Kaya – Something we so often take for granted back home, but also the kind of food that drives you wild with anxiety when you don’t have it. As the old saying goes… You don’t know how to appreciate something until it’s gone (or in this case, until you’re a few thousand miles away from it)! For the non-Singaporean/Malaysian readers, Kaya is the pride and joy of Singapore and Malaysia, a unique dessert jam primarily made from coconut milk, pandan leaves and eggs. Great on its own, better on hot toast with butter, best in a Kaya Puff! :)
So I was craving for Kaya Puffs so bad… And I made these like a determined desperado. Not from scratch, because I cheated (once again) and used store-bought pastry and ready-made kaya. As a result, it doesn’t quite taste the same as the Kaya Puffs from my childhood, but I was pretty satisfied nonetheless… Special apology to our readers from Malaysia (Ipoh in particular), please don’t slam us for the less than satisfactory Kaya Puffs here!
Ingredients for Kaya Puffs: Makes 5-6 (depending on how big you want the puffs to be)
1 pack store-bought Puff Pastry (approx 375g)
1 pack store-bought Shortcrust Pastry (approx 375g)
1 jar Kaya Jam (any kind Hainanese/Nyonya)
Egg wash (1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon of cold water)
Some plain flour for the kneading and rolling
Baking Parchment Paper (if you don’t have a clean tabletop to roll the dough)
Step-By-Step: Kaya Puffs
Do you wonder why a Kaya Puff has so many layers within it when you sink your teeth into it? That’s because there’re two kinds of dough used. I didn’t actually know this until I started looking at the recipes online!
By the way, the whiter one is the Puff Pastry sheet, which we will be using as the inner dough.
Quick jump in steps here. Roll the Puff Pastry into a ball, then wrap into a bigger ball with the Shortcrust Pastry!
I thought this looked a bit like a human brain! o.O Rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ball slowly. Beautiful hands from #tumtianhui
Wrinkled dry hands from #phangchewfat yours truly.
Roll them into a long sheet. Notice that the two different kinds of dough have merged with some nice looking swirls!
Then roll as tightly as possible. I was obviously not rolling tight enough but be better than me!
Looks like a Swiss Roll! Rest in fridge for another 15 minutes.
You must be wondering why we keep letting the dough rest in the fridge every now and then – With puff pastry and basically any other flaky pastry dough, you’d want to keep the dough cool so that the butter in it doesn’t melt. So that the pastry will rise beautifully without any hindrance (melted butter would stunt the puffing of the pastry)
Cut into 5-6 chunks. Look at those pretty swirls!
This step is going to be a little tricky. Take one of these chunks and make sure the swirls face upwards. Then roll flat accordingly!
Roll longitudinally into an oblong shape somewhat!
This is how we get the beautiful swivels on a Kaya Puff!
Aren’t they lovely? They remind me of the rings on old trees… The more rings, the older the trees. In this case, the more rings the prettier your Kaya Puffs! ;)
And the moment we’d been waiting for… Slam the puffs with the goods! Yes we’d been a bit stingy with the kaya. I am pretty sure a decent Kaya Puff back in Singapore or Malaysia contains at least twice or thrice the amount, but forgive us we were running out. Just don’t be too greedy and put so much that it spills from the sides. It can happen, trust us.
Fold half-up into the familiar triangular shape. Before kneading the sides, dab some egg wash at the inner sides/ends of the pastry to stick the pastry together. If you don’t do that the seams might flare open during baking and destroy the moist kaya within! Pleat the ends.
And they should look like that! On a well greased baking tray, lay them out flat, then drizzle a generous layer of egg wash. Egg wash is paramount – It gives your puffs the glowing sheen and its lovely bronzey-brown colour!
Bake in pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 5 for 15-20 minutes, or less if you want your puffs to be lighter brown in colour. Check constantly if you feel the need to. I was really compulsive and I kept checking because I was so hungry *oh my*
Oohlala! Don’t worry about having the holes in your pastries. The swirls make the puffs more susceptible to such “cracking” but it generally does not affect the taste whatsoever!
Now flip over and do another generous layer of egg wash. bake for 15-20 minutes at Gas Mark 5 again.
I love it very brown… Like very very brown. So I baked it longer than usual.
Until they became these bronze goddesses with golden tans. Yum!
Note: I must specially credit another Malaysian/Singaporean food-blogger Ivy who came up with this recipe! I merely followed the steps and tweaked some things here and there. After looking at her Kaya Puffs you’re sure to despise ours because hers are so gorgeous and so expertly done (especially those challenging pleats at the sides!) For readers who’d want to make your own pastry, she also has tips on doing the real pastry (unlike the few of us who keep cheating on everything haha). She even makes her own Kaya! How incredible. Head over to mysimplefood for the original recipe: http://www.mysimplefood.com/2010/07/kaya-kok-kaya-puff.html
Posted by #phangchewfat