Get crack­ing

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE - By MARTY THYME

CO­CONUT milk is present in so much of our food – from break­fast, lunch and din­ner dishes to snacks and desserts – that we Asians prob­a­bly have the in­gre­di­ent run­ning though our veins.

As with cream (and but­ter) in French dishes, co­conut milk adds rich­ness and makes our lemak dishes what they are.

Now, the French may not be known for us­ing much, if any, co­conut milk in their cook­ing, but what if we took a dessert that is quintessen­tially theirs and paired it with an omnipresent Malaysian in­gre­di­ent?

One re­sult is co­conut crème brûlée. If you like co­conut, your heart will skip a beat when you eat this – which may have a lit­tle to do with the rich­ness of the dish but also every­thing to do with how crack­ing good it is.

The best su­gar to use for the top­ping is de­mer­ara su­gar. It’s not al­ways easy to get so I tested the recipe with other types of (lo­cal) su­gar – fine, coarse, white and brown – and used a blow torch and an oven grill to caramelise it. The best re­sult is coarse white su­gar, and a blow torch caramelises the su­gar quickly and evenly. The grill is fine although it takes a lit­tle longer. Keep a close eye on the ramekins in the oven and turn them oc­ca­sion­ally for even brown­ing.

The recipe for Co­conut Crème Brûlée is eas­ily dou­bled. I used 150ml ramekins, which make three serv­ings. That’s one each for the part­ner and you, and an ex­tra one to fight over. I say just hide it in the fridge for later. n Marty blogs at mar­tythyme.

Co­conut Crème Brûlée

Makes 3 serv­ings 100ml thick co­conut milk 125ml whip­ping cream 3 tbsp caster su­gar ¼ tsp co­conut essence Pinch of salt 3 medium egg yolks ¼ tsp corn­flour 2 tbsp coarse white su­gar Des­ic­cated co­conut, toasted Com­bine the co­conut milk and cream. Pour half into a saucepan with the su­gar, co­conut essence and salt; heat un­til just be­fore boil­ing point. Re­move from heat and add the re­main­ing co­conut milk and cream.

Mean­while, pre­heat the oven to 150°C, put a ket­tle of water on and place three 150ml ramekins in a roast­ing tin. Beat the egg yolks and corn­flour to­gether in a medium bowl un­til com­bined. Grad­u­ally whisk the co­conut mix­ture into the eggs. Pour into the ramekins (they can be al­most to the top as the cus­tards will sink slightly when cooked).

Trans­fer the bak­ing pan to the oven and care­fully pour enough boil­ing water into the pan to reach half­way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the cus­tards un­til the cen­tres are just barely set, 30-35 min­utes. Care­fully re­move the ramekins and let the cus­tards cool to room tem­per­a­ture. Cover the ramekins tightly with cling film and re­frig­er­ate un­til cold, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Just be­fore serv­ing, re­move cling film and blot the top of the cus­tards dry with a pa­per towel. Sprin­kle coarse su­gar evenly over the cus­tard; wipe away any su­gar on the in­side rim of the ramekins. Caramelise with a blow torch or un­der a grill. Serve sprin­kled with toasted co­conut.

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