This is the treat that appeals to people who have a sweet tooth and people who decidedly do not. It might even be the treat to sway people who profess not to love coconut, since it’s largely cut with mild and homey-tasting cream of wheat. It’s subtlety makes it a people-pleaser, being sweet but not cloying, without chocolate, lemon or other pronounced flavour to form any opinions about, and it’s served in tiny, non-committal squares. But it’s not wishy-washy either. The texture is distinct, a little crumblier than you’d expect at first but still delightfully chewy and it wants to be enjoyed with a hot, black tea or coffee. The satisfying mechanics of eating it alone is a big part of the appeal. Crumble, chew, sip, swirl, repeat. While I might want to eat these in contemplative solitude, my mom, whose recipe this is, says this is party food. This guarantee closed the email in which she sent me her recipe: “Serve this at any party and everybody will love you-young and old alike”.
150 ml sweetened condensed milk
1/2 lb sugar
2 tbs water
1/2 lb unsweetened, desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut
115 g cream of wheat (also called rulang or semolina)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add the condensed milk, sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined and until the mixture completely pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
Lightly oil a cutting board and a piece of parchment paper. Turn coconut mixture out onto the board and cover with the parchment paper. Press down on the paper carefully (the mixture will still be fairly hot) and smooth it out into a 1-inch thick square, straightening the edges as you go. Discard parchment paper and allow the mixture to cool and dry for about ten minutes before slicing into 1-inch squares. Leave for ten more minutes to allow the cut sides to dry slightly before lift squares off and onto a serving tray. Can be made a few days in advance and stored refrigerated in an air-tight container with parchment paper between the layers.