The Pan de Coco is a soft bun with sweetened coconut filling that is perfectly good for breakfast or snacks. It is a popular Filipino snack sold in most of the local bakeries that can be found in almost every street in the Philippines. Although bread promotes an iconic status in our food culture, Filipinos cannot claim the monopoly of Pan de Coco or even its origin because the word "Pan" is a Spanish word meaning "Bread".
However, the Honduran version, does not include a filling but instead incorporates coconut flakes into the dough itself and it is not sweet as a counterpart of the Filipinos. Here in the UAE there are Filipino bakeries that make Pan de Coco and they mix it with cheese, so it tastes even better. This version of filled Pan de Coco is 100% Filipino style.
This is how Dough is Made
1. I did use All-Purpose flour for this is works well for soft rolls like coconut bread, instead of bread flour and whole wheat flour. But bread flour and whole wheat are the best suited for chewy, crusty bread.
2. I did use active dry yeast typically needs to be dissolved in water. While instant dry yeast can be mixed directly with flour. Always follow the instruction for the Yeast.
3. To check if the yeast is good and not expired, do a test. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar in half a cup of warm water. The yeast should be completely dissolved in water, and the mixture should bubble after 3 to 5 minutes.
4. You must use lukewarm milk and It should warmer than your body temperature but not hot.
Here are the Tips if there is a Problem
1. If the bread becomes hard and dry, or too dense, it may be a sign of over-kneaded dough or maybe lacking in liquid. It should be smooth and elastic. Not dry and not too cunning.
2. If the dough didn't rise, this could be because the yeast is no longer active or expired. Make sure to do a test before proceeding with the recipe.
3. If your kitchen is too cold and lacks warm temperature that yeast needed the dough to rise; cover the bowl with thick clothes for 20 minutes until double its size.
The Coconut Fillings
1. The filling is traditionally made with freshly-grated coconut meat, but we're using desiccated coconut in this recipe because it is has a longer shelf life and more accessible, especially for those who are not in the Philippines like me.
2. If you prefer to use fresh coconut, reduce the amount of milk to be used, ½ cup for every 2 cups of coconut because desiccated coconut tends to absorb more liquid.
INGREDIENTS:|For the Dough|For the Filling|For the Egg Wash|
|- 4 cups all-purpose flour|- 2 cups desiccated coconut|- 1 egg, beaten|
|- ¾ cup sugar|- ¾ cup brown sugar, unpacked|- 1 tablespoon water|
|- ¼ ounce instant dry yeast|- 1 cup milk or coconut milk|
|- 1 ¼ cups lukewarm milk|- 1 cup water|
|- ½ cup vegetable oil|- 3 tablespoons butter|
|- ½ teaspoon salt|- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract|
|- 1 tablespoon flour, dissolved in ¼ cup milk|
INSTRUCTIONS:1. In a large bowl, combine and mix the flour and sugar. Then, add the instant dry yeast and mix.
2. Slowly add the lukewarm milk, vegetable oil, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or spatula or large spoon, mix until it sticks together and forms a dough.
3. Turn the dough on a flat surface and knead for 5 minutes. Avoid adding more flour or the bread will be too dense and crumbly. If it is too sticky, apply some oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. If it is too dry, add a bit of oil to the dough. As you continue kneading, the dough should be less tacky and easier to handle.
4. Place the dough in a greased stainless steel bowl and cover with a clean thick kitchen towel. Leave it to rise for 45 minutes to an hour or until it has almost doubled size.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a pan, combine desiccated coconut, brown sugar, coconut milk, water, butter, and vanilla extract. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
6. Cook until liquid is almost absorbed. If you prefer the filling to be more dense and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of melted flour to ¼ cup of milk after absorbing the liquid. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 2-3 minutes or until thick and sticky. Remove filling from heat and allow to slightly cool.
7. Gently deflate the dough and tip it to a flat surface. Roll into a log and cut it into half. Roll each half again and cut into two. Divide each log into 6 equal parts for a total of 24 pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a kitchen towel and let rest for at least 3-5 minutes.
8. Flatten each dough with the palm. Hold the flattened dough in the curve of your hand and add about 1 tablespoon of coconut filling in the center. Pinch the corners together to fully enclose the filling.
9. Arrange the filled dough, pinched side down, on a baking sheet at about 1 inch apart. Using a fork, poke small holes in the center of each filled dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for another 20-30 minutes.
10. Bake in a 340 F oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with egg wash. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy and serve hot with coffee or tea! (^_^)