Whip up a dessert with wow fac­tor

Straw­ber­ries, co­conut cream, meringue and mint make an ex­otic mousse

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

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

10 mins

0 mins

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)

Method

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.

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