With a couple of kilos of ripe langka in the deep freeze, the question was what to do with itâ€¦ We had enjoyed langka fresh, frozen and eaten plain, frozen and served with some brandy, cooked into banana turon, and in the past, preserved in a simple sugar syrup for future use in halo-haloâ€™s, but I had never baked with langka (jackfruit)â€¦ I searched the internet and found a langka empanaditas recipe that looked interesting (though I was almost certain that the amount of dough mentioned was insufficient for the filling) and remembered that I once did a pie crust triangle or turnover with a filling of santol jam, so I thought I would experimentâ€¦ Here are the resultsâ€¦ flaky, buttery pie crust triangles filled with a delicious, pungent and tasty langka fillingâ€¦they were very good eating!
To make the filling, I took about 2.5-3.0 cups worth of frozen langka pieces (no seeds) and blitzed them in a food processor until finely chopped, not mashed. This should yield about 1.5 cups or little more after blitzing. Do this while the fruit is frozen, you are less likely to overblitz it then. If you are blitzing fresh langka, do it in short blasts to make sure you donâ€™t overblitz. You can also chop it up finely if you like. Set this aside. Next in a heavy saucepan, add two cans of condensed milk and 7 eggyolks and whisk or stir over medium heat until quite thick. I added Â½ fresh vanilla bean (throw the entire half bean in pod and seeds). After 2-3 minutes, remove the bean and scrape out the seeds and add the seeds to the mixture. When the mixture has thickened, say 12+ minutes of stirring, add the blitzed langka and about a tablespoon of butter and mix until well blended. If the mixture looks to liquidy, cook a few minutes more before removing from the flame and setting it aside. The mixture will set or seize up a little and look like a custard. Taste this now and you will get a preview of this delicious dessertâ€¦I had at least 4 spoons of the mixture, and thatâ€™s before the langka had a chance to really let some flavor looseâ€¦
Next make some pie dough, but a little wetter than usual. In a large bowl, add 6 cups of all purpose flour (I like to leave mine in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes at least to ensure it is cold), add 1 cup of cold cubed butter and Â¾ cup of vegetable shortening (such as Crisco), also cold, 2 teaspoons of table salt and â€œcutâ€ with two knives until the butter and shortening are blended into the flour in very small pieces. Add about 10 tablespoons of cold water and mash with a fork until the dough starts to come together. Form the dough into 3 or 4 large balls and flatten and wrap these in some plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before rolling it out. Next, out the dough until thin. If the dough is too cold, it will be flaky and difficult to work with. Wait a minute or two for it to warm a little. Then, cut the dough into shapes (round is classic for empanadita shape, but I find square is more efficient cutting and easier for me to work with) put a little spoonful of the langka filling in the center and seal the turnover and brush with an egg wash and bake in a 375 degree oven until just golden brown, about 18 minutes. When you remove the turnovers from the oven, brush with unsalted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar. These were REALLY good warm and straight out of the oven. But they got better a few hours later or even the next day when the langka had a chance to really work its wondersâ€¦ perfect for a Pinoy inspired afternoon teaâ€¦
And if you find yourself with too much filling despite the tons of pie crust you made, do what I did and make some mini langka/jackfruit pies! Just be careful not to overstuff with the filling, it can be overpowering! These mini-pies also turned out fantastic and anyone who loves langka would be in heaven. I have to point out that some folks have a real dislike or aversion to langka precisely because of its strong flavor and pungent smell, but unlike durian of which I am not a fan, I do love langka. The turnovers were nice and firm and when i put two pieces into clear cellophane bags and added a ribbon, they made terrific giveaways for a dinner I was going to that evening!