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Halo halo

Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields Serves 12 to 24
Halo halo
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Flan

1

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

2

Make the caramel: Put 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan along with the corn syrup and enough water to give the sugar a “wet sand” consistency. Cook the sugar over high heat until melted and the sugar turns a rich amber color. Remove from heat and pour the caramel into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, tilting until the sugar coats the bottom of the pan evenly. Set aside until the caramel is cooled and set.

3

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, blend together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, remaining ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, yolks and eggs, and lime juice. Pour the mixture over the set caramel.

4

Place the mixture in a larger roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come up the sides of the flan pan by two-thirds. Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven.

5

Bake until the flan is set (it will jiggle when tapped), about 1 hour. Remove the flan pan from the roasting pan and cool the flan on a cooling rack, then refrigerate overnight.

6

Punch out small flan rounds using a greased round cookie cutter to use in the final recipe. This makes about 1 dozen 3-inch rounds, and 2 dozen 2-inch rounds.

Candied kumquats

1

Cut the kumquats crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, removing any seeds from the slices.

2

Blanch the kumquats three times: Place the slices in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, strain and repeat.

3

After the third blanch, place the kumquats back in the pot with the sugar and ¾ cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a fast simmer and continue cooking until the slices are translucent and the liquid becomes a thin syrup. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate the kumquats, in their syrup, until needed.

Passion fruit gelée

1

Spray an 8-inch square baking pan or dish with baking spray and line with plastic wrap. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cool water until softened.

2

Sweeten the passion fruit juice with sugar to taste, adding water if needed to balance the desired flavor. Warm the juice in a small pan over medium heat. Remove the gelatin sheets from the cool water, ringing out any excess water, and stir into the passion fruit juice until dissolved.

3

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut the gelée into 1/4- to 1/2-inch squares.

Coconut gelée

1

Spray an 8-inch square baking pan or dish with baking spray and line with plastic wrap. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cool water until softened.

2

Sweeten the coconut water to taste, adding water if needed to balance the desired flavor. Warm the water in a small pan over medium heat. Remove the gelatin sheets from the cool water, ringing out any excess water, and stir into the passion fruit juice until dissolved.

3

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut the gelée into 1/4- to 1/2-inch squares.

Pineapple granita

1

Sweeten the pineapple juice with sugar to taste, whisking until all of the sugar is dissolved. Place the juice in a baking dish and freeze until completely frozen. To serve, scrape the frozen juice using a fork to create the granita.

Watermelon granita

1

Peel and cut the watermelon into chunks. Blend the watermelon to a purée, sweetening as desired with sugar. Strain the purée and place in a baking dish, freezing until completely frozen. To serve, scrape the frozen juice using a fork to create the granita.

Pandan icea cream

1

In a small, heavy pot, combine the milk, cream, pandan leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat.

2

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar. Pour a cup or so of the hot milk mixture in with the eggs, whisking to temper them. Whisk the tempered eggs in with the milk mixture to form the ice cream base.

3

Gently heat the ice cream base, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and a thermometer inserted reaches 170 degrees. Remove from heat and immediately strain into a bowl set over a larger bowl of ice water. Discard the pandan leaves and any solids and stir the ice cream base over the ice bath until the base is completely cooled.

4

Place the base in an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This makes a generous quart of ice cream. Cover and freeze until needed.

Coconut tapioca

1

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the tapioca pearls and boil, stirring constantly, until the tapioca pearls begin to rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer the tapioca, stirring frequently, until the pearls are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, rinsing the tapioca well under cold running water.

2

In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk and sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Stir the tapioca pearls in with the coconut milk. Cover and refrigerate until needed. As the mixture sits, the coconut milk will continue to soak into the tapioca, causing the mixture to thicken; if needed, thin with additional coconut milk. This makes about 6 cups coconut tapioca.

Caramelized crisp rice

1

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup over high heat. Cook until the sugar is melted, bubbling vigorously, and just begins to take on a faint touch of yellow color. Stir in the cereal and continue cooking, stirring constantly (be careful that the sugar does not burn on the bottom of the pan), until the cereal is coated with sugar and caramelizes to a golden amber color. Remove from heat and spread the cereal in a thin layer on a greased sheet of parchment paper.

Halo halo assembly

1

For each serving, in a shallow bowl, place a flan round followed by 2 to 3 pieces of each assorted fresh berry. Add 4 slices of candied kumquats, followed by 2 pieces each of the passion fruit and coconut gelée. Top with 1/3 cup granita and a quenelle of pandan ice cream, followed by ¼ cup of the coconut tapioca and topped with about 2 tablespoons of the caramelized rice. Serve immediately.

Adapted from a recipe by chef Margarita Manzke of Sari Sari Store and République in Los Angeles. If kumquats are not in season, simply substitute with additional fresh berries. Silver gelatin sheets are available at many cooking and baking supply stores, as well as online. Pandan leaves are generally available at Thai markets, as well as online.

Amy Scattergood is a staff writer for the Food section of the Los Angeles Times.
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