Have you ever had vegetable in a candy and devoured all 24 candies in one sitting? Have you ever put some squash in your sweets? Have you ever served these squash sweets to any of your family or friends? Raise your hands if you answered YES to at least one of these questions. If you have not, then you are still loved and admired and we will not judge for the lack of pumpkin or squash in any shape or form in your meals and desserts.
And this is why when my good food blogger friend, pastry chef extraordinaire, Jenni Field of the blog Pastry Chef Online started to round up Pumpkin creations for Thanksgiving, I had to throw in my Yema Candy with “Kalabasa” which is Tagalog (the Philippine national language) for squash. This particular one is the kabocha squash from the same gourd family as the pumpkin.
My “kalabasa” is the kabocha squash which I bought from the Asian grocery near my neighborhood. I often use this type of squash for a lot of Asian vegetable side dishes. But not everyone knows you can boil it, literally squash the squash and incorporate it in a sweet custard-like mixture. Boil this slowly stove-top in a non-stick pan. And presto ! In 15 quick minutes you will have one of the most delightful sweet custard-like candy treats ever. The consistency and texture is thick and almost jam-like, but heavier. It’s sweet flavors are almost like “dulce de leche”, a caramel dessert of Latin American origins. You get the picture now.
You don’t have to bake it. You just boil it till thick. You boil some caramel syrup. Shape the bright yellow sweet balls. Pour the thick caramel syrup over it. Watch it harden and look like gold right before your eyes. Once it cools, enjoy the heavenly sweetness of custard with caramel on it. Who knew squash in candy could be so decadent?
Yema Candy with Kalabasa : Caramel Custard Squash Sweets
For Custard candy:
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup mashed kabocha squashed, pre-boiled, then mashed (from Asian markets)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1. Blend all the ingredients together. Using a small non-stick saucepan, place the ingredients together and cook over medium heat.
2. In about 15 to 20 minutes the mixture will start to get thick. Once the spoon is hard to move, then it is cooked. The custard will move away from the sides and be mostly at the center of the pan.
3. Remove from fire and refrigerate thick custard mix for at least 4 hours. After a few hours in the refrigerator, form yema custard into round 1-inch balls. Put them on a rack, ready for syrup to be poured.
4. Prepare the caramel syrup when almost ready to incorporate on top of these “yemas”, which means only after 4 hours.
1 cup granulated white sugar
1. Boil the sugar , over low- medium heat. After about 7 minutes, the syrup becomes amber-colored, gets thick and sticky and starts to bubble.
2. Have the custard or “yema” balls round and ready on a wire rack, with a cocktail toothpick inserted on each one. The toothpick helps you hold the yema balls, when the syrup gets too hot to handle.
3. As soon as the syrup starts to boil and bubble, quickly pour on each “yema” that’s waiting on the rack. Wait for syrup to harden and cool, before attempting to eat any of these.
COOK’S COMMENTS: On other occasions, you may want to simply make the YEMA candy balls, with the caramel syrup, but without the squash. Yemas are favorite Filipino desserts for holidays, special occasions or enjoyed as sweet snacks. You can also wrap them in colored cellophane paper, and give them as holiday gifts.
*NOTES: I couldn’t resist posting this Caramel Custard Squash Sweets or Yemas when my good blogger friend and pastry chef extraordinaire, JENNI FIELD announced she was going to do a round up of all Pumpkin recipes for Thanksgiving. Find Jenni Field on Facebook and Twitter, and her fantastic site Pastry Chef Online where she always has the best recipes for baking aficionados and foodie fanatics. Thanks, Jenni for generously sharing your wealth of information on baking cakes and pastries.