We have spent 5 Christmases as an expat family here in Dubai. It is during this season that we get homesick with all the festivities happening in the city and back home. The last time my mom, siblings and I celebrated Christmas together was 2006.
Today, December 16 marks the first day of Simbang Gabi (Misa de Gallo) which marks the official countdown for the grand Christmas feast. Although simbang gabi literally means night mass, Filipino Catholics wake up early morning (5 am) for nine consecutive days to join the celebration of dawn mass. It is also believed that when you complete nine dawn mass, your wish will come true.
Vendor’s selling roasted chestnuts, puto bungbong, bibingka, suman, and sikwate (hot chocolate) await’s church goers after mass. All these kakanin (Filipino desserts) is sometimes available in Asian stores and Filipino restaurants but nothing beats the smell and the anticipation while you wait for your turn to finally have a bite of freshly baked bibingka paired with hot chocolate. The perfect breakfast before you start the busy day ahead.
I am celebrating my birthday today with bibingka and hot chocolate.
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for toppings
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1/3 cup melted butter, plus more to brush cakes
- 1 piece salted duck egg, sliced (optional)
- sliced cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1 tbsp grated coconut
- banana leaves, cut to circles depending on the size of pans
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
- Thoroughly wash banana leaves with soap and water. Pat dry with towel. Heat leaves in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Cut into 6″ circles, adjust size base on the pans/ramekins you are using.
- Line individual cake tins/ramekins with banana leaves.
- Sift together rice flour, glutinous rice flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
- Beat eggs and sugar in low speed for about two minutes. Add melted butter.
- Combine coconut milk and cream.
- Alternately add flour mixture and coconut mix. Mix just until everything is incorporated.
- Divide batter equally in cake tins.
- Lay 1-2 pieces of sliced salted duck eggs or cheddar cheese on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the middle to check that cake is cooked.
- Turn oven broiler on to 130 C and cook cake for 5-10 minutes. Check cakes closely till you reached the roasted top you prefer.
- Brush bibingka with butter and sprinkle sugar. Serve warm with shredded coconut on the side.
This post has been written as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs ‘Christmas In Different Lands‘ series. Each day of December up until the 25th a different blogger around the world will share a part of their family Christmas.