It was raksha bandhan last week – the festival to celebrate the brother-sister bond.
As kids, we used to meet at my grand mom’s house and tie rakhi’s to all brothers. And coconut barfi was the sweet of the day. Sweet coconut rice used to part of the ensuring dinner.
I don’t know why coconut is so important but it did feature on the menu.
Varun’s cousin sisters sent him rakhi this year. To celebrate the occasion I wanted to make something with coconut. I find both coconut rice and barfi to be too sweet for my taste. So instead to make something not too sweet, I made coconut flan.
Now, flan’s, like soufflé’s, are temperamental. Sometimes they don’t set, other times they get soup-y, or they can be egg-y ( if that’s a word!). Also water baths sound very terrifying.
Fortunately, I have a recipe that does not fail. I have tried this several times over the years and it has never failed me. And if you are careful with hot water bath and caramel it is not very daunting task.
The flavors of coconut are subtle so don’t skip this even if you otherwise hate coconut. The flan is creamy but not too rich or sweet. It’s that perfect dessert , made individual servings or as a whole which never fails to impress.
What are you waiting for, give it a try!! Am sure you will make it as often as we do!
Coconut Flan Recipe
- 1/2 cup sugar ( for caramel)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup 2 % milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup brown sugar ( for custard)
- 1 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract ( or 1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped)
- 2 cups water (for water bath)
1. Heat the sugar with water in a saucepan on medium heat till it melts. It will caramelize into golden brown syrup. You will see big bubbles forming. Take it off the heat at this point and pour the caramel into individual ramekins or a pie dish.
Caramel is very hot, so don’t touch it. Be very careful handling it. It hardens as it cools.
Set the ramekins (or pie dish) aside to cool.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C ( or 350 F)
Set water to boil in another saucepan for the water-bath
3. Bring the coconut milk and milk to a light boil in another saucepan. In the meantime, whisk the eggs with sugar and rum. Add a spoonful of milk to the eggs mixture and whisk.
This will help the eggs consume the hot milk without scrambling the eggs.
Add milk bit by bit and whisk well.
4. Pour the custard mixture in the containers
Place the custard containers in a deep baking pan
5. Place the dish in oven and then pour the water in to the base dish till it comes up half way to the custard containers.
Be careful. Hot water and hot oven should be handled carefully!
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes till the custards are baked and a toothpick inserted in the center comes off clean.
7. Take the custard ramekins out one by one and let them cool on counter top before letting them chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours ( overnight preferred).
8. Run a knife along the edge of the containers, invert and serve with some fresh coconut for garnish.
What do you do when its summer, hot and mangoes are in season?
Besides the usual way to of eating mangoes (slice, dice, juice etc), you make mango popsicles. They are so easy to make. Homemade allows you greater control over the quality of ingredients ( organic, low sugar ) so in general these are healthier than any store-bought ones ( if you at all can find the ones in the flavors you want easily). And they taste of the fruit rather than weird artificial flavors.
I had a can of coconut milk at home so instead of using regular milk/cream I used the coconut cream. That makes this diary free and paleo diet friendly though I suppose you could make the same with greek yogurt as well.
If you don’t have popsicle molds, hmmm…., go get some! They are cheap, fun and kids love them. For the being, if you must make this tonight and don’t have molds, set this in an airtight container. Churn 2 – 3 times. If the coconut cream you use is full fat then you will be rewarded with a creamy mango ice-cream. If it’s a lite version, then it wont be as creamy but finger licking good nevertheless.
And if you are amongst the few who hate the taste of coconut, I can assure you the taste is very subtle. It wouldn’t stop me from making this if I were you 😉
The recipe (if mixing few ingredients and sticking them in the freezer in a mold can be called as a recipe ) is below.
Mango Coconut Popsicle Recipe
- 3 cups freshly squeezed mango pulp
- 1 cup coconut cream ( the fatty layer from the top half of can of coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup sugar ( optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Combine the mango pulp with coconut cream and lemon juice. Add sugar if needed depending on how sweet/ sour the mangoes are. Blend. Fill in popsicle molds.
2. Freeze for at least 4 – 5 hours ( to overnight).
3. To de-mold, run the molds under warm water. Remove from the mold with a sharp pull.
Quick. Enjoy before they melt!
We moved offices last week at work and a couple of folks asked me when I would bring in sweets to inaugurate my new office. I didn’t really plan on any such thing but do I really need an excuse to bake?
I had a fresh pineapple at home, Vipul was working over the weekend, Varun was asleep – so it was meant to be. A quick search led to many recipes on Pineapple cake but I wanted a bread or a loaf recipe. Some tweaks led me to recipes that needed coconut milk, bananas or sour cream – none of which I had on my hand. I only had pineapple, eggs, whole wheat flour and bit of desiccated coconut.
I was about to give up when I found one recipe which had these ingredients and then I followed it. The bread came out to be lightly pineapple-y and crumbly but tasty nonetheless.
I let it cool overnight before bringing it to work. It was a perfect start to a Monday morning meeting. Totally unexpected, low in sugar and with a crumbly texture. Low efforts and high returns! Make sure you have enough napkins on hand to avoid crumbs all over your office floor!
Excuse the poor mobile camera photos – I didn’t realize that the loaf would be gone before I could take any decent pictures.
Crumbly Whole Wheat Pineapple Bread Recipe
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pineapple chunks ( drained if canned)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
2. Sift and mix all the dry ingredients from whole wheat flour through cinnamon and set aside.
3. Beat the eggs with butter till pale yellow. Then add sugar and beat till smooth. Mix in the vanilla.
4. Fold in the egg mixture with the flour mix. Add pineapples and mix well.
5. Pour the mix into loaf pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
6. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool completely before slicing. Serve with coffee or tea as the perfect afternoon snack!