Coco Loco Brulee

Serves 6

  • 3 ripe (hard, brown-shelled) coconuts

For the filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Coco Lopez
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 strips lemon zest (1/2 by 2 inches long)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for making the brulee
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 to 8 cups crushed ice

1. Cut the coconuts in half with a cleaver. The easiest way to do this is to tap the shell repeatedly with the back of the cleaver along an imaginary line going around the middle. After 10 to 20 taps, the shell will break neatly in two. Work over a bowl with a strainer to collect the coconut water. Save it for making drinks.

2. Combine the cream, coconut milk, Coco Lopez, vanilla bean, and lemon zest in a heavy saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a heatproof mixing bowl whisk together the _ cup sugar and egg yolks. Whisk in the cornstarch. Strain the milk into the yolk mixture in a thin stream and whisk to mix. Return this mixture to the saucepan and gradually bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat, whisking steadily. The mixture will thicken. Gently simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not boil rapidly or overcook, or the mixture will curdle. Remove the pan from the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean and lemon zest. Spoon the custard mixture into the coconut shells and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate the custards for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

4. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar in a thin layer over the filling in each coconut. Caramelize the sugar, using a blowtorch. Serve the coco loco brulees on beds of crushed ice in shallow bowl.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort