It's probably not the first time that you've heard of a kitchen-accident-turned-pretty-good kind of story. But it's probably the first time you'll be reading about Gigi Gaerlan and her kitchen mishap. Trust me, hers is more than "pretty good."
I'm thanking my mindless blog-hopping habit once more for my discovery of Gigi's Custaroons. Several clicks here and there led me to the Gigi's Custaroons website. "If you're reading this, the sweet freshly-oven-baked scent of my custaroons must have wafted over to you," says her website
It's a dead giveaway (or maybe not?) that custaroons is derivative from the words custard and macaroons. The website defines it more concisely as "a deliciously unique combination of smooth and creamy flan topped with a chewy, buttery crust."
As to how the two desserts got mixed together, blame Gigi -- or rather, thank her. She initially intended to distribute to friends a tweaked version of her mom's macaroon recipe. But due to some mistakes she made in measurement, the outcome did not turn out to as planned. Ironically though, the goodies, which she later dubbed as custaroons, were received much better than she expected.
After several years of constant nudging and pushing from her fans (read: her lucky friends and family who knew about this secret for almost a decade), Gigi decided to finally make it available for the public last December. There's no store front yet, but as of now, you can order three variants of her custaroons by calling her up.
Primarily, there's the Original Custaroons (Box of 12 for P270; 3oz. each). Each piece is approxiamtely 2 inches in diameter and about an inch thick, a far cry from the munchkin sized macaroons we're all familiar with. However, it is of the same color and texture of the regular macaroons - yellow, bumpy and glossy.
Cross section would reveal the two different layers as described in Gigi's website. Lying atop the smooth custard flan is the thicker and more compact layer of the macaroon.
Although the macaroon part of the creation might give you the impression that custaroons are a bit on the tough side, they're not. Gigi's custaroons have earned raves for being soft, creamy, and chewy altogether. Eating a piece would give your mouth a positively intriguing sensation as the smoothness of the custard highlights the velvety and slightly fibrous texture of the dessicated coconut.
A variation to the Original Custaroon would be the Cheese Custaroons (54 pieces 3/4 oz. for P450).
Save for the striped wrapper, it doesn't look any different from the original flavor. Gigi told me that this version is a little more salty and savory compared to the original flavor. I took a piece and appreciated the proper portioning of the subtle flavors she spoke of. Indeed it was much more savory, just enough for you to really tell that it's cheese. They say subtlety is always the key. Gigi owned it with the Cheese Custaroons.
If the two previously described products already made your mouth water, wait till you see the Custaroon Poppers (30 pcs. P220).
I would say outright that the Custaroon Poppers are little devils hidden inside Gigi's trademark aquamarine custaroon boxes. They are disguised as humble truffle-like balls. A little note will tell you to shake the box. This, according to Gigi, will replenish the moistened dark chocolate coating of the poppers.
Why little devils? Pop a whole piece in your mouth and you'll know what I'm talking about. If custaroons were already enough to make me gush over and over again for their incredible goodness, what did a chocolate powder-covered one made me do? Eat the entire box non-stop! Seriously. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.
All her products are best consumed straight from the fridge. Refrigerated, the custaroons can last up to 3 weeks. Non-refrigerated, it will last 4 days. To have them at their best, Gigi recommends immediate consumption.
It's pretty easy to order Gigi's products. Call her up in her mobile number (0917-8282929) a day in advance for the custaroons, and 2 days in advance for the poppers. Batch orders with 10 boxes and above will have to be placed at least 4 days in advance.
Now here's the more difficult part - getting your custaroons. There's currently no delivery service available. You can always wait for her store front to be put up in Libis by next year to have a taste of her bakes... But of course, if you're as hungry for them as I am, you'd rather order now and pick-up the custaroons yourselves. Pick-up can be done from her kitchen in Sta. Mesa but if you're far from there, Gigi can meet up with you at a convenient pick-up point. She frequents Makati as she regularly meets clients there, so they get to be the lucky folks.
By accident, Gigi made something so terribly good and original. Her custaroons might even translate into a dessert fad in the next few months just as how the cupcakes and froyos did the past few years. And since the holiday season is just a few months away, Gigi's Custaroons might just be the next in-thing when it comes to Christmas gifts and giveaways. So hurry up and give her a call, it's never too early to plan your Christmas shopping.