Whip up a dessert with wow factor
Strawberries, coconut cream, meringue and mint make an exotic mousse
This exotic yet simple dessert will ‘‘wow’’ those that try it. It is dairy and gluten free, so will suit awide variety of palates and diets. Better still, you can whip this up in no time, especially if you buy the meringues. Don’t feel bad about buying the odd pre-made product like this, we are all busy and if you have read any of Donna Hay cookbooks, she has no shame in using them from time to time.
The name coconut is derived from Portuguese sailors, who back in the 16th Century decided the three small holes in the shell resembled a face. So they in turn named the fruit ‘coco’, meaning ‘grinning face’. The English word nut was added at a later date, although a coconut is technically not a nut but a drupe, from the same family as peaches, cherries and plums.
Coconut based products oscillate between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food camps. As with any food with health benefit claims, it is a polarising topic. The NZ Heart Foundation stands firmly against high consumption of coconut oil, maintaining it is high in saturated fats. The link between saturated fats and coronary heart disease is well established. There is a new law in place in NZ and Australia that will require companies to perform ‘nutrient profiling scoring criterion’ and have health benefits scientifically proven if they are to make specific health claims. A product cannot be too high in saturated fats, sugar or sodium, and given coconut oil is very high in saturated fats, it will be interesting to see where this product sits on the scale once compliance must be met by 2016.
The Heart Foundation claim it is better to use liquid plant oils such as canola and pressed olive and stick to using coconut oil in moderation.
Regardless of all this, coconut oil is fabulous in cooking as it has a wonderful flavour and high burning point, plus the lauric acid in it (once converted by the body) contains both anti viral and anti bacterial properties. Just consume this product with an understanding that it’s not the answer to all your health and dieting woes.
However I digress. We are using coconut ‘cream’ here, again high in fats. So save this little number for special occasions. It must be noted you have to ensure you buy only Kara brand coconut cream when making this recipe. I haven’t been able to find any other brand of coconut cream that will actually whip. Also it must be chilled in order for it to be whipped.
Strawberry and Coconut Mousse with Meringue and Mint Prep Time: Cooking Time: Ingredients
1L Kara coconut cream chilled in fridge for a couple of hours 2 teaspoons icing sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 1 punnet of strawberries diced 2 tablespoons ‘Fresh As’ strawberry powder 1 good handful of mint chopped 1 pack pre-made meringues (need about 6-7)
1. Pour your chilled coconut cream into a bowl. Begin to blend on a medium speed. 2. Pour in your icing sugar, essence and ‘Fresh As’ strawberry powder. Blend until the coconut cream thickens to a mousse like consistency. 3. Crush your meringue into small chunks and fold through mousse. Ensure you leave a little left over to garnish each dish. Fold through strawberries, again leaving enough to garnish each dish. 4. Chop your mint just before serving so it does not discolour. 5. Evenly distribute the mousse among glasses, cups or bowls. Sprinkle over a little meringue, then strawberry, then top with mint. I have drizzled over a little leftover berry juice from another meal to adds some extra vibrancy. Serves 6-8
Lip-smacker: Strawberry and Coconut Mousse with Meringue and Mint.