Deep-Fried Glassy Pili Nuts

When a regular reader emailed me this interesting video, I immediately headed to the kitchen to tinker… I love pecan nuts, and have a few pounds in the deep freeze, but I also had 5 kilos plus of pili nuts, so I thought I would start with those…

Blanch the shelled raw pili nuts in salted water and peel them by slipping them out of their brown “skins”…

…toss the peeled still moist nuts in powdered sugar until well-coated…

…deep fry in hot vegetable oil (I used a thermometer to ensure 325F temperature, removed just before this photo) for a few minutes until caramelized medium brown…

…put them on a cookie rack and separate individual nuts and allow to cool until “glassy hard”…

Results? Just a 7.0/10. And it’s mostly my fault. 1. The pili nuts were rather small, and higher fat content than most nuts, so they cooked faster than pecans — read : they were a bit overcooked 2. The sugar took roughly 4 minutes to reach the right color, and I pulled the nuts out then, but the intense humidity in Manila yesterday means they got hard, but not glassy hard and impervious to near 80% humidity levels — read : they started to get sticky after an hour or so. This could also mean I didn’t cook them long enough or there was too much moisture in the sugar/nuts before frying. Overall? I wouldn’t do this again with pili nuts, but I will definitely do this with pecans as the video shows… And I will wait for a relatively low humidity day to cook them. Thanks F, for the link!


15 Responses

  1. Where did you buy the pili nuts? I’ve been looking around in the supermarkets in Makati for unglazed pili nuts without success. Thanks.

  2. Moni, I have them sent from Bicol… are you in Manila now? Text JD and I can send you some… Betchay, I think the powdered sugar is so that it cooks faster and smoother, while larger sugar granules might get clumpy, but still taste good. And btw, we went to see HOCUS at the National Museum a few days ago, it was SUPERB! :)

  3. Oh, thank you MM for visiting! Hubby will be thrilled with your comment! :)

  4. Works equally well with walnuts too which has a better omega-3 and omega-6 ratio besides being a lot cheaper than pecans.

    But don’t try this with blanched peanuts either. Blanched peanuts takes exactly 2 minutes to fry at 350°. It will be charred by the time the sugar coating starts caramelizing. Use the caramelized sugar described here instead httpss:// Moisten the blanched peanuts, coat with powdered caramelized sugar, spread on a baking sheet, stick in a slightly hotter oven and watch over till the caramel coating melts.

  5. Actually, if you don’t mind clumps/shards instead of individual nuts, you could make it into a brittle. Gently heat sugar in a non-stick pan till lightly caramelised…sort of golden…( added liquid glucose may help the process although I’ve never bothered) and dump in the nuts. Turn off the heat and stir with an oiled/buttered spoon. Spread onto a lined (silicon paper or mat) tray and let cool. Break into pieces.

    Chopping the brittle into rough bits and adding it into whipped, vanilla-ed cream to accompany poached/canned fruit makes for a great and quick dessert idea.

  6. ZUBUchon is featured in Migrationology by Mark Wiens, he joined the world street food congress tour organized by S.F. Seetoh, he loves your lechon.

  7. alilay, thanks, I have to look that up. He did do a video post a while back after eating at the restaurant… Khew, yes, I have made pili brittle before, in the archives, and it turned out really really nicely…

  8. MM, try drying (baking at very low temperature with oven door slightly ajar) the nuts first to remove moisture.

  9. Here’s a great peanut brittle procedure httpss:// It’s in French but you can wing it from the step by step pictures. He uses a bit of glucose to avoid crystallization and adds a bit of bicarbonate of soda at the end to get to foam up the candy and render it even brittler than usual.



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