Last week we consumed many many egg whites and so I had a fridge full of little containers of egg yolks. I didn't want to waste them, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them either. Then I remembered this recipe that I'd put off making forever, because it calls for 10 (yeah, that's right, 10!) egg yolks and I couldn't bring myself to separate 10 eggs just for one recipe, but now that they were just sitting there, unused in all their sunny yellowness, I decided the time had come to try it out. And thank goodness I held onto the recipe, because the results are pretty fantastic! That is an actual layer of gooey caramel atop the creamy coconut custard--divine!!
If you like flan, you will love this and short of the caramel, it's a snap to make. If you've never made caramel before, the word is "watchful"--I say that because for a long while you boil and boil the sugar and water and it seems like nothing is happening and then all of sudden, the moment you look away or run to answer the phone, you wind up with a pot of burned bitter unusable caramel. Believe me, I've done it too many times, so no matter what, you're going to keep your eyes glued to the pot, right?!
Once the caramel is made, you very quickly pour it into a square glass or ceramic baking pan. Later when you're all done, you invert the whole thing onto a platter and this becomes your shiny caramel top layer!
The custard is easy to put together--everything just gets beaten, poured over the caramel in the pan and then baked in a water bath for about an hour.
Then you let the whole thing chill overnight and when you wake up, there's coconut creme caramel for breakfast! C'mon, it was a Sunday morning and we'd been eating healthy all week. Plus, we had to at least taste it--for blog-reviewing purposes, of course--can I help it if one spoonful became 5?!
Each bite is silken with the wonderful combination of coconut and caramel. Total comfort food! For even more coconut flavor and texture, you can top it with a bit of sweetened toasted coconut. So, so good!! The perfect reward to eating lots of egg whites, no?
Coconut Creme Caramel
Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 1 hour; Chilling Time: Overnight
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
10 large egg yolks
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups heavy cream
13 ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and have ready an 8 or 9 inch glass or ceramic pan.
2. In a saucepan with high sides, cook the sugar with the water over medium heat. Don't stir it, but do brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals are sticking to the side. Cook until the sugar darkens to a deep rich amber color. This takes anywhere from 12-15 minutes. When sugar starts to darken, lift pan off of heat and swirl around, replacing the pan over the heat for a couple of seconds and then removing it and swirling it around again. You don't want it to get too dark and the process from just right to burned happens very quickly. As soon as caramel is ready, pour it carefully into the pan and set it aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the brown sugar until the mixture is very thick, for about 2 minutes. Add the cream, coconut milk, vanilla and salt and beat well to mix. Pour over the caramel in the pan and smooth the top. Set the dish in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. With the oven rack pulled out a bit and using a kettle or measuring cup with a spout, carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes up halfway on the sides of the dish containing the pudding. Carefully push the oven rack back into the oven, so that no water sloshes into the dish and close the oven door. Bake for 1 hour, until the custard is set all along the outside, but still sort of jiggly in the center. Remove from the water bath and allow to come to room temperature. Then cover with a piece of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Run a knife around the edges of the custard to loosen the sides. Then set the whole thing in a pan of hot water for about 20 seconds. Place a flat platter over the top and invert the whole thing onto the platter, so that the bottom of the pan (the caramel) is now the top. Serve immediately in bowls, topped with the toasted coconut, if desired.
5. Custard keeps in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2011 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.