Gift-wrapped Filipino candy, called yemas, are lime-scented candy-coated milk balls.
Zester.Daily.com contributors from all over the world introduce you to their best holiday desserts, including: Gift-wrapped Filipino Holiday Candy; Greek Christmas Breads and Butter-Free Cookies; English Christmas Plum Pudding; and Chinese-American Triple Coconut Sorbet (with a surprise kick!).
1. Gift-Wrapped Filipino Holiday Candy: Food and travel writer Robyn Eckhardt and photographer David Hagerman are based in Asia, where they have discovered authentic recipes through firsthand interviews. Robyn writes: "One morning, midway between breakfast and lunch, Damiana, a spry silver-haired woman wearing a shy grin and a turquoise flowered housecoat, stepped through the kitchen door carrying a bowl of strangely soft-shelled fresh eggs and three dalayap (a local lime similar to key limes). It was time to make yemas, candy-coated milk balls scented with lime. Prepared with just four ingredients -- including sweetened condensed milk, which was probably introduced to the Philippines during the post-World War II occupation years - yemas are a favorite Filipino holiday treat."
Filipinos make yemas (top photo) any old time, but especially around local fiestas and holidays like Christmas. They require few ingredients and no special skills, but a bit of time. Wrapped with cellophane in colors of the season, yemas make a festive addition to the holiday table. Use key limes if you can get them, but regular limes will do. Check out David's gorgeous slide show to watch the recipe being made.
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2. Greek Christmas Bread and Butter-Free Cookies
Greek Christmas Cookies
Diane Kochilas, a food columnist and restaurant critic from Greece's largest newspaper, offers two very different choices: an authentic bread recipe, sculpted with symbolic figures, and a pair of butter-free cookies that add charm without the extra calories, such as this one for Syrup-Drenched Christmas Nut-and-Spice Cookies With Olive Oil. Kochilas writes: "Greek Christmas sweets, from holiday breads to shortbread cookies, are rife with the ingredients symbolic of prosperity and hope for the coming year." Check the recipes.
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3. Eliza Acton's Traditional English Christmas Plum Pudding
English Christmas plum pudding watercolor.
British food writer, journalist and broadcaster Elisabeth Luard writes: "Miss Acton recommends this as a remarkably light, small, rich pudding to be boiled in a cloth in traditional style, though, she says, it can also be cooked in a bowl." Check out the recipe.
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4. Chinese-American Triple Coconut Sorbet
Coconut sorbet, a recipe from Carolyn J. Phillips' Chinese-American holiday mealTo keep you in the holiday spirit, Carolyn J. Phillips, who lived in Taiwan for eight years and recently completed a book on regional Chinese recipes, developed this recipe, which promises an extra kick with a Malibu Coconut Rum. Phillips writes: "This was a real winner at my last holiday dinner, as the sweetness is dialed way down while the coconut flavors are ramped up thanks to a triple whammy: coconut milk, coconut rum and flaked coconut. The rum not only boosts the tropical flavors, but the alcohol makes the sorbet easier to scoop after it is frozen by keeping the mixture relatively soft. (If you are serving this to people who can't have alcohol, omit the rum and increase the sugar to ¾ cup; coconut extract can also be added to taste.)"
Triple Coconut Sorbet (Sanye bingsha)
Makes 1 quart
Ingredients1 cup filtered water, divided 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (not coconut cream)* 1 cup wide flaked coconut, preferably unsweetened (I prefer Bob's Red Mill) ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon sea salt ¼ cup Malibu Coconut Rum or another good quality equivalent (no more, or the sorbet won't freeze well)**
Start this recipe anywhere up to 4 days before you wish to serve it.
- Mix ½ cup of the water with the coconut milk and flaked coconut, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, mix the rest of the water and the sugar and salt together in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Pour the sugar water into the coconut milk mixture and stir in the coconut rum.
- Freeze the sorbet in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Store in a freezer-safe covered container. If it is rock hard when you remove it from the freezer, let it soften on the counter before serving.
*For the coconut milk, I use the Thai brand Chaokoh, as it is always reliable and fresh tasting.** Malibu Coconut Rum has the best flavor of any I've tried, and is better than coconut extract.
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