Coconut Creme Caramel
Coconut trees in the light breeze, turquoise blue sea, bright sun and white sandy beach. Such a heavenly picture—almost certainly a stereotype. Still if I have to imagine what would be heaven , that will be it. of course, when we talk about heaven, each person has different ideas. In Quran its heaven would be a big lush green garden with loads of fruit trees and fountain with flowing water. Obviously that would be the heaven for desert people. Ain’t that suppose to be for everyone? The next step would be starting to question all Monotheistic religions—which we will definitely NOT go into details here, just to let you know how my train of thoughts hops from one thing to somewhere very faraway !
Dotted on tropical postcard-picturesque shorelines, coconut trees can also grow inland as long as there is adequate climate – warm throughout the year and regular rainfall. Although coconut is part of the palm family, Mediterranean climate is in general too dry for it. Coconut fruits are by design avid sea travellers. They can be floating for months, land where the ocean current brings them, sometimes on the other side of the earth. With the aid of travelling seamen, coconut can be found all over the tropics from South Asia to African coast, from Caribbean to North Australia and Pacific islands.
The greatest thing about coconut, besides looking gorgeous, is its fruit! The small brown coconuts with a rough fibre-covered surface you saw in the supermarkets actually were the big green coconuts with their shell removed. The ‘younger’ the coconuts are, more juice (aka coconut water) they contain; and the flesh (the white part, kernel) is tender. Chilled coconut water makes a wonderfully refreshing summer drinks. Some coconut drinks in cans and the thick white coconut cream for cooking are done by pressing or blending the coconut flesh, later added sugar, water and preservatives. Coconut is highly nutritious. The coconut water contains glucose, fructose, an array of vitamins and minerals; the coconut fresh contains carbon hydrates and coconut oil – both coconut water and fresh have high proteins content.
Even those not-health conscious Hong Kong people would have known something about food remedy—mostly consists of what’s to eat and what’s not to eat in relation to the state of one’s body. It came from thousands of years treating illnesses or body discomfort with plants and everyday food stuff. The advices, pass from one generation to the next by words of mouth, often in parent’s constant nagging: “Don’t eat too much of these…” “Oh god Mum let me be.” In the internet age one can find all kinds of food remedy recipes in one click. Food remedy emphasizes on balance, food stuff are either “hot“ or “cool” and each has its own effect. Coconut (the fresh ones, processed coconut product lost some of its nutrition and contains additives) belong to “hot” family and is good for treating bad appetites and fatigues. Does food remedy really work? It’s up to each person’s body state, the race and the climate, also some common sense will help you tell the true knowledge from here-say (like, eating pig’s brain is great for your brain…) At the end of the day, there’s no harm trying—natural food stuff can do you no wrong.
I LOVE coconut cream –if I have to pick something closest to ‘heavenly taste’ this is it. (For me fresh cream cheese like Philadelphia or Mascarpone are also pretty close to ‘heavenly taste’ but the thing is since I have been living in Europe I found out I am probably cheese intolerant—it does not want to stay another second longer in my digestive system—that makes the whole cheese eating experience drastically less heavenly) One can use coconut cream while cooking literally ANYTHING, savoury or sweet. We are presenting a simple dessert recipe this time. To spice up the flan, you can put crushed lemongrass or ginger slices in the syrup and remove it later.
Coconut Creme Caramel
Preparation time: 20 min Cooking time: 50 min Cooling time: 1 hour makes 6 flans
90 g sugar
500 ml coconut milk
½ stick vanilla bean scraped or vanilla sugar
60 g sugar (brown or white)
100 ml water
2 sticks lemongrass (optional)
2 Tablespoons desiccated coconut or coco flakes
Preheat the oven to 160 º
Boil the sugar and the water in saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolved. Reduce heat.
Add the bottom part of the lemongrass sticks cut in half and crushed (opcional) let it cook till it is slightly reduced and syrupy (5-10minutes) Remove lemongrass and let it cool.
Pour the the syrup into ovenproof ramekins and swirl it around till the sides and bottom are coated.
Beat the eggs and sugar in bowl with a mixer.
Heat the coconut milk and scraped vanilla beans (or vanilla sugar) till you see bubbles forming. Pour the hot milk slowly into the egg and sugar mixture whilst mixing.
Pour the milk mixture into the ramekins. Place the moulds into ovenproof dish. Fill the dish at least halfway with water. Put the dish with the moulds into preheated oven, cover with foil and cook for about 50 minutes (or till cooked)
Remove the ramekins from the oven. Cool down.
Run a knife around the edges of the flans, turn onto dessert plates and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.