 egg beaten, for egg wash
Optional: palm sugar to sprinkle on top of pastry

1. Mix flour with salt in a large bowl.
2. Cut shortening and butter with a pastry knife or by hand until flour mixture resembles cornmeal texture.
3. Sprinkle cold water on flour mixture until dough starts to form. Gather dough until it cleans the bowl then tip it onto a floured counter top.  Do not handle too much or dough will become tough. Press into a ball then divide into 16 even pieces and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes to allow the gluten in the pastry to relax.
4. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 8 muffin cups with soften butter butter or oil spray.
5. Press each piece of dough into 8 muffin cups, making sure there is a tiny rim of pastry sticking out at the top. Prick small holes at the bottom of pastry with a fork to allow steam to escape.
6. Fill each pastry with buko custard until filling nearly fills the muffin cups.
7. Roll out the other 8 pieces of pastry into a round disk that will fit over the buko pie. Carefully place pastry over each pie and use your fingers or a fork to gently press the top pastry to the bottom pastry until they stick together and no gaps remain. Prick small holes on the top pastry then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with palm sugar.
8. Bake for 40 min, or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 min before serving with cold ube (purple yam) ice cream!

Buko pies topped with egg wash & palm sugar
Baked Buko Pies