This popular Filipino dessert is made of galapong (sticky rice dough) mixed with coconut milk and sugar which is then divided typically into 3 parts; purple yam and pureed corn are usually added to make the purple and yellow layers respectively, and the third part is left plain.
Each layer is steamed until firm before the next one is added. When ready to serve it is topped with either latik or toasted, sweetened grated coconut. It usually takes a whole day to finish this dessert.
Thankfully, there is an easy way to make this now, using glutinous rice flour and food coloring and flavorings. Then it’s just a matter of mixing the batter, dividing it, and adding different colors to make layers—as many as you wish.
For the Sapin-Sapin:
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 can condensed milk
- 3/4 cup mashed purple yam
- 1/2 cup ripe jackfruit chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pandan extract
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon violet food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
- 1/4 teaspoon purple yam ube flavor
- coconut oil for greasing the pan and layers of Sapin-Sapin
For the Latik:
- 3 cups coconut milk
For the Latik:
- Heat 3 cups of coconut milk until it reaches a boiling point, causing the coconut oil to separate and the coconut milk to curdle. Keep cooking until the coconut milk pieces take on a golden brown appearance.
- Turn the heat off and place the latik on a small plate lined with a paper towl to soak up the excess oil. Set aside. At this point you can store the latik in a container and in the fridge for up to a week or use it immediately to top various rice cakes.
For the Sapin-Sapin
- To start off, blend together the glutinous rice flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Next, mix in the condensed milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract, then stir until the mixture achieves a smooth texture.
- Divide the mixture into three equal parts and prepare them as follows:
- To the first part, incorporate mashed purple yam, ube extract, and violet food coloring, stirring well. Set this mixture aside.
- Process the jackfruit (seedless) in a food processor and add it to the second part along with yellow food coloring. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Leave the third part as is.
- Prepare your stovetop steamer and pour about 1 quart of water. Heat it to a boil.
- Grease a round baking pan with cooking oil or coconut oil.
- Now it's time to begin assembling the Sapin-Sapin. Start by placing the first part of the rice flour dough (violet) into the pan, ensuring it's evenly spread out. Cover the pan with cheesecloth and steam for 12 to 16 minutes.
- Next, remove the baking pan and pour the white mixture over the violet one. Use a spatula to spread it smoothly. Make sure you squeeze the cheesecloth of excess water and place it back on top of the pan. Return the pan to the steamer for another 12 to 16 minutes.
- Repeat the above step for the yellow layer and steam it for 15 to 20 minutes. Note: If at any point the mixture seems too runny after the recommended time, steam for an additional 5 minutes.
- Place a clean banana leaf on a wide serving plate and brush it with coconut or cooking oil. Carefully turn the baking pan over the banana leaf, allowing the cooked sapin-sapin to come loose from the pan onto the plate.
- Brush the sapin-sapin with oil (violet layer on top) and sprinkle with latik.
- Serve this delightful dessert and savor its flavors. Enjoy!