Thanksgiving week is finally here, and what better way to start it than on a sweet note! I've got one more piece on Thanksgiving in this five-part special series to share with you, and then I'll be on a short break to spend the holiday weekend with my family and friends. Eat, relax, and have fun.
Maybe you can't be bothered with making a pie, or you want the filling but want to avoid the crust. If that's the case, or you simply want to try something new this year, look no further and make this pumpkin bebinca flavored with miso and sweet maple syrup.
A bebinca or bibik is a classic dessert from Goa made from eggs and coconut milk cooked to form a layer cake of sorts (it doesn't have a cakelike texture, it's more like a firm pudding). Each layer is poured, cooked till the top is caramelized, and set before the next layer can be poured. There is a second type of bebinca in Goa called mock bebinca that’s made with potatoes, nutmeg, eggs, and coconut milk. For those who have my first cookbook Season, you will remember the sweet potato bebinca version from the book. What I love about the mock bebinca is that you don’t have to go through the process of pouring layers; it’s just mixed, poured, and baked. The final texture is that of a firm pudding, and in this case, it will remind you of a pie, sans the crust.
Goa was a former Portuguese colony on the West Coast of India, and bebinca is just one of the many foods that originated from the influence of the Portuguese. The Philippines also has bibingka, a cake made from rice and coconut milk, which sounds very similar. From what I’ve read, historians tried to determine if the origins of these two deserts are related, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus. One colony was ruled by the Portuguese and the other by the Spaniards, and the two dishes are quite different except in their use of eggs and coconut milk. While scholars debate on the relationship between these two similar-sounding dishes, I h
I grew up eating bebinca for Christmas and Easter (and whenever I visit Goa, I bring back a box or two of Costaz with me); I’ve started to make the sweet potato and pumpkin mock bebincas for Thanksgiving. Bebinca can be sliced easily, and it will hold its shape well, and there’s no need to go through the process of making a pie crust that often makes it all the more alluring. The sweet potato bebinca from Season was so popular, and so many of you still make it and share photos with me, so I wanted to wait for some time before I share the pumpkin edition of this beloved dessert. Four years later, and it’s time for the pumpkin miso bebinca. This one’s got miso that heightens the pumpkin and the flavors of the spices, and I warn you one slice won’t be enough.
Pumpkin Miso Bebinca
Tip: Make this 2 to 3 days ahead of time.
The Cook’s Notes
You can use canned pumpkin or roasted pumpkin (this is how I roast my pumpkin, remember to purée it really well in a food processor or high speed blender)
Use white or yellow miso here, the red variety will be too salty for this application.
Don’t add salt, the miso provides plenty.
The grade of maple syrup won’t make that much of a difference here, use what you can find easily. When measuring maple syrup, I like to grease the inside of the measuring cup with a little neutral vegetable oil (a can of spray oil is fantastic for this), the liquid flows out easily.
This is the baking pan I use, it’s superb for all sheet/tray bakes.
Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch/23cm by 33cm/ 8 to 12 servings
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp/85g unsalted butter, melted plus a little extra to grease the pan
One 15oz/425g can pumpkin purée
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup/200g packed light brown sugar
¼ cup/60ml maple syrup
2 Tbsp white or yellow miso paste
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground green cardamom
One 13 ½ oz/400ml can full-fat coconut milk
1 cup/140g all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
Grease and line a 9 inch by 13 inch/23cm by 33cm rectangular baking pan with a little butter and parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, miso, cinnamon, and cardamom until smooth and there are no lumps present. You can also mix them in a blender or food processor. Whisk in the coconut milk and the flour. Pour the mixture carefully into the greased pan and bake the bebinca in the preheated oven until the edges start to firm up and turn golden brown, the top should be firm to touch but jiggle ever so slightly, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Cut with a sharp serrated knife and serve. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired (just don’t dust the whole thing as confectioners’ sugar is hygroscopic and hyperosmotic, it will pull the liquid out of the bebinca if it sits on it for hours).
Other Sweet Options That I Love and I Think You Will Too:
Daniela Galarza at The Washington Post has a really brilliant idea for individual pies that are made in the form of tassies. This way each person gets what they want.
ICYMI - The Previous Thanksgiving Recipes In This Series.