There are a lot of food that I associate with Christmas. Bibingka is one of them. These are rice cakes usually sold outside chuches during the nine day series of early morning mass called “Simbang Gabi”. These however are not solely available during Christmas. You can get these anytime throughout the year. In fact it is also a popular mid-afternoon snack.
I remember having this for merienda as child in our hometown of Navotas. We would always get it from “Aling Geneng” who not only makes the best “bibingka” in my opinion but “kutsinta” as well. They are traditionally cooked on clay pots lined with banana leaves then baked by charcoals placed above and below it. The use of charcoal in making bibingka is what gives it it’s distinct smoky flavor.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the equipment to make bibingka this way. I made these rice cakes using an oven.
To make, clean and wipe your banana leaves before passing it over the flame of your gas burner to make leaves pliable. Then cut it into roughly 6 inch circles and place these into your tin molds. You can use ensaimada or brioche pans.
In a bowl place 2 cups rice flour, 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt. In a separate bowl combine 2 eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 14 oz. can coconut milk. Slowly pour your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour batter into individual molds until 3/4 full. Bake in a 375F pre-heated oven until tops are brown about 25 minutes.
Remove from mold, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and grated cheese on top. Traditionally this is served with grated coconut but this is something that is difficult to find here in our neck of the woods so I omitted.