Adding a twist with coconut
When you think of coconut, do you automatically think of desserts? Many people do, which is natural. Adding coconut to any dish will add a sweetness to your finished dish. There is more that you can do with this tropical ingredient.
Today, I want to share with you an appetizer, Coconut Shrimp Beignets, and two desserts, Coconut Cream Pie and Coconut Mousse. The beignets are a very savory dish and the mousse is not your typical sweet dessert. The pie, however, is very traditional. Let’s head to the kitchen!
Here’s a Louisiana twist on coconut shrimp. It’s a great appetizer, pairing sweet shrimp with coconut. If you’re not a fan of pepper jelly, use remoulade sauce to dip these in.
Coconut Shrimp Beignets
One 10-ounce jar red pepper jelly
1/4 cup Creole mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons Creole seasoning
One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left on
In a bowl, whisk the pepper jelly with the mustard and vinegar until smooth. In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°. In a bowl, mix the flour with the scallions, coconut, baking powder, sugar, and Creole seasoning. Whisk in the beer and egg to form a thick batter. Working in batches, dip the shrimp in the batter (don’t shake off the excess) and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve with the pepper jelly sauce.
Here’s a traditional use for coconut. I know people who will drive out of there way for a piece of their favorite pie.You know it’s good since it is such an iconic use for coconut.
Coconut Cream Pie
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup toasted coconut, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust, baked according to package directions.
Fresh whipped cream for topping
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Whisk together the milk, egg yolks and whole egg. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand for 30 minutes.
Spoon custard mixture into prepared pie crust; cover and chill 30 minutes or until set. Top with whipped cream and coconut.
Here’s another dessert using coconut. It’s not a sweet take on the ingredient. As I said last week, a mousse is great way to end a meal.
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Coco Lopez
5 egg yolks
1 tablespoon plain gelatin
1 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup coconut, shredded (3 1/2 0z)
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Bring sweetened condensed milk, water and Coco Lopez to a boil. Whip egg yolks, till light and yellow. Pour hot milk mixture over beaten eggs a little at a time, stir well. Dissolve gelatin in Grand Marnier and stir into milk mixture and eggs. Cool until it begins to thicken to a soft custard consistency. Beat heavy cream and fold into chilled milk, egg, and gelatin mixture. Fold in Angel coconut. Chill for 3 hours before serving.
Make sure that any coconut you use is fresh. It loses its sweetness over time. Since there are many uses for coconut, this should not be a problem. It’s amazing the different ways you can use this favorable ingredient.