Mission: Make Candy Out of Pili Nuts

My mother-in-law “Mama” is back from the Philippines (yay) after 6 months of being away from the family. Everytime she visits the motherland she brings back bags of glazed pili nuts. I have never had a pili nut until I married my Hubby. It’s not a product of my parents’ provinces in the Philippines, so this was a surprisingly new and delicious treat for me. If you haven’t had a pili nut, you must find a place that sells them (possibly Asian/Filipino grocers) and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to try a batch that tastes pretty fresh, as opposed to some “stale” ones I’ve had. But the ones my MIL brings back from the PI are as fresh as you can get them. In fact, she challenged me to make some sort of “candy” out of a batch she had that still had it’s “third layer” of shell still on. I accepted the mission.

Saturday night, as I was enjoying my “down-time”, I realized that those nuts were still sitting in the fridge and somehow I heard her voice in my head saying “you have to do this right away before they go bad”. I jumped up, went to my collection of cookbooks, and found a recipe for a “bark” I had made calling for cashews and macademia nuts. I thought “this should work, right?”

First things first…she said something about blanching these little guys and peeling off the skin. That took no time at all. Then I had to warm up a few simple ingredients together: light corn syrup, granulated sugar and a stick of butter. Add to that my shelled pili nuts and stir. I poured this sticky mixture on a bed of chocolate chips that were sitting in a 9×9 foil lined pan and let the goodness cool before placing it in the fridge.

After blanching

Peeling...

Mommy's Sous Chef

Stir it up...

Chocolate chips waiting for some company...

Voila -- pili nut bark!

Some notes:

  • Although the in-laws enjoyed it, they recommended that I pan fry the pili nuts in a shallow pan with butter to give the nuts a bit of a crisp
  • These are more of a chewy bark, not a crispy brittle
  • In my opinion, I could use less sugar and more salt
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