Bambinos (Pan de sal Pizza) is such a simple and unoriginal concoction. It’s not even cooking. It’s just that this afternoon I felt nostalgic about my childhood. Sometimes a food memory can be a comfort. So I remembered my mom ( she died when I was 19). We owned a bakeshop when I was growing up in Cebu (the defunct Sally’s Home Bake Shop). Not only did we serve bread, cakes or pastries, but snacks as well for the hungry customers who would drop by our “tea house”. Mom called her pan de sal pizzas , “Bambinos“. I don’t know if she coined it herself or she got the idea from a recipe book. In fact, I never referred to it as mini pizzas. In the early seventies, commercial pizzas were unheard of.
I looked around for our pan de sal and was surprised that one bread had molds in the bottom. No worries. I scraped them off. I toasted the sliced pan de sal in order to make it tougher like a pizza crust. The heat will kill off the molds too.
The basic pinoy ingredient used here is the pan de sal (literally bread from salt) and the kesong puti (white cheese). Our pan de sal was often baked in a brick oven that had layers of salt underneath. Maybe that’s how the bread got its name. As a teenager back then, I can clearly remember how the brick oven was made. Imagine a salt bed under layers of bricks. The brick oven used wood as fuel. The name of the wood escapes me now but I remember how we had stacks of it behind the bakery.
Anyway, I am digressing. These are the basic ingredients I used:
The kesong puti
Tomato paste with basil leaves
I made two variations: pepperoni and spanish sardines. My husband can’t eat sardines because he suffers from gouty arthritis so the pepperoni is for him.
10 pan de sal (cut into halves)
1 can tomato paste
a few basil leaves
A dash of worcestershire sauce
2 slices of Spanish sardines (bought in bottles)
4 slices of pepperoni cut into quarters
5 Tablespoons of quick melt cheese
5 Tablespoons of kesong puti
1. Slice pan de sal into halves. Pre-toast them so the “crust” is tougher. Set aside.
2. Prepare the sauce: mix the tomato paste with dash of worcestershire sauce, basil and a teaspoon of thyme. Set aside
3. Spread the pizza sauce on the pre-toasted pan de sal slices until covered. Top with quick melt cheese.
4. Then add the toppings: crushed sardines or the quartered slices of pepperoni.
5. Top with kesong puti.
6. Toast in the oven toaster for 5 minutes.
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