Coconut Custard is a luscious and heavenly Goan dessert dating back to the days when Goa was a Portuguese colony. Unlike many traditional Indian desserts, this is more of a European style custard containing eggs. We Indians have added our own touch to this dish by adding sweet aromatic spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron. This tasty custard represents the finest of both Indian and European desserts.
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 can of coconut milk (10 ozs, you can use light coconut milk)
˝ cup granulated sugar, to taste
1 cup milk (you can use 2% if you prefer)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cinnamon stick (roughly 1.5” in length)
4-5 cardamom pods, crushed
freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of saffron strands
toasted coconut flakes, for garnish
mint leaves for garnish
8 ceramic or oven safe ramekins (custard dishes)
large deep roasting pan with high sides
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. You will also need to boil enough water to fill the roasting pan.
In a medium sauce pan on low heat, add both the milk and the whipping cream. Then add the cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods. Allow the spices to steep in the milk/cream and let the mixture come to a gentle simmer (about 5-6 minutes). Next, add the sugar and coconut milk. Stir well to dissolve all of the sugar and after a minute or so, turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the beaten eggs and the beaten egg yolks together in a mixing bowl. Add a small ladle of the milk/cream/spice mixture slowly to the eggs and whisk to combine. This technique is known as “tempering”. This process ensures that both the eggs and the milk mixture are roughly the same temperature so the eggs will not “cook” with the heat of the milk.
Now add the remaining milk/cream/spice mixture to the beaten eggs and stir well. Then, add the freshly grated nutmeg and saffron strands. Stir and pour the entire mixture through a sieve (or fine mesh colander) into a large pour-able measuring cup or water pitcher. This is not really essential; it just makes it easier to pour later into the individual ramekins.
Place the individual ramekins in the large roasting pan. Now carefully pour the custard mixture into the ramekins so they are filled about two-thirds of the way up. Your ramekin size may vary, so pour a little into each ramekin initially and then top them all off with any extra liquid.
Now carefully, pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes up about halfway around the ramekins. This is known as a water bath and will ensure even cooking of your custard. Bake for at least 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. The mixture should be slightly wobbly in the center but fairly set around the edges. Carefully remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and allow to cool. This custard can be served either hot or chilled. If you prefer to serve the custard chilled, allow the custard to cool completely and then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. Garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and fresh mint before serving.
Try using brown sugar, vanilla flavored sugar or jaggery (palm sugar) instead of plain sugar for a bolder flavor.
I love serving this dessert with some fresh raspberries for both color and texture. Feel free to serve this dessert with any fresh berry, mango, papaya, pomegranate seeds, passion fruit… or any fruit of your choice.