by Kiko Matsing
Exotic tropical crop? Check.
Third-World dessert? Check.
Strange gooey texture? Check.
No high fructose corn syrup? Check.
Fair Trade? Maybe.
This simple Filipino dessert is easy to make and is guaranteed to impress the hippie circles in Urbana. Americans are not familiar, though, with the more general term “cassava” so I introduce it as yuca pudding.
You would need two bags of frozen grated cassava from the Filipino (or Asian) store. Let them sit and thaw for an hour. Dump into a mixing bowl. Add one can of coconut milk, a jar of macapuno, and half a can of condensed milk. Macapuno is a gelatinous variety of coconut, cut into strings, and preserved in sugar. It has an awesome English moniker of “gelatinous mutant coconut” and can be purchased in any Filipino (or Asian) store.
Homogenize the “batter” mix with a baking spatula and spread on a baking dish wetted with cooking oil. Place in the oven pre-heated to 350 F for 45 minutes. Take the dish out and glaze the remaining condensed milk on top of the now semi-crusty cake. Bake for another 15 minutes until the glaze turns golden brown. If it does not, turn the oven to broil. You have to watch every minute until the golden brown color appears, otherwise broiling can quickly burn the glaze.
Enjoy the gooey goodness.