Saturday, October 15, 2011
It's so fun entering these contests from Marx Foods! In the most recent Marx Foods recipe contest I entered, I came in third with my Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce!! They were so delicious! And honestly, without Marx Foods providing the dried chile peppers, the inspiration to create those tarts may never have arrived!
So when you enter a Marx Foods contest, you may have an idea of what you're going to get, but it still somehow is a surprise. This particular contest was a complete surprise--RANDOM Recipes! I had no idea what would be in the box, and was pleasantly surprised to find:
Hurray, and thank you!! Now, I love mushrooms, but the ideas just weren't flowing. So I turned to the Coconut Sugar. It's actually coconut sap sugar; I had no idea they even made that! (Did I ever tell you I love coconut?) Still being in love with the chiles from the last challenge, I chose to use those as well. And by now it's no surprise I made dessert!
The custard is smooth and creamy and cool, with a hint of heat on the back of your tongue. It picks up its yellow hue from both the pureed chiles and the fresh-laid-today chicken eggs! The chiles also provide some nice orangey flecks in the custard.
The candied coconut adds just the right sort of caramely-coconutty crunch, nice texture contrast, and has a unique flavor. The family loved it!
I did some experimenting until I got enough heat in the coconut milk (even throwing some extra Puya seeds out of the package into the pot!) I used the methods my husband and I developed with the tart filling to get all the delicious flavor of those Puyas. If you like more heat, you can use one or two more chiles. The possibilities are endless!
The coconut sugar reminds me of jaggery (an Indian sugar) in the way it behaves when heated...in other words, not normally! So the Candied Coconut is a little tricky, but it's tasty if you stick with it!
Spicy Coconut Custard with Candied Coconut
1 can (approx. 14 ounces) coconut milk
2 whole dried Puya chile peppers
3 eggs, beaten gently
1/4 cup sugar
Heat coconut milk and Puya chiles in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gently bring to boiling, stirring, then turn off heat. Let milk steep for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I rested my wooden spoon right on top of the chile pepper to keep it submerged during the steeping. After 10 minutes, remove stems from chiles and place them in a small food processor (I used the bowl attachment with my Cuisinart stick blender), along with about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk. Process chiles and milk until chiles are relatively small, then return mixture to remaining coconut milk in the saucepan. Stir, and let entire mixture sit and steep until completely cool.
Place a glass bowl in a pan of ice water.
Add eggs and sugar to coconut milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture coats a metal spoon. (much longer than that and your eggs will start to "scramble," take my word for it!) Immediately pour custard into prepared glass bowl, and stir constantly to cool, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour custard into 4 individual custard dishes (or pretty glasses). Cover custard surface with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming), and chill dishes in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Just before serving, remove from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap (of course), sprinkle with candied coconut, and enjoy!
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 coconut sugar
1 cup raw dried coconut (not sweetened)
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper on the counter.
Melt butter over medium heat and spread around pan; sprinkle coconut sugar on top. Let melt a minute or two before mixing. This will not look like you may expect it to, the sugar won't really melt or dissolve, it'll just look sort of greasy but will start to spread out a bit. Mix it in with the butter using a wooden spoon. When it is mixed together, turn heat to low and sprinkle in the coconut and quickly stir.
To mix the coconut with the sugar mixture, you'll have to sort of "chop" the coconut into the sugar with your wooden spoon to separate it and break up the clumps, otherwise you'll end up with big brown clumps of coconut sugar and the coconut itself won't have much coating. So, mix and "chop" over low until the coconut is turning golden (both from the sugar and from the hot pan), being careful not to burn it.
Turn coconut onto the prepared baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps with the wooden spoon, then let cool before using.