Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pani Popo - Samoan Coconut Buns

For quite a few years, my mom has made the most incredible dinner rolls ever.  Honey rolls.  These rolls are frequently requested and loved by all who eat them.  These rolls are so good that I have incorporated them into my regular baking repertoire. However, pride goeth before the fall, as they say, and (sorry, Mom) but I think that the honey buns have fallen.  Not far, mind you, maybe to spot number two.  Right behind Pani Popo.  As soon as I saw the recipe, my first thought was that they are just like the honey rolls, except with coconut instead of honey, and since I am a lover of all things coconut, these shot right to the top of my "to bake" list (yes, I actually do have a list).

These rolls are light and tender, with a subtle hint of vanilla.  The coconut sauce is poured over the top of the rolls before baking, so when they come out of the oven there is a golden brown, thin skin of sticky glaze.  The first thing out of my mouth after I put these buns in my mouth?  "Can I be Samoan?"

Pani Popo - Samoan Coconut Buns
Recipe slightly adapted from KAF

Sweet Yeast Dough:
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
2 large eggs
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) dry milk powder
1/4 cup (1 13/4 ounces) granulated sugar
3 1/2 (14 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Coconut Sauce:
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
pinch of salt

Mix together the dough ingredients and knead together, either by hand, mixer, or bread machine.  The dough should form a soft, smooth ball, and may stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.  While the dough rises, grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces, and form each piece into a ball.  Place the rolls in the pan, spacing them evenly so they are not touching.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

During the last 15 minutes of the rise time, make the coconut sauce.  Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until thickened and just beginning to bubble.  Pour the warm sauce evenly over the risen buns and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns are golden brown.  Serve the buns warm from the pan, spooning the sauce onto the rolls.  Makes 12 buns.

Enjoy!  -Cardamommy


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