MANILA -- Boredom can lead to delicious things. In the case of Pampanga chef Sau Del Rosario of 25 Seeds, it was both surprising and exciting to find himself adding “pie-maker” to his list of culinary credentials this quarantine season.
“In the first three weeks of COVID, I was doing a lot of vlogging and cooking. I got sick and tired of it, so I decided to do baking because I had all the time to try it,” shared Del Rosario.
Inspiration on which items to bake came from familial nostalgia as Del Rosario was in quarantine in his family home. The chef was reminded of memories of his mother’s baking, and it was natural to him to create his versions of some of his sweet memories.
“When I first Instagram-ed my buko pie, people were already ordering and I said, ‘I don’t sell it,’ but eventually I said, ‘why not?’” said Del Rosario.
It took three weeks of research and development before the chef was ready to sell his "fyes." He named them Vuco (buko) Fye and Heg (Egg) Fye, aptly naming them with that Del Rosario and Kapampangan touch of whimsy.
The three weeks paid off with Del Rosario’s pies not only garnering praises online but also enjoying pie orders easily exceeding the 100-mark in only a couple of days.
What makes his pies special?
“I wanted to level it up, since I also have some background in pastry when I was in France. I wanted to do 'French'-style buko pie and egg pie,” added Del Rosario.
“Parisian” was one of the typical words associated with Del Rosario’s pies, and it fit the mark perfectly especially in the Heg Fye. It took the taste of what we know as egg pie and flipped it with technique – turning it into a French custard pie that would indeed be at home in a Parisian café.
Wobbly and smooth and melts in the tongue, this egg pie (like his buko pie) had just the right sweetness and lets you taste the egg and the cream foremost. Truthfully, a slice of Heg Fye was like a leche flan (sans caramel) that came in its own convenient and delicious buttery container, making it so ridiculously easy to finish a slice -- or three.
The Vuco Fye, meanwhile, can’t help but impress at first sight. Double the height of its more common counterparts, the pie was beautifully crimped and when sliced showed layers of fresh buko held together by the barest bit of lightly sweet custard. A bite had unadulterated coconut flavor with the coconut even retaining that beautiful chew that one enjoys when eating it fresh from the coconut shell.
“Buko is a very tricky ingredient. Out of 5 kilos I buy, I only use half because of quality standards,” said the chef of his Vuco Fye.
“The secret of my pies besides the filling is my dough. Whenever we eat a pie, we do not want it [the crust] soggy. I wanted to make the crust flaky and buttery -- that was my challenge,” he added.
Like the Heg Fye, the Vuco fye’s crust was rolled thick and robust enough to hold the heavy filling but light enough to be flaky and buttery. It was delightful to hold pieces of the pies and eat them by hand versus needing a plate and utensils.
“My other main reason that I’m doing this is to keep my people [in 25 seeds] busy. For about 4-5 people in my staff, meron silang pangkabuhayan. And it’s really nice because you’re helping them out in this crisis,” said Del Rosario.
Pie production starts at 2 a.m. in 25 Seeds in Pampanga and when the pies are finished at 7 a.m., the pies are delivered directly to customers in Angeles and in Manila.
“It’s important for us for our clients to get them hot and fresh, and I always love to deliver our pies when they’re warm. I invested on hot boxes to ensure that,” he shared.
When asked on his plans of continuing this pastry venture after the quarantine, the chef was quick to say yes.
“Yes, I will continue after the quarantine. I will explore other recipes. I have a professional pastry chef that can help me do R&D…I want to eventually have a commissary in Manila,” said Del Rosario.
The Vuco Fye is P675 plus delivery of P100, while the Heg Fye is P575 plus delivery of P100. To order, call 09171928343.