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AMERICAN INFLUENCES IN FILIPINO BAKING

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We all know that the Philippines has been conquered a few times by many different cultures, and with each invasion, these different cultures have left their mark on us. Not only do we have mixed heritage citizens like Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Chinese, Filipino-Spanish individuals, but we can also see these influences in the food that we serve and eat. We have many food hybrids that can be easily called a fusion of local and international cuisine.

The same goes for our baked goodies. A lot of the things that you can see being served in bakeries and bakeshops all over the country have some influence gained from these conquerors, and we all enjoy these hybrid goodies every day. What are these bakery favorites that show such culture mixtures?

Sliced bread – also called “tasty” by many, sliced loaves of bread is one of the favorites of Filipinos, primarily because you can eat this with just about anything. You can make it into toast, you can make sandwiches out of these, and you can even use this to make croutons and bread pudding. This kind of bread can be made using white flour, however with people becoming more conscious about their health, variations that are considered healthier, like whole wheat and multi-grain.

Dinner rolls – these are also American influenced breads that you can see in many different forms in the Philippines. One of the variants you may have seen in many bakeshops and bakeries is the pan de leche, or in English, milk bread. Pan de sal can also be considered a type of dinner roll, particularly because of the evolved version which is softer than the original de sal of old. These breads are also somewhat sweet, which is also how American dinner rolls taste as well.

Pies and tarts – Filipinos have their own variations of the American pie, and these are made with a similar flaky crust but with fillings that are very local. Fillings like coconut (buko pie), pineapple, and egg custard, are some of the favorites of the local populace. When it comes to tarts, you will notice that most of the fillings are made out of nuts. Pili nut, cashew nut, and even peanuts are used to create sweet and sticky fillings for these American inspired mini pastries.

Puto cheese – these are actually the local version of cupcakes, and are made out of rice flour, although a few are already made out of all-purpose flour. Unlike cupcakes though, these mini cakes are steamed instead of baked, making these lighter and fluffier than traditional cupcakes.

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