Tuesday, 22 December 2015

christmas baking series - goan coconut cake (baath)

So boys and girls, it’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas. I’m sure we’ve all had our fill of mince pies and and biscuits. I certainly have! I have indulged so much the past few weeks that I could almost hang my head in shame. Almost. For my Christmas baking series I wanted to have a few dishes reflective of Christmas around the globe and naturally being of Bengali origin I wanted to give you all a recipe for a south Asian Christmas. As we all know Indian/Bengali sweets primarily consist of mithai such as gulab jamun, burfis and jilebi – which aren’t Christmas per se as they are eaten ALL the time. Trust me when I tell you ALL the time.
Whether it’s to celebrate a wedding, festival or religious occasion we bring out the mithai, and in huge quantities. Anyway enough about that because I can go on all day about one of my favourite sweets.

The Portuguese influence in Goa has produced many lovely things including baath cake - similar to the Portuguese bolo de coco, which is slightly richer.  This cake is a favourite during Christmas and reflective of the huge abundance of coconut available due to the fact that Goa is a coastal state. Although it’s not that difficult to get hold of fresh coconut, it is difficult to crack one open and extract the coconut meat and coconut cream.  So I’ve saved you (and myself) the bother and opted for desiccated coconut and coconut milk, which is still delicious. You really must ensure to make the batter and soak at least six hours or overnight to create the perfect crumb, as the semolina has time to absorb the liquid and soften - raw tasting semolina is not nice. The slight aroma of rose water adds a lovely exotic taste and really sets this cake apart. You can leave it out but you'll be missing out! 

Adapted from Hilda's Touch of Spice and A Brown Table

Ingredients (makes 24 pieces)
2 medium free range eggs
220g fine semolina
50g cornflour
70g dessicated coconut
1 ½ tbs rosewater
250ml coconut milk
70ml rapeseed oil
230g granulated sugar

In a bowl whisk eggs with sugar and add oil and coconut milk, making sure everything is blended together.

Add the semolina, rosewater and coconut along with the cornflour and mix everything together to a smooth thick batter.

Leave the batter 6 hours to overnight in the fridge so that the semolina has a chance to soften and absorb some of the liquid. This ensures a softer crumb.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190/170 fan/gas mark 5.

Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a good mix to loosen the mixture. Pour into a greased and lined 20cm square baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cut into squares and serve either warm or cooled with lots of tea! 

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