This Mother’s Day, Dedet de la Fuente of Pepita’s Lechon Shares with Us Some Recipes with Her PepitasMarch 10, 2020
Dedet de la Fuente is one of Manila’s most popular food personalities at the moment. The Lechon Diva has been in business for a few years, but her degustation has truly taken off, and her pigs have placed themselves on the international culinary map. With so much on her plate, the woman-of-the-hour is just as effervescent and humble as she first started, with one of the reasons being her adorable daughters: Lileya (Curly Pepita), Liyora (Little Pepita), and of course, Lauren (Angel Pepita). Her devotion to her kids is what Dedet truly loves to show off, and every degustation at her home and kitchen involves Liyora cutting into the lechon, and Lileya playing the harp in front of guests.
Since it is Mother’s Day after all, we decided to ask Dedet, Lileya and Liyora to whip up a few easy recipes that would be perfect for families to cook up together. We were less than surprised to find out that they both shared their mom’s culinary genes and affinity for the good stuff, growing up around delicious food. Dedet even sent her daughters to culinary classes at a young age, honing their skills and their love for cooking, so much so that Lileya has developed a few drinks that feature in the famous degustations (a butterbeer concoction for example, that had guests clamoring for a bottled version that they could take home). Liyora is really Dedet’s taste-tester, with a palate for all things lechon, this is the reason why she always has the honor of getting the first piece of skin, and has even become a seasoned butcher, breaking down the pig during dinners.
Lileya is quite the baker, known for her cupcakes, which she often brings to school. She enjoys the art, and often reads recipe books then puts her spin on dessert classics. A batch of her famous double chocolate cookies had us seriously swooning: they tasted as if they came out of the kitchen of one of my favorite bakeries in Manila, with a crunchy outside akin to those ubiquitous brownie crisps, and a gooey inside that was all molten and slightly chewy. Liyora is a funny and hilarious character who plays the perfect foil to her older sister, and not to be upstaged, whipped up a french toast that was more sophisticated than any old dredged bread, with notes of vanilla, which she pun-nily dubbed French Vanilla, a portmanteau of French Toast and Vanilla. Both recipes are approachable, but fine-tuned and tested by the girls, and are a joy to make alone, or with anyone you love.
Curly Pepita’s Liyora Cookie
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 large cookies
- 1 ounce milk chocolate (baking kind, sweetened)
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 352F or 162C.
- Mix the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda.
- Melt the butter and milk chocolate.
- Mix the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract together with the butter and milk chocolate mixture in a mixer. Slowly add the dry ingredients.
- Fold some extra chocolate chunks into the batter.
- Spoon onto cookie tray. Mixture should be gloopy but not thick or runny either.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the tops start to crack.
Little Pepita’s French Vanilla
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- ground cinnamon, to taste
- ground nutmeg, to taste
- sugar, to taste
- 4 tbsps butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 slices challah, brioche, or white bread
- Nutella, optional
- strawberry, optional
- In a small bowl, combine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar and set aside briefly, depending on how much you want.
- In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk together cinnamon mixture, eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour into a container that will fit your bread.
- Dip bread in egg mixture. Fry slices for 5 minutes until golden brown, then flip to cook on the other side for 2 minutes.
- Top with nutella and strawberries, or whatever topping you wish.