Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Latiya


Pronounced: "La-ti-ja"

I was raised in a multi-cultural home. My parents are from the island of Guam. When my father met my mother, he was in the U.S. Marines. They met, dated, and married in Guam and then moved to the U.S. when they received orders. A couple of years into their marriage, my father transferred Military branches, where he retired in the Army as a First Sergeant. Our adventures living all over the East coast and over seas taught us the importance of sticking together as a family. Throughout all our travels, one thing was certain. My mother would always cook and bake dishes from her native island of Guam. While I was growing up, it wasn't unusual for her to spend half the day in the kitchen, cooking up our favorite Chamorro(the word that describes anything Guam related) dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or *just cause.* The kitchen was my mother's only vice while raising us. It didn't matter what kind of day she was having, you would always find her in the kitchen cooking/baking up a storm.

When I moved out on my own in my early 20's, I made sure that I took copies of the recipes to some of her signature dishes that I learned to love.

Latiya is one of them :) This dessert is famous among the people of Guam. I LOVE it because it's like comfort food for me. Who can resist angel food cake with a tasty, creamy custard on top and cinnamon sprinkles to round it out?? I have made this for numerous of our friends and they absolutely love it. It's great to make if you are having a barbecue or have been invited to a special event (pot lucks, barbecues, get togethers, etc...) because it makes quite a lot. I have to give all the credit to my mom though :) She is the one who introduced this dish to me and in turn, I am introducing it to you all :)

Latiya

(serves 8-10)


Ingredients:
1 stick butter
2 cans Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 cans water from one of the cans of milk
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
12 tbsp. cornstarch
Cinnamon
Store bought angel food cake

Directions:

1.  Cut the angel food cake into squares and place them on a cookie sheet or baking pan. This picture has it in a round aluminum pan, but I've always made it on a cooking sheet or in a baking pan.

2.  Melt butter in a pot and add milk. Add one of the cans of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix thoroughly the cornstarch and the second can of water.

4.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the milk mixture and stir constantly. Add the sugar while stirring.

5.  Let this boil for 5 minutes or until thickened. It may take a while to thicken, but it will :)

6.  Pour over the angel food cake and sprinkle with enough cinnamon to decorate. Place in fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight. Serve :)


14 thoughtful comments around the table:

  1. YUM! I like the sound of this!! Thanks for the recipe! Great site! :)

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  2. Hafa adai. I'm glad I came across your corner of the Internet. I was on foodbuzz.com, did a search for Guam and your latiya recipe came up. That's one of my favorite desserts from home. It's funny that your recipe uses a Carnation can as measurement - my mom's recipe calls for the same thing. I'm definitely paying your blog another visit soon. Happy Holidays to your and your family.

    - Rich T (Guam/Seattle)

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  3. Hi Libby - silly question for you - do you pour the liquid on while it's still hot? The angel food cake looks flat in the picture. Thanks!!

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  4. Yes. You pour the liquid on while it is still hot. As it cools, it will begin to thicken. It's ok if the angel food cake is cut flat or in chunks. It's good either way ;) Hope this answers your question :)

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  5. Sponge cake, pound cake or yellow cake can also be used to make this dessert.

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  6. I'm not Chamorro, but I lived in Guam for a good part of my life and I just wanted to thank you for putting this recipe up. I have taken Chamorro in high school, but I left behind the recipes that my teacher have given us back in Guam. I tried recalling the recipes, but I couldn't so I searched it up. :)
    I love eating latiya while it's still warm and over pound cake. :D
    Again, thank you so much!

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome :) We LOVE this dessert here ;)

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  7. What size can of evaporated milk do you use?

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    Replies
    1. We use two (12 oz.) cans of evaporated milk :)

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  8. My grandma never measured... I remember her standing at the stove, throwing in this & that & of course, she used the empty can of carnation to measure the water...

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  9. Hafa adai! Thank you for posting my favorite recipe from family parties. My grandmother was a Libby from Guam too. Her mother was from Saipan and always made this with ladyfingers, and my grandmother would use a spongecake. I think angel food cake sounds really good. I'll have to pass on your URL to my sister!

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    Replies
    1. Ohhh…ladyfingers would go well with this! I think we did try it with spongecake before as well ;) Yes…please pass this on to your sister ;)

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