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December 11, 2014

Mom’s Caviar Pie

caviarpieCaviar Pie was the craze in Manila about a decade ago. I first encountered it when my Mom made her version at home. She had seen it at a clan get-together. The original presentation is to have the caviar, cream cheese, hard-boiled eggs, chopped onions, and capers in layers. Sneaky diners would scoop out the top layer caviar, leaving other guests with the rest of the ingredients to the less sneaky guests. That’s unfair, so Mom made a version that would make sure everyone got a share of the caviar.

We usually make the dish with flying fish roe instead of the traditional lumpfish roe. Some people use Beluga caviar. The flying fish roe is more affordable and is known as tobiko in Japanese groceries. It also gives the dish a surprising pop as you bite into them. Lumpfish and Beluga caviar melt in your mouth and don’t have that popping texture. Use whichever fish roe you prefer.

If you can get quail eggs, use them! They’re much tastier than chicken eggs.

With the many delis in Manila, it’s now easy to get Mascarpone cheese, but not necessarily easier on the pocket. Use what you prefer.

For serving at parties, it’s a choice between plating and your plate. If you have an elegant plate, you can use the mould assembly instructions  to highlight your plate. You can use the glass bowl assembly procedure if you want it easier.


  • 250 grams cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 60 grams sushi grade flying fish roe (tobiko) or lumpfish caviar or beluga caviar
  • 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) Japanese rice wine (sake)
  • 4 quail eggs or 1 chicken egg
  • capers to coarsely chop to make 1 tablespoon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch spring onion to make 2 tablespoons finely chopped white spring onions
  • ⅛teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • crackers, Melba toast, or Poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) for serving


  1. Place fish roe in a bowl. Add Japanese rice wine (sake). Set aside.
  2. Prepare a saucepan with water. Bring water to a boil. Add egg. If using a chicken egg, set timer for 15 minutes. If using quail eggs, set timer for 4 minutes. While waiting for eggs to cook, prepare a bowl with water and ice. When timer rings, use a slotted spoon and remove from water. Place egg into ice water bath and allow to cool.
  3. Peel egg and finely chop. Set aside.
  4. Use a microplane or fine grater to remove the lemon zest. Make sure to only grate the yellow zest. The white pith should not be included, it is very bitter. Set aside. Use the remaining parts of the lemon to make juice or to use in another recipe.
  5. Clean spring onion to remove dirt. Cut away the green portions of the leaves for use in another recipe. Remove roots. Finely chop white portion of spring onions until you get 2 tablespoons. Set aside.
  6. Coarsely chop capers until you get 1 tablespoon. Set aside.
  7. Get a mixer with a bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Remove bowl from mixer.
  8. Add hot sauce and sea salt to cream cheese. Blend well until fully incorporated.
  9. Add eggs, onions and capers to cream cheese.
  10. Fold the added ingredients into the cream cheese. Hold the bowl at an angle. Using a large spatula, cut into the middle of the mixture. When you reach the bowl’s edge, turn the spatula and slide it along the inner edge of the bowl so that you move the bottom of the batter onto the top. Repeat the movement until the added ingredients are incorporated into the cream cheese.
  11. Measure out 40 grams fish roe. Make sure to drain any excess liquid before measuring. Add fish roe to cream cheese mixture.
  12. Fold fish roe into the cream cheese mixture. Repeat the movement shown in Step 10 until incorporated. Fold with a light touch to avoid bursting the fish roe.
  13. Use your preferred assembly procedure.

Mold Assembly Procedure

  1. Get a 2-cup capacity bowl and line with cling wrap.
  2. Line the bottom of the bowl with remaining 20 grams fish roe.
  3. Gently spoon the cream cheese mixture on top.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Carefully remove top cling wrap cover.
  6. Carefully unmold onto a serving plate. First, place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Make sure the bowl is in the center of the plate. Quickly flip to have the bowl on top of the plate. Place the plate on a table or other level surface. Carefully remove the bowl. Carefully remove the cling wrap.
  7. Add your favorite crackers, Melba toast, or Poffertjes to the serving plate. You can use one or any combination of bread, crackers, or pancakes to line the serving tray.
  8. Serve.

 Glass Bowl Assembly Procedure

  1. Get a glass bowl with a 2-cup capacity.
  2. Fill glass bowl with cream cheese mixture.
  3. Top cream cheese mixture with remaining 20 grams fish roe.
  4. Cover with cling wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  6. Carefully remove top cling wrap cover.
  7. Serve with your favorite crackers, Melba toast, or Poffertjes on a separate serving plate. You can use one or any combination of bread, crackers, or pancakes.
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