I looked outside my kitchen window and all I saw was our snow-covered backyard. Through the leafless treetop branches
the blue-grey sky loomed over the ground. But for the sound of a shovel scraping the hard surface outside- as my husband
worked hard to break through sheets of ice- it was a quiet Saturday afternoon. The boys had been out shoveling earlier.
Now, I heard giggles from all three children upstairs: they were probably entertaining themselves watching funny video clips
on the Internet. We were going to get more snow in the evening. I checked the clock above the window- "Three thirty:
there's still time before I start dinner to put together a special treat for the kids- something they really like." I thought
about what would be easy and fast and made my decision.
This dessert is normally meant to be eaten with sweet sticky rice. But sticky rice- cooked in coconut milk,
palm sugar and salt- is already an eyelid-drooping, fast-falling-asleep type of dessert, and therefore I decided
to skip this part, as I'd rather keep the sugar intake level as minimal as possible.
A) Putting a small sauce pan on the stovetop, I dropped in a couple of wedges of palm sugar.
I opened a can of coconut milk and poured it in, along with a dash of salt. I turned the heat on medium and
stirred constantly until the sugar melted. Making sure the heat was turned down further to prevent being
splashed with extremely hot sugary liquid, I tasted and worked more by adding more coconut milk (it ended
up being two cans) and salt. After the mixture reached the proper balance of sweetness, creaminess, with
just a tiny taste of saltiness, I turned off the heat and let it cool.
A side bar note:
You can use refined sugar instead of palm sugar. This way, you can skip the process of cooking the sugar,
coconut milk and salt, and go directly to combining the aforementioned ingredients with eggs in the mixing bowl.
I prefer to add the eggs later, however, because: 1. I like the aroma of palm sugar, and 2. I can add the eggs
afterward, knowing exactly the flavor outcome, therefore taking no risk in guessing how the custard will turn out.
B) I cracked fresh eggs into a mixing bowl. I was planning to bake two pies, as well as another
tray of just the custard, so I used 8 jumbo-sized eggs. You may find that you need to use as many as 10-12 eggs.
If you are not sure, though, start with the lesser quantity. It's important not to make the custard "egg-y": it's
a dessert, after all. Beat and stir gently. I had to be careful with this step, because if I beat too hard the
mixture would be all bubbly, and I did my best to avoid that.
C) I had to try it before I actually baked it in the oven. I put a few teaspoons of the mixture
in a microwave cup and cooked for 15 seconds. At this point, had it smelled "egg-y" I would have had to make more
coconut milk with sugar and salt to add into the mixture. If, on the other hand, it had looked watery and was missing
the savory taste of the eggs, I would have needed to add another egg or two.
It turned out the way I wanted, with just the right level of sweetness and savory taste from the coconut milk and eggs.
My "sungkaya" egg custard pies were ready to be baked.
Another side bar:
Some of us prefer a sweeter taste. I don't want mine too sweet, though, and this makes my dessert different than the
typical Thai taste one finds in Thailand. There, if you have egg custard with sticky rice -aka "kaoniew-sungkaya,"
that comes wrapped inside a fresh, green banana leaf- you will find the aromatic sweetness from the sugar and coconut,
along with the banana leaf, seducing your senses and appetite quite effectively. The way I make it, it still consists
of the same aroma from the sugar and coconut milk, but without the sweet taste, and without the banana leaf. Do adjust
the taste to the way you want.
D) Set the oven anywhere from 375 - 425 degrees and bake for 40 - 55 minutes, depending on your oven.
I set my oven temperature at 400 degrees and baked two pies- on the bottom rack- and one tray of just the custard- on the
top rack- for 45 minutes.
That evening after a light dinner, as the snow came down, we sat inside our warm and aromatic kitchen and enjoyed this
rich dessert. Sungkaya custard helps to put smiles on my children anytime and anywhere. Simple dessert, simply happiness.
The only missing element was our eldest son, Brendan, who happens to love egg custard, but is now away at college.
You were in our thoughts as we savored every bite, Brendan.
Would you like even more fun?
Grab your phone or camcorder, and take a video of your food!
While at it, tell us what you're making and how you're cooking it!
Upload your video on CoffeeTube Videotainment
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Tell your friends and watch the ratings and comments grow!
Mai-Tai Thai Silk Side Dish - Tell stories behind-the-scenes, which includes Thai facts, tips&techniques, and other tidbits.
This is your "side dish".
Chef-Me-Not!! - This is where you find actual recipes, aka. "main dish". I am notorious for laying out a background story,
which can be somewhat annoying for some of you who would rather get right to the actual recipe. Therefore, I will do my best to
separate a story from each recipe.
A Thai soprano from head to toe with an attitude of a no-nonsense entrepreneur
with innovative ideas and, sometimes, shocking approaches, who fits the phrase "been there, done that" perfectly, and is looking forward
to new challenges. A leader, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and, a chef-ME-NOT. All makes a person
who turns every situation into a learning experience, and, is super charged with positive energy.