Here’s another Bicolano special – Pili Nuts! Were quite lucky we got lots and lots of pilinut trees around our house so we get our fill of it without buying it. I think this unique nut is mostly only available in Bicol Region and its quite pricey if you buy by kilograms.
This is the Pili Tree.. bow! lol! My dad likes planting these trees coz its sturdy, provides a lot of shade and it lives for a really really long time even if its constantly battered by tropical typhoons. And of course, we all love the pili nut!
Here’s the pili fruit. At the onset its green, then once it matures it turns into black. Bicolanos usually like eating the fleshy pulp on the pili nut. Just boil water, the drop the pili fruit on it, leave it for a couple of minutes then you’re ready to peel it off. The flesh inside is yummy, nutty, creamy and super soft. Some like eating it with something salty, like fermented small fish (koyog) while I like eating it with sugar, then I stick it in the freezer for a few minutes and voila! pili flesh dessert. Uber yummy!
But then again before I get carried away, this post is about Pilinut Taldis also called Pilinut Molido. This one’s home made, a bit tedious to make. It’s a little like marzipan but I reckon it tastes so much better because this one is mostly made of pili nuts.
After the flesh part of the pili fruit is removed, you are left with the shell which is extremely tough like wood. You then put this under the sun for a couple of days to dry, then the shell is cracked open. This is my favorite part. We usually challenge ourselves who can crack it open without crushing the nuts. Then inside you’ll find what we are after, the pili nut. And of course, nothing goes to waste, the outer shell can be used as a firewood substitute. Cool, right!?
Once you have just enough pili nuts, you then boil water the blanch the nuts again to remove the paper-like brown cover. Then you’ll see the nuts, yummy nuts. Can be eaten as is, and its so yummy, nutty. The taste is like a cross between almonds and macadamia nuts, and its like once you pop you can’t stop feeling everytime. But I do take care coz nuts, esp pilinuts are very high in cholesterol! Wohoo..
Now on to the taldis. The pilinuts are grinded and mixed with condensed milk, sugar, you can add mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes 4-1 ratio coz if its pure pilinuts the taldis will be too soft and hard to cut and crumbly. Before its cooked, flavorings can be added, in our case we added chopped calamansi pulp. Anise, vanilla are also good options. I don’t have the photo of the actual making coz my cousin who makes it, is superstitious. She says if a lot of people keep peeking on the pot, they say the pilinut taldis will not harden. So I was not allowed to snap photos. Who am I to argue when I was so anxious to get my first bite? Lol!
Anyway, everything is placed in a huge wok-like pan. Then on medium heat, and continuous stirring until its boiling. Reminds me of how halayang ube is done. Once the consistency is just right, it was removed from fire, then poured over a flat, clean surface. Then a damp cloth or banana leaves is placed on top then using a rolling pin, the pili taldis mixture was flattened to just the right thickness.
She then let it cool for a while then on to slicing and cutting. Now we have our home made pilinut taldis/molido!
A Food Trip Friday entry.