08 June 2015

Thai Sandwich Cake (Ka-Noom-Pan Sungkayha)

Vacation Bible School (VBS) has changed a lot since I was a kid.  I remember just hanging out in the church basement singing "This Little Light of Mine" and "I've Got the Joy".  We'd drink some Little Hug Fruit Barrels, eat some duplex cookies, watch our teachers act out a few Bible stories, and be on our merry way.
VBS of today is a little more complex, at least at my church.  This year, we are doing a Cross-Culture Thailand theme and I happily volunteered to be in charge of snacks.  It has been said that you have to taste a culture to understand it, and I wanted to bring that mentality to the snacks we would serve.  Having no prior experience with preparing Thai cuisine, and minimal experience even eating it, I knew I had a challenge in front of me. 
I took to the internet to do my research. I found that most Thai snacks and desserts are sweet and filling, as opposed to a light and airy Western style dessert. They generally are characterized by sweet syrups, coconut cream, tropical fruits, and sweet sticky rice.  There were so many exotic dishes to choose from, and I had to keep in mind that I needed to make approximately 300 servings, so simplicity was an important factor, as well.
The first snack I decided upon was a Thai Sandwich Cake I found on Appon's Thai Food.  This definitely fit the bill in terms of simplicity.  It is basically just a coconut pudding layered between pieces of bread.  Score!  I am also grateful that I have a digital scale and a measuring cup with milliliters displayed.  I wasn't thrilled with the notion of trying to figure out .71 cups of sugar.
Not only simple, the cake is delicious.  The pudding isn't too sweet and the coconut flavor is front and center.  I found a lot of people who say they don't like coconut, did in fact enjoy this dessert.  I think it's because there is no shredded coconut in the pudding, and sprinkling it on top is optional.  I think it's the texture of shredded coconut most people don't like, not necessarily the flavor.  I won a lot of people over to coconut with this one.
My first foray into the world of Thai cuisine was a success, and I owe it all to VBS.  There will be no duplex cookies for our Thai themed Vacation Bible School (much to some people's dismay), though I may keep the Little Hug Fruit Barrels around just for the sake of nostalgia.
Thai Sandwich Cake ( Ka-Noom-Pan Sungkayha)

Ingredients for 5 Cakes
1.1 cup (250 ml) Coconut Milk
.71 cup (150 gm) Sugar
.85 cup (200 ml) Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
2-3 Drops Green Food Color

10 Slices of Bread
Desiccated Coconut for Garnish

1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the bread and desiccated coconut in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.
2. Heat the mixture on low for 15 minutes, stirring continuously, until it becomes thick and doesn't run if you swipe your finger across the back of your spoon.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool
4. Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and layer the bread and sauce alternately, with the top layer being the sauce.
5. Dust with dried coconut as desired.

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