Ask a Samoan what he did on December 30, 2011 and he will answer that this date never existed!
It sounds crazy, but the Samoans actually went to bed on December 29th only to wake up on the 31st! Until 2011, Samoa was aligned to the United States date, but for commercial reasons, they decided to match Australia and New Zealand (their two main economic partners) by shifting the International Date Line to the west of the archipelago. All watches had therefore to be set 24 hours forward! Talk about savings on that Daylight Savings Date!
The country of Samoa lies in the western part of the archipelago located in Polynesia in the South Pacific, while the eastern part of the archipelago is an unincorporated territory of the US.
The country of Samoa consists of four inhabited islands and six uninhabited small islands. It is located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Human presence in Samoa goes back more than 3,000 years, and its population is the second largest Polynesian population after the Maori people of New Zealand.
Its famous residents include Robert Louis Stevenson, the author including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is possible to visit his home in the town of Vailima, where he lived the last years of his life and where he was nicknamed Tusitala “the storyteller” by the Samoans who were really grateful for his positions in their favor.
With these Samoan fa’ausi, it is not one but two recipes that I invite you to discover.
This Samoan specialty consists in fact of two separate parts that are assembled: fa’apapa, which is a coconut bread and a coconut milk caramel.
At home, I am the only one to enjoy caramel. So I decided to double the ingredients in the fa’apapa recipe so that everyone could enjoy this dessert, with or without caramel.
And I must say that these fa’apapa, sliced and lightly toasted are a real treat for breakfast with butter and jam, or even with Nutella if you believe my daughter Mily.
Actually, I was a little worried that these little fa’apapa breads would be too similar to the Johnny Cakes from Belize, but that was not the case. Even if they look similar on paper, the taste and texture really differ.
As far as the coconut milk caramel, it was something I have wanted to taste for a long time… Very specifically since I discovered a variant with the recipe of faikakai malimali from Tonga. I wonder how I did not come up with the idea of coconut milk caramel before ! This association is a no brainer for a coconut fan like me.
The caramel was a little liquid but this is probably the needed texture for this recipe. I’d be curious to try it with coconut cream instead of coconut milk… It would probably be even tastier if it was a little thicker!
This caramel would surely be delicious with a chocolate molten cake, as an ice cream topping or served with cheesecake… OK, as usual on 196 Flavors, “diet starts tomorrow” or shall we say after tomorrow?
Recipe of Fa’ausi
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Ingredients (for 4 people)
For fa’apapa (coconut bread)
- 2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
For caramel coconut milk
- 1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, shredded coconut and baking powder.
Then add the coconut milk and knead to form a smooth, rather sticky dough.
Separate the dough into two equal parts. Place one of the two parts of dough in the center of a sheet of parchment paper, and flatten to about 1 inch thick giving it a rectangle shape with rounded edges.
Wrap the dough in the parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.
Repeat this process with the remaining half of dough.
Cook fa’apapa in an oven preheated to 400 F for about 35 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Let cool completely, then cut into 1-inch cubes.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat for about 30 minutes until the caramel turns golden brown, by constantly monitoring.
Then carefully add the coconut milk, stir and turn off the heat. Continue stirring until well blended.
Let the caramel cool, then pour it on the fa’apapa cubes in a container. Carefully turn all the cubes over and coat well on all sides with the caramel. Let stand for 1 hour, turning occasionally before serving.
The dessert should be stored in a cool place and enjoyed warmed.