Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lasang Pinoy*: Polvoron

* "the Filipino taste" - a new foodblogging event
highlighting Filipino food!


(edited to add that I posted a full recipe for polvoron here)

Once in a while I have a Filipino Identity Crisis.

This never happened when I lived in California, particularly while I was in San francisco. Filipino stores! Filipinos, walking the streets! Filipino family potlucks, every other week!

But out here in the Vast Whiteness that is the American Midwest, it might be months before I am face to face with someone else who pronounces pancit correctly and whose first comment on learning my ethnicity is not "I once had a nurse from the Philippines" or "Ha ha - do you have a lot of shoes?" or "Oriental women are very beautiful".

And then, if I start to think about how only an obscene amount of alcohol can get me karaoke, and about how I actually have to look up the recipe for chicken adobo, and worst of all, my shameful Tagalog illiteracy, I succumb to an ethncity panic attack.

Am I Filipino enough?

The cure: Go back home to California. Eat lumpia. Stock up at the Filipino store.

The next best cure: Make polvoron.

Polvoron is unlike any other dessert that I know of: a fragile cake of sweet, buttery powder. How polvoron was invented, I don't know; I suspect it was a way to use up the huge amounts of powdered milk that was brought in during the American occupation.

But what I like about polvoron is that much like making lumpia, making polvoron can be a group activity. Picture it: my mom standing over a large wok, efficiently forming firm little cakes, and me and my siblings wrapping them in tissue paper squares and stacking them into a box.

I'm able to make polvoron on my own because it's such a simple process.

Step one: Toast the flour in a skillet until light brown.



Step two: Mix in sugar, powdered milk (infant formula, oddly enough, works too) and melted butter until it has about the consistency of damp sand. Some recipes suggest lemon extract or vanilla extract, or toasted rice, or other such additions, but I'm a purist.

Step three: Shape them into compact bite-size cakes using a polvoron shaper. A tiny ice cream scoop, which we normally use for chocolate truffles, also worked.



Step four: Wrap them in tissue paper.


A little taste of Filipino-ness ...

19 comments:

  1. Daniel (Filipino from SF Bay Area)4:52 PM

    Yo foodgoat! I like your blog about Polvoron - my favorite Filipino treat! I found your blog searching for Polvoron on Google. I need to make some now. Cool. Thanks for the recipe.

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  3. Melvin4:51 PM

    Thats it? Holy Crap I thought it was some kinda ritualistic procedure to make that stuff. Now all you have to do is post how to make Cookies and cream flavored Polvoron and you might just put Goldilocks out of business since its so simple to make.

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  4. I love your polvoron recipe! It reminds me when I used to make them as a kid. The molds are a little hard to come across though. If you ever need a place to buy them, you can always go to the artisan applications estore.

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  5. When I was a child in Guam, I was taught to make these using non-dairy creamer (remember Pream?)and butter and maybe a teence of regular sugar. So good. Miss them.

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  6. Oh wow, I just had polvoron for the first time today and got online to learn more about it. From the way it taste, I would've thought it was some super complicated recipe but you make it look very simple. I will definitely try to make some.

    Thanks!

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  7. Anonymous1:49 PM

    I found your blog from a google search for Polvoron. It was one of my favorite treats when I lived in the Philippines. Ube polvoron was the best!

    Thanks for the recipe, I am excited to try it out.

    Celestial *Starr

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  8. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Polvoron is my favorite treat from the PI... I only wish they had it available where I live too. Oh how I miss SF =)

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  9. Anonymous10:26 PM

    Great answer to my reminiscing polvoron from Cebu with toasted peanut. Thank you wonderful chef.

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  10. anyone knows how HOP (house of polvoron) makes their polvoron? its just so good. in my opinion, theirs is better than red ribbon or goldilocks back in manila.

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  11. Thank you very much for the polvoron recipe. This is one of our favorites and I'm always skeptical on buying food @ the store bec. I don't see how clean they make it...it's so scary. now I can make it myself and enjoy wit hout thinking how they make it...thanks again....Tess

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  12. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Hi, here in Seville, Spain, they say that polvorón is a traditional Sevillian sweet, along with mantecados. Either way, I think they're disgusting. If I want to eat fatty dust, I empty my vacuum bag and rub it into lard. Yerk!!!!
    Saludos,
    Persimmon Groater

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  13. Anonymous10:11 PM

    The polvorón is a Spanish sweet. It originates from Seville and it was influenced by the Arab cuisine. In Spain it's a specialty that is typical for the christmas holidays.

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  14. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Hi,
    To Filipinos, Polvoron is part of the Spanish influence (400 yrs under Spain). Hence many of our cuisine are influenced by Spaniards, Chinese & American (of late).

    It's winter time here in Australia and talking about 'comfort' food, I made Polvoron, reminds me of the good old Pinoy childhood days when polvorons were wrapped with the colorful papel de japon.:)

    Cheers...

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  15. I MADE NA POLVORON YESTERDAY ? IT WAS AWESUME
    THAT MY CHILDHOOD YRS , UR COMING BACK &
    BILI SA TABI NG MALIIT NA TINAHAN SA TAPAT
    NG KALYE DUON EH ! AT HETO 2DAY NA MEDYO
    AKO AY NAGPAPAK NG POLVORON EH ! (^_^)

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  16. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Googling for this recipe, I found you:) Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. The senses, especially food, bring back memories of childhood. I found a Filipino store in Milpitas that sold Ube Polveron on Sunday...and here I am looking for the recipe.
    Come back to California!!!!

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  19. Great recipe. Will try this one of these days.

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