Like most people, I’m all about ethereal desserts redolent with salted caramel or exotic fruits, speculoos-infused pastries or French macarons layered with some decadent ganache, but you know, sometimes you just want a bowl of pudding. And here's one classy little pudding that isn’t so hip that it can’t deliver a truly comforting spoonful of homey deliciousness.
A few weeks back I had a craving (yes, another one of those) that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I absolutely knew I wanted pudding, but I so seldom indulge my sweet tooth, that I seemed to have lost the art of interpreting its signals. OK, yes, I get it, you want pudding, but what KIND of pudding?? After numerous attempts to point out just about every pudding recipe I had and repeatedly receiving the negative head nod, I pulled out my recipe for coconut pudding and finally got it. The big YES! Coconut pudding was definitely IT!
I love this recipe. And I love this pudding. I love it plain with just a bit of toasted coconut on top, but I also love it with a little layer of chocolate inside and maybe a few chocolate shavings mixed on top with the toasted coconut.
The big question when I went to make it was whether or not to put coconut IN the pudding. In the end, I opted to keep the pudding smooth and creamy and just add coconut on top, and I think it’s best that way. But if you prefer, you can stir a little coconut into the pudding itself for an extra boost of coconut flavor and texture.
The added bonus is for those who might be lactose intolerant… we’re making this entirely with coconut milk – no dairy. There are eggs, so we can’t claim to be vegan here. But if you would like to use a vegan egg substitute and leave out the butter, you’re good to go.
So just in case your sweet tooth cravings are trying to lead you to something creamy, luscious, simple and homey with just a bit of sophistication, here’s just the thing….
CIRCLE B COCONUT PUDDING
This pudding comes out super luscious and creamy. I've combined a couple of recipes to create it, but there are a couple of options for you to consider. The first is whether or not to add shredded coconut to the pudding. I prefer to keep the pudding smooth and creamy, but if you'd like to add a little more coconut flavor and texture, you can stir some into the pudding. I've also added a layer of chocolate, which, of course, makes this yummy and decadent. A few chocolate shavings on top makes it pretty speical. Coconut extract really boosts the coconut quotient, but try not to use coconut flavoring which has a more artificial flavor to it.
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups lite coconut milk (about 1 1/3 cans)
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (not flavoring)
1/2 cup coconut flakes, divided
1. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Very gradually whisk in cocnut milk,taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
2. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and s tir the butter, coconut extract, and vanilla into the hot pudding.
3. Pour the pudding into individual ramekins or dessert cups, or you pour it into one large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
Toast the coconut on a small sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes. Keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly. Stir once or twice if it starts to get too brown around the edges.
If using the one-bowl method, before serving, whisk the pudding until smooth; divide among four serving dishes. Top with toasted coconut.