There really isn’t anything much better than lazing around on a warm sunny Sunday summer afternoon (say that 10 times!), typing a blog post with the rich scent of fresh baked bread lingering in the air.
It seems right to celebrate Papa Day with something simple. Simple, but special. After all, Papa Day is really just a day to remind all of us how grateful we are for all those seemingly simple tasks that our dads do for us daily. Well… that, or it is a day created and promoted by Hallmark and other big corporations to sell cards and fatherly merchandise.
To quote a great man I know (my dad), “Everyday should be Fathers Day.” And so, it is in this spirit, that I spend this consumerism-sanctioned holiday by celebrating the simple. In food terms: simple Homemade Honey Infused Bread Loaf. Of course, me being me, I can’t resist just stopping there. (Geez, it IS Fathers Day after all). So I have also prepared a Kaya Jam to spread on some freshly toasted homemade bread.
If you haven’t tried Kaya jam before, you are in for a treat! Kaya jam is a rich coconut custard jam spread that is a household staple in Southeast Asia. It’s one of those “How my mother used to make it” food item, so each household makes their Kaya somewhat differently. Compared to the average American/Canadian pantry, this recipe will include 2 relatively exotic ingredients, but they are quintessential to the flavour of this Kaya jam, so hunting for these ingredients are highly recommended!!
The Pandan Leaf, has been compared to the vanilla bean in terms of its use and importance in Southeast Asian desserts. It has a very clean, subtle, fragrant flavour that reminds me of the sweet smell of jasmine rice with a slightly savoury kick. It can be found in most Asian Grocers. Your grocer may label Pandan Leaves with a different name, but it will usually go under its Vietnamese name (La Dua) or it’s Thai name (Bai Toey Hom Long).
The next exotic ingredient on the list is Palm Sugar, also known as Coconut Sugar (although the latter is somewhat of a misnomer). Palm Sugar comes from palm trees that produce coconut, not the coconut itself. Once the palm tree sap is collected to make Palm Sugar, the tree can no longer give coconuts. Palm Sugar has an intense coconut flavour and is added to the recipe to give it an additional coconut *umph!* as well as to sweeten the jam. Make sure to buy palm sugar that is in it’s granulated form or you won’t be having a great time trying to hack the big block of palm sugar. Palm sugar can be found in many Asian Grocers or health food stores.
It does seem like a lot of work for just toast and jam, but I assure you it is totally worth it!
Here you go, another Nommy Noms Recipe(s):
Honey Infused Bread Loaf
- 1C Warm Milk (~110F/40C)
- 1/3C Warm Water (~110F/40C)
- 3 Tbs Honey
- 2 Tbs Melted Butter (unsalted)
- 3 1/2 C Bread Flour
- 21/4 Tsp Instant/Rapid-rise Yeast
- 2 Tsp Salt
The Fun Part:
- Preheat your oven to 200F/93C with your oven rack set to the lowest position. When oven reaches 200F, leave the oven on for 10 minutes and then turn it off.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, water, honey and melted butter.
- Combine flour, yeast and salt with a stand mixer (hook attachment), gradually add in milk and let dough come together (~2minutes). Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (~10mins)
- Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for another minute. Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, covering tightly with a cling film and allow it to rise in the warm oven until it doubles in size (~45mins).
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Once the dough has risen and removed from the oven, place a baking stone on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F/177F for 1 hour.
- Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a rectangle the size of the loaf pan. The dough should be about 1 inch thick.
- With the long side of the dough rectangle facing you, roll the dough towards you to form a firm cylinder. Make sure that the dough is taut by tucking the dough in as you roll it towards yourself.
- Turn the seam side up and pinch the dough to close the seam. Then Transfer to the oiled loaf pan, seam side down. Cover and let rise in room temperature for 20-30 minutes until doubled in size. Make sure to oil the side of the cling film that faces the rising dough to prevent the dough from sticking to the film!
- When ready to bake, place an empty pan/tin on one side of the baking stone and pour in about 2 cups of boiling water (this creates moisture in the oven that makes the bread happy!). Place the loaf on the baking stone, next to the tin of boiling water. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
- Let the loaf cool inside the tin for 5 minutes, and then transfer it to a wire rack to continue cooling. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving! (About 2 hours).
Kaya Jam (Coconut Custard Jam)
- 4 Egg Yolks (from Large eggs, at room temperature. Use duck eggs if possible.)
- 4 ½ Tbsp Granulated Palm Sugar
- 3 ½ Tbsp White Sugar
- 200mL Good Quality (Ie. Thick) Coconut Milk
- 5-6 Green Pandan Leaves
- 1/8 t Salt
The Fun Part:
- In a small bowl, mix together the palm and white sugar. Tie Pandan leaves into knots (this allows easy removal from the coconut mixture later on).
- In a small sauce pan, mix the coconut milk, half of the sugar mixture, salt and knotted pandan leaves. Ensure the pandan leaves are submerged in the coconut milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then remove the saucepan from the heat source, cover with a lid and let the pandan leaves steep in the coconut milk mixture for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium stainless steel bowl. Add the remaining sugar, and mix until incorporated.
- Once the pandan leaves have finished steeping, remove and discard. Make sure to squeeze out any of the coconut milk mixture that may be clinging onto the pandan leaves to avoid wasting any of the mixture. If you are good with chopsticks, this can be easily done by sliding a pair of chopsticks along the length of the leaf.
- Temper the egg yolk mixture by adding about a quarter cup of the coconut milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture while continuously whisking. Once incorporated, add in the rest of the coconut milk mixture. The mixture should be watery, smooth and not curdled.
- In another saucepan (large enough so that the medium stainless steel bowl containing the coconut custard mixture can sit atop of it), boil about an 1.5 inches of water.
- *This is the most time consuming step that requires your undivided attention!! So make sure you have at least 20 minutes to spare to concentrate on the custard* Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and set the steel bowl of custard on top of the saucepan. The steel bowl should NOT be able to directly touch the water in the saucepan. Whisk continuously to prevent curdling for 15-25 minutes. You should see the originally watery mixture thicken up by the 10 minute mark. Whisk until the mixture is thick enough such that a trail of the custard remains for at least 10 seconds.
- Once at the right consistency (when a trail of the kaya remains on top of the kaya mixture for more than 10 seconds *see picture above), remove the stainless steel bowl from the water bath and cool down in a cold water bath. (You can place ice and water in another bigger bowl and nestle your thickened coconut custard jam around the ice bath). Whisk continuously until cooled.
- Jar the jam and/or spread it on salted buttered toast. Enjoy!
- If using canned coconut milk, you should find a thick layer of coconut cream on the top layer of the can. Mix the coconut cream with the coconut milk underneath before use!
- If you get a bunch of Pandan leaves, use the ones that are a deeper green. Paler leaves (ie younger leaves) don’t have much flavour, so a more greener, more mature leaf is recommended!
- Pandan leaves are knotted for easy removal! As pandan leaves wilt in the hot coconut mixture, it leaves may disintegrate and the knot keeps the threads together for easy removal.
- Traditionally, Kaya Toast is served with a side of soft poaches or soft fried eggs drizzled with sweet soy.