26 Jul2011

A few kilos of peeled fresh pili nuts is a fine, fine gift to receive… Fresh pili nuts are EXTREMELY hard to find in Manila, so I am thrilled whenever someone from Bicol returns from a trip bearing pili nuts. I have written about pili before, first here on the fruit and nuts, then a post here on nuts harvested seconds before I photographed them on a farm outside Legazpi, then a post of several types of sweets or delicacies made in Albay, how to peel and blanch the nuts, making pili nut brittle dipped in dark chocolate, a pili nut cake made by Sister which is just like one our mom used to make when we were younger, and finally, my last version of pili nut brittle, here, served at a dinner with the author Tom Parket-Bowles.

If you have the nuts down to the brown skins, simply blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, squeeze them gently to separate the skins from the nuts. It is a bit tedious in that you have to do them one by one, but it’s easy and goes rather quickly. Once they are skinless, you can roast them in a hot oven for several minutes until toasted and starting to turn a bit golden, but watch them carefully and toss the nuts every so often to avoid burning them.

I made this pili cake (several of them actually) with the untoasted nuts and it was as good as I recall it from my childhood. Sister recreated the recipe and it’s one I make at least once a year, or whenever we have the pili nuts. But this time around, we had a really bounty of pili nuts, so I was trying to figure out what to do with them, and decided I would try my hand at a simple marzipan… next.



  1. Betchay says:

    Waiting for the marzipan recipe……love it!

    Jul 26, 2011 | 6:19 pm


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. EbbaBlue says:

    Coming from Quezon Province, we too have bountiful pili nuts; pero hindi na masyado sa farm ng cousin ko kasi they are cutting the trees to use the wood for making chopsticks. Anyway, swerte pa rin last year ng pagpunta ko sa Pinas, a neighbor gifted me half sako of pili nuts, yung buong nuts pa talaga, with its brownish green peeling. My cousin had to dry them in the sun, then pound them carefully to take off the balat, crack open the shell one by one, and then sunod naman yung procedure ni MM above. Then she made them into jam and bottled them, at nadala ko rito sa Houston; I just can’t remember what it is called. It lasted a year sa ref ko. Ang sarap-sarap. My other tiya naman in another part of Quezon makes a great pili-nut brittle. With muscavado sugar, she uses a smooth plywood to make the actual consistency thin. She pour the mix in the wood, then tilt the wood to let the mixture slide down and ayun, magiging manipis na yung pinaka-candy. And she gives them away to us. Sarap din yon, this time though hindi man lang naka-ka abot sa ref, kasi ubos agad!

    Jul 26, 2011 | 7:52 pm

  4. Lava Bien says:

    Off Topic:

    Daphne just posted the pages from this magazine on her site (daphneDOTcom). I saw a pic of (me thinks) Ivan Henares. I guess they called a lot of contacts before coming and meeting them up. Not sure if your picture is there, knowing you as a face covering ala the neighbor of Tim the Toolman show kinda dude.
    Anyways, it looks like a good write up and more on street food.

    Jul 26, 2011 | 10:31 pm

  5. Pam says:

    My grandmother is from Bikol! This really brings me back to my childhood when my grandma would go back to her hometown and bring us bags and bags pili nuts, candy, desserts, and cakes. I haven’t had them in 15 or so years so I don’t even remember what they taste like. Do they kinda taste like Brazil nuts?

    Jul 26, 2011 | 11:21 pm

  6. louinsanfran says:

    re the daphne site, i think the guy stroking his bandaged cock is not ivan henares.

    Jul 27, 2011 | 2:14 pm

  7. Glady says:

    Thanks to Danding Cojuanco’s farm in Negros Occidental, pili is available here in our province and we have some of the most delicious pili delicacies. The pili crumble of Felicia’s in Bacolod and pili squares of Emma Lacson in Silay are a must-try.

    Jul 27, 2011 | 5:51 pm

  8. titabuds says:

    MM, I was amused (and proud and grateful) that you served the ‘humble’ pili brittle to Prince Charles’ stepson. I haven’t read the Esquire UK article yet, was there any mention of the pili?

    Semi-royalty aside, most non-Bikolanos I meet only know pili as a nut and few can imagine eating the fibrous part that encases the hard shell, as we do in Bicol. While the usual ‘dip’ is patis or kuyug, some of us prefer white sugar (dessert!). It’s an acquired taste, I know — one of my brother’s city-bred friends once accurately described it as ”lasang tela”, haha.

    Aug 2, 2011 | 12:33 am

  9. Emmy says:


    I’ve seen you on Jessica Soho and Anthony Bourdaine “No Reservations” shows. My husband and I are proud to have somebody like you represent the Filipino people and our Cuisine. Is there a link so that we can put you on our facebook page? We are fascinated by your Pili Nut Cake recipe hehehe, do you mind sending us a recipe? By the way we live all the way in Canada and reading your blogs makes us feel at home whenever we are homesick.

    Aug 30, 2011 | 2:37 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    Emmy, the link to the pili nut cake recipe is in the main article above, just click and you will have the recipe. Sorry, I don’t have a “like” button or similar thing for facebook…

    Aug 30, 2011 | 2:46 pm

  11. Rose says:

    Thanks. We found the most delicious recipes at Pili Nut Farms. We liked the Healthiest chocolate bar ever recipe. Yummmm!
    I think their website is pilinutfarms.com

    Apr 17, 2013 | 1:38 pm


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021