It’s a buko pie that may not be for everyone but one thing’s for sure: it tastes better when eaten out of hand.
Of the 100+ home bakers that I’ve featured on Dessert Comes First, I’ll admit that there are some who I keep an eye on. I’m always waiting, ever watchful for new products that stem from their genius.
Gail Ang of Simply Pies! (yes, exclamation point hers) is one of those bakers. Someone who’s become my friend, she was one of my celebrated home bakers at DCF’s 6th Anniversary Party. It’s been a couple of years since I last tasted her pies and quiches – miniature in portion, but large in pleasure, and her newest pie has been worth the wait.
Its 9-inch girth is a departure from her previous pies’ proportions and so is the contents it carries: buko (young coconut; also buco). Simpler and more straightforward than her other fancier fillings of Chicken Dijon and Nata Lychee, Gail’s Buko Pie is her response to the clamor for it at the Salcedo Market where she’s been a purveyor for the past two years. “People would see my signboard and ask for buko pie,” Gail relates. “So I thought of answering the demand [for it].”
While a classic compels, making it one’s own requires thought. Wanting to deviate from commercial pies with tough meat swimming in a filling bound with cornstarch, Gail’s pie allows the buko’s flavor to shine through. What arrests my attention immediately is the topping: a macaroon cover enriched with butter, its nubbiness is highlighted by its two-tone finish – stunning shades in mottled gold and amber. Texturally interesting and only slightly sticky, its short shreds of coconut reflect the slicker, more tender “malakanin” coconut meat below. Bathed in coconut cream and heavy cream, it’s lightened by buko juice, flavors perked up with just a smidgen of sugar. Naturally, a pie isn’t one if it doesn’t possess a crust of sorts, and so this buko pie is, enclosed in a sturdy but simultaneously flaky crust that insists on crumbling as I slice into it. Cut into uneven wedges, it seems right to eat this pie out of hand.
For those who consider rusticity the chief virtue of buko pie, this version may disappoint. There are some self-proclaimed “traditionalists” whom I share this pie with and after one bite, confess to wanting something simpler. “There’s too much going on,” they reason. “It’s too sophisticated.” I shrug and speculate on that as I savor my second slice. Perhaps my traditionalists would prefer Gail’s other buko pie, one made with a slightly sweeter butter crust “… for those who like the simpler classic but high quality buko pie,” says Gail. Soon to come also is her buko pie scattered with a cheese crumble.
Buko Pie by Gail Ang of Simply Pies!
9-inch pie only, P450
Simply Pie! on Facebook.