Coconut palms line the sandy shores of Samoa, and coconuts are used to make one of the country’s favourite sweets, fa’ausi. It consists of a creamy caramel made with coconut milk, the sugar traditionally caramelised over hot rocks. This mixture is then poured over cubes of baked taro or fa’apapa, rock-hard coconut bread, which hold their shape when soaked with caramel.
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 375 ml (1½ cups) coconut milk
Fa’apapa (coconut bread)
- 335 g (2¼ cups) plain flour
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 75 g (¾ cup) moist coconut flakes (see Note), plus extra, to serve
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 30 minutes
Standing time 1 hour
Preheat oven to 200°C. To make coconut bread, combine flour, sugar, coconut flakes and baking powder in a bowl. Add coconut milk and mix to form a sticky dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half, and using lightly floured hands, shape each portion into a 4 cm-thick rectangle and place in the centre of 2 large sheets of greased baking paper. Fold the paper into a parcel to fully enclose dough; folding ends to secure. Place parcels on a large baking tray and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cool completely before cutting into rough 4 cm pieces.
Meanwhile, to make coconut caramel, place sugar and 60 ml (¼ cup) water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, for 6 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Remove from heat and gradually add coconut milk; be careful as mixture will spit. Return to medium heat and stir until well combined and smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
Place bread pieces on a large tray or shallow serving bowl and pour over caramel. Set aside, turning occasionally, for 1 hour or until bread has absorbed caramel. Sprinkle with extra coconut flakes to serve.
• Moist coconut flakes are sweetened, and are available from supermarkets. Substitute shredded coconut.
Photography Ben Dearnley. Food preparation Kirsten Jenkins. Styling Justine Poole.
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2014, Issue 36.