May is my favourite month of the year not only because it’s SisterLovlie’s, BoyfriendLovlie’s and my own birthday (I don’t really like it when it comes to my own birthday though!) during this month but also because we get the nicest weather over here, I think. This transition month from summer to winter offers nice temperatures and good weather in general (well, I think so anyway! I don’t like scorching waves of heat). The mornings are slightly fresher. But the days are getting shorter! I really need to go and enjoy a few hours at the beach a few times more before it gets chilly! Having said that, winter is not too bad over here though; pretty mild.
Well, I made these refreshing little coconut custards 2 days ago while we’re still enjoying the warm weather. They are light and don’t require any baking.
I used a large pie dish and made some in little ramekins. The ramekins are supposed to be turned upside down before serving; I also added some vegan chocolate coated Marie biscuits to go on the bottom when turned.
I made the caramel as optional to be poured over. Without caramel, this is a lighter more refreshing dessert.
Now, about the caramel, I don’t know how others manage to get it right, but I’ve never been able to make caramel according to the recipes that I seen before where they say to add 2 tablespoons of water to 100g of sugar and allow it to melt gently until it changes colour et cetera. I’ve tried a number of times but it just becomes a solid block in the end when it cools down! Hhh!
I might be missing something! Anyway, I usually just make the caramel my style and they taste and look like caramel! I’m happy with my version of caramel! What I do is I just add some boiling water at the end and stir vigorously to prevent the caramel from turning solid and it remains a thick syrup consistency. I also use demerara sugar. It is slightly trickier to know when the sugar has actually caramelized when using demerara. At some point the sugar will become very flaky then starts to melt, this is the turning point and care should be taken at this stage not to burn the caramel.
I got 5 ramekins and 1 pie dish of 8 servings for the quantity I used. If using just ramekins you might get around 10 – 12 or you could use a deeper pie dish than the one I used and make 10 – 12 servings depending on how big you cut the pieces.
Ingredients (10 - 12 servings)
3 tablespoons vegan custard powder
3 teaspoons agar agar powder
½ can coconut milk (thick consistency)
1 liter water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
6-7 ripe dessert pears (or any soft ripe ones)
2 tablespoons water
5–6 tablespoons boiling water (optional, if you are doing the caramel my style)
10 – 12 Marie biscuits (optional)
Grated fresh coconut
- Peel and cut the pears into small pieces.
- Place in a saucepan and squeeze the lemon onto the pears. Stir to mix well.
- Allow to cook on low heat for about 20- 30 minutes or until pears are soft or just slightly crunchy if you prefer.
- Arrange in ramekins or dish. Set aside.
Note: Do not make the custard while the pears are still cooking as it will start to set as soon as it is cooked. Wait for the pears to be ready.
- In a saucepan on medium heat, add the coconut milk and 700 ml of water.
- Mix the custard powder in 200 ml water until completely dissolved.
- Add this to the saucepan, stirring as required to avoid lumps from forming.
- Add sugar and stir well until dissolved.
- Mix the agar agar powder with 100 ml water until dissolved completely.
- Add this to the saucepan stirring as required.
- Add vanilla.
- Allow the custard mixture to heat up until boiling, stirring as required to avoid burning.
- Switch off heat as soon as it starts to boil.
- Immediately Pour into ramekins or pie dish over cooked pears.
- Arrange Marie biscuits on custard cream if desired.
- Leave to set undisturbed at room temperature until cooled enough to go into the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
- Place the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan on low heat.
- Allow sugar to melt stirring once or twice. Sugar will turn flaky then will start to melt.
- When all sugar has melted, add about 5 tablespoons boiling water, stirring vigorously.
- This keeps the caramel from going rock solid.
To serve, insert a knife on the side of the ramekin to slightly detach the custard and allow to fall on serving dish. Or for pie dish version, cut into squares or triangles and serve upside down. Top with caramel and grated fresh coconut.
Alteration: If you prefer a creamier consistency, try adding less agar agar powder (say just 2 teaspoons) and more coconut milk (1 can).