Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12 Days of Polvoron: Small Batch Polvoron

To celebrate the Philippines this holiday season (and bring attention to the continued need for typhoon relief), I'm doing 12 days of polvoron.  

I thought I'd start with the basic recipe I will be using, a small batch version.   Most recipes for polvoron make large batches, which can be great for families and sharing, but what if you just want a few?

Easy!  Polvoron is simple to scale down into a small batch.  It makes about a dozen, which is good for a family snack, or just one person, if you can eat as much polvoron as I can in one sitting.  And it doesn't take very long - the longest part is toasting the flour, and that's like 5 minutes.

Small Batch Polvoron

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered milk (full fat is better than non fat, if you can find it)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

  1. Toast the flour on a dry skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. 
  2. Mix the flour with the powdered milk, sugar, and salt. 
  3. Pour in the melted butter a little at a time, mixing with a spoon until it starts to clump and resemble damp sand.   
  4. Pack it firmly in the polvoron mold.  Refrigerate to harden it a bit if you feel like it.  Wrap it up in tissue paper if you feel like it.  Or just eat it straight up.  

12 Days of Polvoron

It's #GivingTuesday!  Following the crazy consumerism of Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is an effort to bring everyone together for a national day of giving.  

This year, the cause I will be supporting is much more personal.  My parents were in the Philippines at the time of Typhoon Haiyan, and flew out of the typhoon danger zone to safety just before all flights were cancelled.  

Not so lucky were the many people in my family's hometown of Sigma, a small, rural community in the province of Capiz.  As in many parts of the Philippines, the typhoon caused significant damage and destruction there.  Especially hard hit was the local elementary school - Ponsaran Elementary, named for my grandfather.

Right before the typhoon, my parents were in Sigma to help build a fence around the Eleodoro J. Ponsaran Elementary School, which has 120 students.  But Typhoon Haiyan not only destroyed the fence - it also destroyed much of the school building itself, including the entire roof.  Because of the extensive damage, the government is considering closing the school, instead of repairing it.  This will require the children to walk 7 kilometers to another school, in an area that is rural and mountainous.

The teachers and parents want to reconstruct the school. Local residents have volunteered to provide the labor.  They just need the construction materials to repair the roof and rebuild the walls.

To help, my family has started a fundraiser to supply the people of Sigma with the tools and materials necessary to help them to rebuild their town.  The funds will be used to purchase locally-sourced lumber and construction materials to repair damage to the school.  It will also be used for tents for temporary shelter, and to repair or construct new homes. 

So for this Giving Tuesday, I hope you will consider a contribution to the Rebuilding Sigma Fund as well.

12 Days of Polvoron Challenge!

And, to continue celebrating the Philippines this holiday season, I'm going to do 12 days of polvoron over the next month.

Polvoron is a kind of shortbread treat, a butter-heavy, milk sweet that is popular in the Philippines, particularly around the holidays.  I've posted about it a couple times already, but this time, this month, I'm going to try to come up with 12 different variations.

I've really only stuck to the basic recipe before, so I'm not really sure what I'm going to come up, or how it's going to turn out.  Me experimenting in the kitchen has the potential for really epic failure.  I'm not, by any means, a polvoron pro.  So if you have suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!