Cuisine in the United States varies drastically between regions. While the Midwest is know for hot dishes and corn, the East Coast is better known for its lobster rolls and cheesesteaks, and the West Coast known for its tacos and seafood chowder.
Hawaii brings its own unique flavors to the palette, being essentially its own region and state. The tropical fruit that naturally grows there was the inspiration for this American challah. It is a coconut and brown sugar dough filled with tart and sweet pineapple preserves.
Who needs the long flight, when this challah will make you feel like you're on a tropical vacation?
3 Teaspoons instant yeast
⅓ Cup brown sugar
½ Teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup margarine, melted
½ Cup warm water
½ Cup coconut milk
½ Cup shredded coconut (I like the super finely shredded coconut)
3-4 Cups flour
1 Pineapple cut into chunks
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ Cup sugar
¼ Cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons water mixed together
Cut the pineapple into large chunks and place into a large pan with vanilla, sugar and water. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer until it thickens. Place in the fridge and let it cool completely.
To make the dough, whisk egg, salt, melted margarine, sugar, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proofed, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 3 equal portions. Shape each of the three portions into a long rope. Flatten each rope and place the cooled pineapple in a thick line in the middle of each. Pinch the challah together to form a rope.
Using your palm, press the three ropes together at the top and begin to braid the dough. Once finished braiding, tuck each of the ends under to create a more finished/clean look. Let proof for another 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
NOTES: Do not try to slice the bread right when it comes out of the oven. If you are storing the bread to eat later, make sure it is fully cooled before you put it into any kind of container or it will create condensation that will lead to mold.