Puto Pizza is a trendy version of one of the Filipino’s most favourite snack, the classic puto or steamed rice cakes. It is called puto pizza because it is enhanced with pizza flavors on top, particularly the sauce, ham and cheese. Puto is traditionally made with rice flour and coconut milk. Puto is an umbrella term for “kakanin” particularly made with rice flour. But now, versions of puto and other kakanin made without rice flour are available.
I have been eating puto ever since I was a child. They were my very first concept of cakes. I remember those times when I was a child, the sound of the horns of the kakanin sellers roaming around our community every morning was my alarm. I rushed to buy a lot of puto and kutsinta. What I love about puto is they are small and easy to hold snack for a child like me.
Whenever there are potlucks in our school, I always bring a tray of puto. It is easy to carry and is almost always available any time of the day. My love for puto got stronger as they start decorating the puto. I love the colored ones especially the pink and violet ones. And they’ve all got cheese on top! Another version of the puto I love is the puto pao. I remember naming it “cake siopao” because it has siopao fillings inside.
Puto generally tastes lightly sweet to bland and the texture is relatively dry compared to a cake. This is the reason why people are getting creative on what to combine with the puto as you eat it, or what stuffing or filling should you add and what toppings should be put. I usually eat my puto with dinuguan.
I discovered all about the puto pizza while I was scrolling through the internet. It looked so good!! Who would have thought of using puto as a pizza crust? I immediately went to the grocery store the next day to buy some ingredients for my puto pizza. I was excited to try a complicated pizza flavor but decided to first try it with the basic ones. The first batch of first attempt failed because the toppings sank into the middle of the puto and the resulting ones doesn’t look good. I adjusted the amount of toppings for the next batches and I made a perfect puto pizza. It took me a while to prepare the batter and the meringue but the steps after that were much easier.
HOW TO MAKE PUTO PIZZA
The puto batter will basically be the structure and base of the puto pizza. Based on research, the traditional puto recipes use rice flour but in this recipe, we will use cake flour. The use of cake flour contributes to the lightness and soft texture of the resulting puto. Prepare the puto batter by sifting the cake flour and baking powder. Sifting is done to remove lumps. Add the white sugar. Mix the ingredients well before adding the water. Pour some water gradually while stirring the dry ingredients. Set the batter aside for a while and prepare the ingredients for the meringue.
The meringue gives additional softness and airiness to the texture of the puto. A meringue is prepared by whipping egg whites until they are foamy. Grab you egg whites and whip them in a large bowl using a hand mixer. Add the cream of tartar and blend it with the egg whites. In baking, cream of tartar is used as a leavening agent which causes the puto to rise and expand. It also adds to the creamy texture of the meringue. Add the white sugar while stirring with the rest of the ingredients. Whip the mixture until it reach stiff peaks. To check if the egg whites you are whipping are in stiff peaks, try to turn the bowl over. If the egg whites does not drop, then it has reached the right stage. The meringue is now done.
Add the meringue gradually in the puto batter in three parts. Fold the meringue gently in the puto batter. Blend well but do not over mix. Pour the resulting puto batter in the molders. Since there will be additional pizza toppings to be place on top, only fill ¾ part of the molder.
There are a lot of options for pizza toppings anyone can think of. In this version of puto pizza recipe, we will use the pizza sauce, precooked ham, sliced green bell pepper and grated cheese to resemble a cute ham and cheese pizza. You can use other pizza references to have more ideas on the other pizza toppings you can top your puto pizza. The puto pizza will be cooked using the steaming process. If you would like to add toppings which requires cooking such meat, it would be recommended to cook them first before adding on the top of the puto pizza.
The puto batter is thick but you must still need to be careful in adding the toppings. Pour some of the pizza sauce very slowly above the puto batter. Take note to pour it very gently since the puto batter is still soft. Do not over pour the toppings. A heavy top may sink in the middle of the puto. It would ruin the general appearance and you would not want that for your puto pizza. For the pizza toppings, chop them into small pieces so that some pieces can fit one puto pizza top. Add and decorate the other pizza toppings how you like.
Like the classic puto, the puto pizza is cooked through steaming in batches. The recommended tool in steaming the puto is the metal steamer pan and not the electric steamers used in dimsums and dumplings. The classic metal steamer pan is like a giant pan with 2 layers divided by a stainless metal divider with holes. You boil water at the bottom and let the steam pass through the holes of the divider into the puto pieces.
Place the puto molders in the steamer in a way that they are not too close to each other. This is to allow them to slightly rise and expand as it cooks. Place a cloth lid above the puto pizza pieces before you close the lid. Water droplets may form in the cover lid as the steam rises. The cloth functions as a protective layer so that the water droplets would not get into the puto pizza pieces.
Steam the puto for at least 10 to 12 minutes under medium heat. After 12 minutes, check if the puto pizza is done. The toothpick test can help you check if the puto is well-cooked. Stick a toothpick in one of the puto pieces and then remove. If the toothpick came out clean, then the puto is cooked. If not, continue steaming and do the toothpick test every 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. To maintain the warmness of the puto pizza, serve the puto pizzas directly from the steamer. Enjoy eating.
- For the puto batter:
1 ½ cup cake flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
¾ cup water
- For the meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup white sugar
- Pizza toppings:
green bell peppers, sliced
cheddar cheese, grated
- For the puto batter, sift 1 ½ cup cake flour. Add 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder. Sift to remove lumps. Add ½ cup sugar. Mix well. Add ¾ cup water gradually while stirring. Set aside.
- For the meringue, add 4 egg whites in another large bowl and beat until foamy. Add ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar. Add ¼ cup white sugar gradually while stirring. Beat the egg whites until you achieve stiff peaks.
- Add the meringue in to the puto batter in three parts. Cut and fold gently. Do not over mix.
- Prepare the pizza toppings: the pizza sauce, precooked ham, sliced green bell pepper and grated cheese.
- Pour puto batter into molders. Only fill ¾ of the molder.
- Put some pizza sauce on the top gently. Do not put too much sauce. Add the pizza toppings.
- Arrange the puto in the steamer. Put a cloth in the lid to avoid water drips while steaming.
- Steam the puto pizza for 10-12 minutes under medium low heat.
- Do the toothpick test. If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
- Serve and enjoy!