OK you will be seeing a theme here- coconuts! I seem to be a bit obsessed at the moment. Not sure why! I have actually had a clipping with this recipe sitting around in one of my old recipe folders (I have half a dozen) for quite some years. I think it came from a magazine like Bon Appetit or another American mag. In a former life, I was a librarian and had access to lots of mags and just-published books etc. Wow, I miss that! Anyway, I have always meant to give it a go, and recently Maureen from Orgasmic Chef mentioned that she had had a coconut pudding in the US, so I immediately thought of this recipe and went yes! now is the time. I did a bit of research on the Net and found many variations for it, including adding orange blossom water and lavender (which I must say sounds really interesting-I must give that a try one day).
But I have ended up mostly using a recipe from a Puerto Rican chef, and adding flavours from the old recipe in the clipping. I think it turned out really well; I was a bit surprised to tell you the truth. It has the wobbliness and texture that a good panna cotta should have and rarely does.
Reminiscent of Mrs. Beeton's famous (mis)quote about "first catch your chicken/hare" -(I have a copy of her book and the nearest quote to this says to choose a couple of plump, young chickens), the old recipe I have tells you to "take a clean screwdriver and drive it into the eyes of the coconut." Ooh, makes your eyes water, doesn't it? Well, rather than going coconut-hunting, I bought some coconut milk and cream in tins. This will save you a couple of days at least:) The recipe also tells you to take a hammer and crack open the nut, then separate the shell from the meat and carry on. Mmm, methinks buying coconut chips from the shop will be easier. (I now see that this recipe is actually from an advertisement page sponsored by Puerto Rican Tourism and Puerto Rican Rum!)
1/3 cup cornflour (use gluten-free and you can feed your coeliac friends with this dessert)
1/3 cup water
435mls coconut milk
290mls coconut cream
1/3 cup caster sugar- I used vanilla sugar but you can use plain
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 strips of lemon or lime peel- I had organic limes from my sister-in-law's garden so I used those
2 tbs rum
roasted coconut chips- buy these from your local health/organic store
Put the cornflour and water into a small bowl and whisk till smooth and lump-free
Place this mixture with the coconut milk, cream, sugar, salt and peel into a medium saucepan on medium heat
Whisk together and keep whisking till smooth and bubbling
Let it boil for a couple of minutes while still whisking
Take pan off the heat and stir in the rum
Take out the peel
Let it cool down for a while-maybe 15 minutes or so
You can either pour it into one big lightly greased mould, or 4 smalll moulds or do what I did; take the easy way out and pour it into glasses or ramekins so no unmoulding needed. After all, you only need to do that if you're a Masterchef contestant! It looks great in a martini glass anyway.
Place into the fridge for a few hours, and serve with the cinnamon sprinkled over it, and the coconut chips tossed nonchalantly on top. I think this pudding really needs the rum for flavour and the chips for texture, but you could leave them out or try different flavours. I wonder if you could try dusting very lightly with cocoa and tossing on a few chocolate chips? Not sure; that may be gilding the lily somewhat but it sounds like a Bounty bar to me and that can't be wrong.
|ingredients ready for the pudding|
|on the boil, and then all done!|
|lookin' pretty in their glasses/ramekins, and finally-decorated with cinnamon and coconut chips|
|don't you just love a good jelly mould! (library image)|