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    Friday, October 19, 2018-3:59:27P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Our Oceania: Auntie Emma’s lantiyas

WHEN you’re looking for old Chamorro recipes, where better to turn than your own auntie?

This week, I learned how to make lantiyas (pronounced “latiya” on Guam) from my Auntie Emma, who learned the recipe from her auntie.

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Auntie Emma’s Lantiyas

“I used to make this with my auntie as a little girl,” she told me. “And when I was really young, the only time I ever had it was at funerals, so I just called it ‘funeral cake.’”

To this day, she fosters a certain ambivalence toward lantiyas; it’s an easy dessert to ruin, but very rewarding if you manage to pull it off.

“The trick to lantiyas is to have everything prepped before your start,” she told me. “And to be ready to throw everything out if it doesn’t work,” she added, laughing.

Here’s my Auntie Emma’s recipe:

Step 1: Spread Your Cakes

Cut two 8-inch sponge cakes in half horizontally.

“Make a little floor of sponge cake,” Auntie Emma told me. “You can tear it with your hands to make it fit.”

Tearing the cake into smaller pieces where necessary, cover the bottom of two 9x12 inch pans.

Step 2: Heat It Up

Empty four 12oz cans of evaporated milk into a deep pot.

“It’s going to stay on the stove for a long time so you want a good pot that won’t burn on the bottom,” she told me.

Add 5 1/3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Apply medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: The Long Haul

Whisk together one cup of corn starch, 1 1/2 cups of water, and eight teaspoons of vanilla until smoothly blended with no lumps. When the milk mixture begins to steam and appears to be about to boil, add the corn starch mixture. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring non-stop but only gently touching the bottom of the pot (as opposed to scraping up the goop that will accumulate down there). If any wrinkles form on the surface of the milk, stir them back into the mixture.

It can take time for the milk to start boiling after the corn starch mixture is added. Just keep stirring, and once it begins to boil, stir consistently for 15 more minutes.

 “Don’t be impatient,” Auntie Emma advised “You don’t want to put in all this time for nothing because you skimped on 10 minutes.”

Step 4: Butter and Eggs

After the mixture has boiled for fifteen minutes, remove from heat and add eight tablespoons (one stick) of butter. Slowly pour eight well-beaten eggs into the mixture while stirring vigorously. Auntie Emma says to keep the stream of eggs “thinner than you think — otherwise it turns into scrambled eggs.”

“You don’t want scrambled eggs in your lantiyas,” she said definitively.

Step 5: Ladle and Cool

Ladle the milk mixture evenly onto the sponge cake, making sure not to scoop up any browned milk at the bottom of the pot. Now you’re ready for your final ingredient: cinnamon.

“You want to dust it, don’t let it clump,” said Auntie Emma as she carefully shook small clouds of cinnamon over the lantiyas, holding the bottle about twelve inches above the surface.

Allow your lantiyas to cool in the fridge for 15-30 minutes and enjoy!