Piaya is a delightful sweet bread enjoyed either as a dessert or a tasty snack. It’s special because it’s stuffed with a wonderfully gooey filling made from muscovado sugar, which hails from the Negros provinces, known as the sugar capital of the Philippines. Muscovado sugar is a dark brown sugar that’s partially refined, giving it a rich taste with lots of molasses.
Making piaya is quite simple, and you can even store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them up.
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The list might seem long, but everything will get done eventually. But hey, why rush? It’s the weekend, after all—a perfect time to take things at your own pace.
What Is Piaya?
Piaya, also known as Piyaya, is a thin, flaky unleavened flatbread that wraps around a sweet filling. This pressed pastry is a famous delicacy from Negros Occidental, particularly Bacolod, a region renowned for its extensive sugarcane plantations. That’s why the traditional version of this delightful treat features a rich muscovado filling.
In today’s times, you’ll discover a variety of fillings for this popular pastry. Options go beyond the classic muscovado, including ube halaya, mango jam, and chocolate. Some lesser-known varieties include buko-pandan, strawberry, and calamansi-filled Piaya. For those seeking more unique flavors, there are even artisanal Piaya like Oregano, Turmeric, and Basil Pesto, catering to those who prefer organic tastes.
Overview: How to make Piaya Recipe?
- All-purpose flour or bread flour
- Fine salt
- Shortening or lard (or substitutes like butter, margarine, or vegetable oil)
- Cold water
- Sesame seeds
- Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
- Glucose or corn syrup
- Ube Halaya
To make Piaya, you’ll need a few key ingredients. Start with all-purpose flour or bread flour if the former is unavailable. Add a dash of fine salt to blend into the dough, keeping it crumbly, and use shortening or lard for that flaky texture. If you prefer, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil can be substituted, though they might impart a distinct taste. Vinegar is a surprising addition; it inhibits gluten formation, stabilizing the dough for a tender interior and crispy exterior. Cold water is crucial to prevent the shortening from melting, maintaining the desired flakiness. Finally, sesame seeds, sprinkled before frying, add a nutty flavor and extra crunch.
Now, let’s talk about the fillings. For the classic Piaya, use muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar, thickened with cornstarch and glucose or corn syrup to create a moist consistency. The Ube (Purple Yam) version features Ube Halaya and a similar thickening process.
Some cooking tips to keep in mind: ensure the shortening is cold, and knead the dough just enough to stick together without becoming too smooth or elastic. When making the muscovado filling, gradually add water until the mixture forms a firm ball. Gently flatten the dough balls with the filling using a rolling pin, aiming for thinness without applying too much force to avoid bursting. Cook Piaya in batches to prevent sticking, especially in a small pan, as the dough puffs up during cooking. With these steps, you’ll craft delicious Piaya with a perfect balance of flakiness and flavor.
Best Homemade Pecan Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- Pastry Cutter or Bread Knife
- Wooden Spoon
- Rolling Pin
- Pan for Cooking
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1/2 tsp Fine Salt
- 1/2 cup shortening or lard
- 2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Cold Water or more, as needed
- 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp shortening for spreading
- 1 cup Muscovado s:ugar
- 1 tbsp glucose corn syrup
- 1 cup cornstarch or flour
- 2 tbsp water or more as needed
- 1 cup Ube Halaya
- 1/2 cup cornstarch or flour (add more if too sticky)
- In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon of fine salt. Cut in ½ cup of shortening using a pastry cutter or bread knife until it forms small pieces.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar with ½ cup of cold water. Gradually add 6 tablespoons to the flour mixture (1 tablespoon at a time). Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a crumbly dough. If it's too dry, add more cold water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Tip the crumbly dough onto a surface, press together to form a ball, and knead until it becomes a proper dough. Do not over-knead. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- While waiting, prepare the filling. Mix the ingredients for each filling type. For the muscovado filling, add water gradually until it reaches a soft but firm consistency. Roll the filling into a log and divide it into 16 pieces.
- Roll the dough thinly into a rectangle (½ cm). Cut it lengthwise into 2 equal parts.
- Spread a thin layer of shortening over the dough. Roll each cut tightly to form a cylinder, then cut into 16 pieces. Rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Flatten a piece of dough, wrap it around a ball of filling, and pinch the edges together. Roll in your palms, then dip one side in sesame seeds.
- Flatten the wrapped dough to a thin disk. Heat a pan and cook the flat dough for 3-4 minutes on each side until light brown. Repeat for the rest.
- Serve warm and enjoy with coffee or tea.
Quick Tips for Making Piaya:
- Dough Consistency: Ensure the dough is crumbly but sticks together when pressed.
- Filling Texture: Aim for a soft yet firm filling that can be rolled into balls.
- Sesame Seed Step: Dip one side of the dough ball in sesame seeds for added flavor.
- Rolling Thinly: Roll the dough thinly to achieve the desired flakiness.
- Cooking Temperature: Use low heat when cooking on the pan for even browning.
- Reheating: Reheat piaya on a pan over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side.
How can I store uncooked piaya for an extended period, and how long will cooked piaya last in the refrigerator? Also, how should I reheat piaya?
You can keep uncooked piaya in the freezer for months. Once cooked, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator, and they should remain fresh for weeks. To reheat, place the piaya on a pan over medium heat for approximately 1 minute on each side. This will help revive their delicious flavors and textures.