Someone once asked me “What are the dishes you missed having in the Philippines?” Honestly, I have a long list to show you, and almost all of them are cooked by my mom. My brain is flooded with memories associated with those foods, and I am feeling a little homesick to tell you honestly. I miss how my mom would wake us up on a Sunday with the smell of her delicious “adobo” or “kare-kare.” My brothers and I used to argue about who is the favorite kid, and we would judge that by my mom’s choice of cooking. If she picked spaghetti or pork dishes, then it’s either one of my brother’s day; but If she picked “ginataan bilo-bilo” or any sweet dishes then I get to be the favorite child for the day. I know it must be hard to be a mom deciding what to cook for her family everyday, but my brothers and I never failed to appreciate her cooking, and I miss her so much wishing she and I could cook dinner together later.
What I love about my mom’s cooking is that she doesn’t just think about the main course; everything is perfect and well-planned the day before. She would buy dessert from a local market or make it herself, and sometimes she would buy bananas and ripe mangoes. Personally, I have never tasted a better mango since I moved to the US. Philippine mangoes are just the sweetest, in my opinion. So sweet, in fact, I count them as “dessert.” My husband and I just bought a box of ripe mangoes from a Filipino grocery store, and we have been eating them for dessert. I tried making bread pudding and got me thinking “What if I put mangoes in it?” The result is a delicious, refreshing and sweet bread pudding. Try it for yourself, or you can always make this Cinnamon Bread Pudding that I love so much.
- 3 cups cubed (day-old) Italian bread, or two demi baguettes
- 2 ripe Philippine mangoes, sliced, seeded and diced
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- mango slices for toppings (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan or 4 ramekins
- Slice bread into cubes and place into an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine mangoes with the bread, and drizzle melted butter over the the bread and mangoes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread and mangoes, slightly push down with a fork until they are covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped. Remove from the oven.
- Cool after baking, and serve immediately or chill in the fridge for about two hours before serving. Top with mango slices (optional)
- Make sure you buy ripe mangoes or Philippine mangoes, which you can find at Asian grocery stores.