April 18, 2009


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Canonigo and mango: heavenly!

I have never heard or eaten this dessert called Canonigo, the Filipino version of the French dessert ile flottante or oeufs à la neige, and have no clue where in the Philippines the dessert originated. The Spanish word canonigo means parish priest and so I am guessing the dessert as the name implies is a recipe from a priest (not improbable, Father Leo comes to mind), the cook in a priest's household, or a Filipino family whose name is Canonigo. If anybody knows, please enlighten me, I'll appreciate it.:-)

The Filipino Canonigo is cooked just like leche flan. The meringue is spooned into a bowl coated with caramelized sugar and baked in a bain marie. The baked meringue is then inverted on a platter with the caramel on top, then sliced into portions and served "floating" on custard sauce. The guidebook suggests to serve this delicious light-as-feather and melt-in-your mouth dessert with balls of ripe mango. Heavenly is the only word to describe it.

1½ cups sugar
8 egg whites
8 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or finely grated key lime rind)
ripe fresh mango balls for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Melt 1 cup sugar in a stainless steel skillet until golden brown. *Pour caramel into a 12-inch stainless steel bowl, swirl to coat the bowl completely. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of a standing mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar and beat continuously until stiff but not dry. Pour into the prepared bowl.
  • Bake in a bain marie for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and from bain marie and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Invert the meringue onto a serving platter, letting the caramelized syrup coat the meringue. Let cool before slicing.
  • Prepare the custard sauce: Beat the egg yolk slightly. In a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and milk, and with a heat-proof spatula, cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 
  • To serve: spoon some warm custard sauce on a plate, put a slice of meringue in the middle, garnish with mango balls.
*I baked the canonigo in stainless steel pinch bowls for assembling ingredients. It is not recommended because it is very difficult to coat with caramelized sugar which slides down, stays at the bottom of the bowls, and instantly hardens. Likewise, I don't recommend using a large bowl either. Baking the meringue in a loaf pan is I think more practical and uncomplicated for the home cook. Use just half a cup of sugar for caramel and coat only the bottom of the loaf pan.

This is recipe 3 in my KULINARYA series:

1. Kare-Kare
2. Eggplant Salad


Ning said...

Ooooh! I haven't had canonigo in a long time. Why? It takes time to perfect it. And I'm not sure I have the patience.. ha ha ha!!!

What's Cookin Chicago said...

Oooh - this looks outstanding! Wonderful job!!

Oggi said...

Ning, my first canonigo was chamba lang.:D

Joelen, thanks.:)

Jude said...

I don't know about chamba. Takes a lot of skill and care to pull that off.
I wonder if I'll ever be able to find that book around here. Would love to browse it.

Oggi said...

Jude, I was surprised they came out really good. I simmered a few tablespoons in milk which shrank as soon as they were out of the milk...I prefer them baked.
As for the KULINARYA, I have sent several emails to the publisher, sadly, they have been ignoring me.

Anonymous said...

i have seen it, tasted it but never tried cooking it. One thing is for sure, i love it, after all its my family name. hahahaha. :)

Oggi said...

A, I'm guessing your family didn't invent this dessert.:D

Edgie Polistico said...

It must be from a priest or that it is prepared by a cook for his master priest. I used to be a sacristan and recalled that eggs in trays and baskets is the common handy offering in the Mass. Probably the church has a lot of eggs in the cupboard. Besides, old churches in Spanish time are painted with egg whites as lacquer and probably some of the eggs were used to feed the church workers who thought that the sweet servings were from their cura parroco (parish priest)

Oggi said...

edgiepolistico, that's what I thought also. Thanks for the info.:)

Anonymous said...

i will try to cook canonigo recipe soon i think it's delicious ........

Anonymous said...

On Canonigo, taken from a Philippine Star article by Mary Ann Quioc Tayag:

"I have a correction to make in my previous article, “Seasoned Chefs in Heat.” According to pastry chef Jill Sandique, the dessert canonigo is a Pinoy invention, inspired by the French ile flottante. So the name is Spanish (for clergyman), the inspiration is French and the wonderful, rich taste is Pinoy na Pinoy. Thanks, Jill."

Oggi said...

A@7/21/10, thanks for the info. I read both articles but the persons/s who named the dessert canonigo is still a mystery.:p

Joey C.T. said...

Is there a need to put this in an oven or the bain marie will suffice? I understand that you bake it in the bain marie but is the bain marie placed inside the oven? Was just taking it after your instruction, to remove from oven and from bain marie. Kindly enlighten me on this. Thanks.

Oggi said...

Joey C. T.'

If you have a traditional bain marie, use it according to the instructions.

The bain marie method used here is placing the cups with the mixture in a larger pan, the larger pan is then filled with water half way up the sides of the smaller pans, and baked in a preheated oven.

Unknown said...

canonigo the the enlgish equivalent of canonize or the process of saint hood [it's my family name]

Trekkearl said...

The canonigo was created by Señor Anastacio de Alba of Alba's Restaurant in Manila as mentioned in "The Alba Cookbook" published by Anvil in 2012.

Oggi said...

I am not sure I believe them. People, specially Filipinos, claim they invented a recipe but so far, there are no definite proof. For example - adobo, ensaimada, sansrival, brazo de Mercedes, etc. I've been to Alba's original shop/resto eons ago and never encountered it there. Not even once.

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