Hello! What a long week it has been! How is everyone? I don’t know how it feels for other food bloggers, but sometimes for me it feels rather odd to blog about something like pastry cream when there are a number of serious current events in one’s country and around the world. Does that make sense? I don’t know. But anyway here I am talking about pastry cream. And cake. It’s something I grew up with. Sort of. I modified it a little.
Latiya! This is my take on a popular Guam dessert recipe. The typical latiya is basically a pound or sponge cake with pastry cream that is sprinkled with a fair amount of ground cinnamon on top. My take was to make it dairy-free and gluten-free, and to add some fruit and make a coconut flavored cake and also add some coconut flakes on top. Sort of a latiya plus!
I chose mango for the fruit because I love the combination of sweetness with a touch of tartness in mango. I also felt it blends well or complements the flavor of the coconut elements in this dessert without overpowering it.
But if you’re a Guam recipe purist, just leave out the mango and coconut flakes. You’ll still have a very nice dairy-free and gluten-free dessert, and one that doesn’t taste odd, or like it’s missing something.
I made this a couple of times, once as individual trifles, and another in this current form. I think I prefer this form, because it’s just the right amount per serving, whereas the individual serving sizes where a little much per serving. I used custard glasses that were too large, and while they looked impressive, I noticed our dinner guests struggling to finish it. Which is not a good thing! You don’t want your dinner guests to have to work to finish dessert. They were all so very quiet. When dinner guests go quiet at dessert, it might be that the dessert is either really good, or a disappointment. I think it was the latter. Ha!
So the serving portions were too large the last time, but I think It was also because I used canned mangoes. Do not make this with canned mangoes! It would be better to just leave it out if canned is all you have. Because canned mangoes are nowhere near as good as fresh ripe mangoes. Just saying.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
Coconut Mango Latiya Cake (adapted from this epicurious recipe)
1 + ¾ cups almond flour, sifted
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 eggs, room temperature, separated
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted, with 1 Tablespoon separated out for the egg whites
2 Tablespoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
dairy-free, gluten-free pastry cream *(see recipe below)
mango puree and cubed mango*(see recipe below)
toasted flaked coconut* (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottoms and sides of a 13X9X2 rectangular pan with canola oil. Sift the flours and salt together into a bowl and stir with a whisk to incorporate completely. Set aside.
Carefully separate the room temperature eggs into separate bowls of egg whites and egg yolks.
Combine the yolks with the sugar into a large bowl and beat with a hand held mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. You want the ribbon effect. Ribboning describes how the batter, when it drops from the beaters, sort of folds back and forth on the surface, much like a ribbon, when you raise the beaters.
Reduce speed to low and beat in all but 1 Tablespoon of the confectioner’s sugar, which will be used for the egg whites. Scrape down the bowl as needed and increase speed to high and beat until pale and thick again, about a minute. Add the flours, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Set Aside.
Using another bowl and hand held mixer with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and start gradually adding the 1 Tablespoon of the confectioner’s sugar, over the course of several minutes. Continue to beat, but increase to medium high and then high only towards the end. If you develop egg whites slowly on medium, they are often a lot more sturdy, which is what you want. When stiff peaks form when you slowly lift the beaters, fold one cup into yolk mixture to lighten and then fold in the rest of the whites, until there are no more white streaks of egg white. You want to work delicately but swiftly, so as not to deflate the egg whites, and you want it to be fully incorporated. This makes for a fluffy more voluminous cake.
Pour into 9-inch by 13-inch pan and level with the back of a spoon or use a small offset spatula. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Surface will be golden brown on top, and spring back when you poke the top with a finger. Leave to cool on a wire rack before using.
For assembly, add first the mango puree to the top of the cake. Do not worry if the cake has shrunk from the sides of the pan, causing the mango puree to drip down between the sides of the pan and the cake. Next, add the chopped mangoes. Spread evenly all over the top of the cake. Add the pastry cream and level the surface evenly using a small offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours to up to a day, to help the pastry cream and cake to meld together somewhat more. Finally add the toasted coconut flakes, but do this only when the dessert will be eaten soon, because they lose their crispiness/crunchiness relatively quickly.
*Dairy-Free Pastry Cream (adapted from this brave tart recipe)
4 large eggs
5 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 (13.5 or 14 ounce) can of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, or 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until combined and free of lumps.
Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly pour 2/3 cup of the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, whisking briskly and constantly, to temper the eggs.
Add tempered egg mixture back into coconut milk on the saucepan on the stove, whisking constantly.
Continue to cook over medium to medium high heat, whisking, until mixture becomes very thick, like a pudding, and big bubbles start happening. Careful not to overdo it, though, as the eggs will cook easily, making it more dense and rubbery.
Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour pastry cream through a fine mesh or sieve into a bowl. This ensures that any cooked egg solids will be removed from the final product. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside in the refrigerator until assembling dessert.
*Chopped Mango and Mango Puree
Peel, pit, and chop 6 mangoes into cubes. Keep about half, preferably the ones that look more cube-like and uniform, and add the other half in a blender and puree it with about 3 tablespoons of agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup, or to taste. Set both aside until assembly.
*Toasted Flaked Coconut
Usually found in the natural foods aisle or section of the grocery store and not the sweetened kind which is usually found in the baking aisle. Take about 2-3 cups, more or less, depending on how crunchy and coconut-y you’d like the dessert to be, and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Place in a 275 degree oven and place on the center rack, watching it carefully so as not to burn it, you want it to be toasted and slightly golden brown on the edges, not the whole thing. This can take anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes, depending on the flakes and the oven.