I am sure your holiday baking is full of cookies and cakes and after spending a lot of time in the kitchen, the last thing you think about is more desserts. Well, what if I were to bring you these two-bite coconut creme brulees and coconut sorbet? Do I see a sparkle in your eyes again? Granted you have to like coconut to begin with but knowing you can keep the cremes plain or flavored to your taste is always a good thing.
Since the weather had been so nice and it felt more like a cool summer day than early December, I brought these along to our weekly get together with the neighbors. We were trying to get in full Christmas mode decorating C’s trees (the party was at her house), drinking egg nogg while the kids were making sandmen instead of snowmen outside. Yet, no one was in the mood for fruitcake, pumpkin roll or chocolate cake. I had just finished a batch of macarons for gift giving and was facing an evil amount of egg yolks, so creme brulees were the obvious choice.
My dear B. hates coconut with a vengeance, not the flavor but the texture, what he calls those gritty shreds, while I on the other hand love it…and love seems like a small word: the scent, the texture, the flavor…everything! I will always remember the day my dad brought a fresh coconut back to the house, piercing holes in it, the juice dripping down our chins, and cutting it open chopping its flesh out…nothing like what you find at the stores in pretty blue packages these days. The opening of the coconut was something of a ceremonial, much like the day he brought home papaya, scooped the seeds out,drizzled it with lime juice and handed a half to each of us…the best moment in a girl’s life: eating with my hands, with juice and fruit all over and not a care in the world!
Back to the creme brulees though. Since I had some coconut texture haters in the group,I decided to infuse the milk with the flesh ad pass it through a sieve prior to baking. The only shred of shreds (no pun intended) is the toasted coconut on top of the sorbet which you can omit if necessary. I used what C. had on hand, sweetened coconut so I reduced the sugar in the creme brulee batter and since it has caramelized sugar on top, I think you won’t really miss it either. The sorbet is a simple syrup mixed with coconut milk and processed in a ice cream machine but you can achieve a nice sorbet by doing as follows: freeze the mixture for a couple of hours, take it out and whip it in your mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand held mixer. Repeat a couple of times.
For the Creme Brulee:
1 cup egg yolks (between 6 and 8 depending on the size of your eggs)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup grated coconut (increase sugar to 1 cup if you use unsweetened coconut)
1/4cup brown sugar mixed with 1/4 cup white sugar for brulee topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Place 4 ramequins inside a roasting pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow. Add the coconut. Heat the cream until scalding hot. Slowly whisk it into the egg yolk mixture, mix well,but ot too vigourously or you will add toomuch air. Pour into a container and let cool to room temperature,skim off the top foam if necessary. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the coconut and divide among the 4 ramequins. Pour water to about halfway up the sides of the ramequins and put the pan in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture appear almost set,it should stillwiggleabit in the middle. It is ok to remove the pan from the oven at that point as the custard will continue to bake and set.
Let cool to room, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Right before serving: divide sugar on top of each custard and use a blow torch to caramelise the top or put the pan under the broiler.
A good creme brulee is hot on top, room temp in the middle and cold at the bottom.
For The Sorbet:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 can coconut milk
In a saucepan, heat the water with the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add to the coconut milk.Let cool to room temperature and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, or use the hand held or mixer method described above.