Ricotta Bibingka

published Oct 18, 2021
christmas
Ricotta Bibingka Recipe

These bite-sized ricotta bibingka are extra rich, thanks to evaporated milk, cream cheese, and coconut milk.

Makesabout 48 bibingka

Prep45 minutes

Cook22 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe

Bibingka — traditionally a cake made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and coconut milk — is often known as a Christmas dish, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be an everyday dish. One of the best bibingkas we had was at a pit stop (we sadly can’t remember which one) while we were driving through Iloilo. The vendor had this metallic coal oven on wheels, and you couldn’t get out of your car without the aroma immediately pulling you in her direction.

She happily showed us her contraption, which housed a layer of coal below and above a mouth-watering layer of the most perfectly golden mini bibingkas we’d ever seen. The burning coals below cooked the bibingka on the inside, and the coals above charred the top of the cakes and just enough of the banana leaves so that the smell could travel a mile long. Once again, a light bulb hit us: We were already picturing ourselves eating this dish on a not-so-grassy knoll (there isn’t really grass in the Philippines) with the rest of our kamayan meal. 

Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe
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For this particular recipe, we wanted to make it a bit more decadent — a bit more American — so we created bite-sized portions for easy sharing (and for sneaking pieces all day long). This recipe isn’t as easy to cook outside on a grill as our vendor friend made it look, so we baked ours in the oven.

The dish incorporates so many of the push-and-pull flavors that we love as Filipinos: It has sweetness from the coconut milk and sugar, and saltiness from the cured duck egg (which is optional but so good!). It’s light but spongy and rich from the ricotta and cream cheese, but also not too filling (if you don’t eat 10 of them!). And of course, the banana leaves give it the perfect amount of aromatics that will make everyone run into the kitchen immediately. It’s easy to eat as a kamayan dish, but there’s absolutely no reason this shouldn’t be a “just because” dish either.

Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe

Ricotta Bibingka Recipe

These bite-sized ricotta bibingka are extra rich, thanks to evaporated milk, cream cheese, and coconut milk.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 22 minutes

Makes about 48 bibingka

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup

    whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably Calabro

  • 1 teaspoon

    buttermilk (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    lemon juice (optional)

  • 2 ounces

    cream cheese (optional)

  • 3/4 cup

    rice flour

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • Pinch

    kosher salt

  • 1

    whole salted duck egg (optional)

  • 2

    large eggs

  • Cooking spray

  • 2

    fresh or thawed frozen banana leaves

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup

    canned unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3 tablespoons

    evaporated milk or whole milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    coarse sugar, such as sugar in the raw

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    flaky salt

Instructions

  1. Place 3 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a stand mixer. Place 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon buttermilk, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice if using in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place 2 ounces cream cheese on the counter if using. Let everything sit at room temperature until the butter is softened.

  2. Meanwhile, place 3/4 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Peel and cut 1 salted duck egg into about 1/3-inch pieces if using. Crack 2 large eggs into a medium bowl.

  3. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.

  4. Meanwhile, coat the wells of a 24-well mini-muffin pan with cooking spray. Cut 2 banana leaves into 1-inch wide strips, then cut the stripes crosswise into 4-inch long pieces. If desired, place the strips on a baking sheet and lightly torch to release the oils, or slowly fan each strip over the stove flame for a few seconds instead (this step is optional). Press 1 strip across the bottom and up the sides of each muffin well to form a “U’ shape. Trim off any part of the leaf that extends more than 1-inch past the top of the well. Coat the wells again with cooking spray.

  5. Beat the butter with the paddle attachment, starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high speed, until pale and glossy. With the mixer still running, gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium. Pour in the eggs and beat until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

  6. Reduce the speed to low. Pour in 3/4 cup coconut milk and 3 tablespoons evaporated or whole milk. Beat, slowly increasing the speed to medium, until a curdled, fluffy batter forms, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixture on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

  7. Fill each muffin well with 1 tablespoon of the batter. Bake until starting to puff, about 3 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven. Drop 1 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture, 1/4 teaspoon of the cream cheese if using, and 1 piece of the salted egg if using into the center of each muffin well and gently press them in. Sprinkle each well lightly with some of the flaky salt (skip this if making just ricotta bibingka) and coarse sugar.

  8. Return the pan to the oven and bake until puffed and set, about 8 minutes more. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  9. Remove the tin from the oven. Brush the tops of the bibingka with the melted butter. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Repeat assembling and baking the remaining batter (stir before using) in a cooled tin (no need to wash). Remove the banana leaf before eating.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat covered with a damp paper towel in the microwave.