Coconut Recipes

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Rau Cau Dua: Vietnamese Coconut Jello Recipe Recipe

Rau câu is Vietnamese jello made with agar agar, which is a seaweed by-product, similar to gelatin (except it's vegetal). Several months ago, family friends came for dinner and brought delicious rau câu made with nước dừa ("coconut juice" in Vietnamese). We usually serve the more traditional Vietnamese dessert made with sweetened condensed milk and flavor it with layers of chocolate, mocha, pandan and sometimes durian, but I really like the flavor of this variation. I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy this version was to make. All you need is a few cans of coconut juice with pulp and agar agar. How simple is that?

The coconut jello has another great advantage. It has the same texture as pana cotta, so you can serve it to children without being scared of any spilling or any accidents on your floor. I've adopted this cube version whenever I make it for kids. You can use the same recipe using your children's favorite drinks. It's mess-free and melts in your mouth. They’ll love it!


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Asian-Style Strawberry Napoleon Recipe (Mille-feuille Fraise Noix de Coco Dessert) Recipe

Mille-feuille, called "Napoleon" in the U.S., is a very popular French dessert. Traditionally [according to Wikipedia], a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of cream pâtissière, but sometimes whipped cream or jam. The top is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed.

I’ve made traditional mille-feuilles many times before, and I was in the mood for a change. I assembled a gluten-free version using layers of Vietnamese coconut paper called bánh phông sữa. They are paper-thin sheets made of coconut milk, sugar, cassava and condensed milk. I flavored the dessert with fresh strawberries and a coulis de fraise, which is a strawberry sauce. This dessert is bake-free and so easy to create, that I had the girls do the assembly. They had so much fun putting them together and even more making them disappear!


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Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe with Chestnut Swirl Recipe

This recipe proves that vegan doesn't always mean healthy. Coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, pure vanilla extract, chestnut purée and stabilizers combine to make a vegan ice cream recipe that tips the scales at about 3000 calories per quart (that's 375 calories per serving). But there aren’t any eggs or dairy products!

I recently received a request for a vegan ice cream recipe from Leslie. It was the first time I tried making a vegan dessert. I made use of the same combination of stabilizers I use in other egg-free recipes, namely soy lecithin and xanthan gum. I increased the quantity to improve mouth-feel though. Xanthan gum in particular inhibits the formation of ice crystals, which create a more pleasing texture.

After tasting the final product, everyone in the house agreed that the ice cream strongly resembled chè, a very popular Vietnamese dessert. I hadn't anticipated that at all. Since I swirled the ice cream with chestnut purée, I thought it would have a more French flavor to it, but that was not the case. That's one of the things I love about cooking. I really enjoy experimenting, and the results of these culinary adventures can add completely new recipes to my repertoire.

My husband Lulu has decided to leave the ice cream maker on the kitchen counter until the end of summer to encourage us to make ice cream more often this year. I’ll post our concoctions on here all summer, so at least some good can come out of my impending weight gain. Stay tuned!


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Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

05.08.10 by Jackie

As I mentioned yesterday, the girls are planning to prepare a scrumptious meal for Mother's Day. My mother-in-law has a sweet tooth, so we decided to surprise her with a homemade strawberry cheesecake. Well, it will be a surprise as long as she doesn’t read this!

This is not your average cheesecake. The crust is made with macaroons and the filling is flavored with both coconut extract and fresh strawberries. My cousin Tri just brought a giant case of strawberries he hand-picked himself with his wife at a “you pick’em” farm in Brentwood. The strawberries were rich in color and flavor. If the strawberries you have aren't very flavorful, you could add a few teaspoons of strawberry extract to reinforce the flavor. We taste-tested the cheesecakes this afternoon and it was a big thumbs-up. Even my little sis-in-law who's allergic to egg yolks could have some, which was quite a treat for her.

In addition to the heart-shaped cheesecake, the girls had the idea to finish the decoration by cutting the fresh strawberry halves into a heart. Isn’t it adorable?


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Chocolate Coconut Macaroons (Rochers Coco Recipe) Recipe

Coconut macaroons (called "rochers coco" in French) are another dessert that I bake very often.  When I have extra egg whites from pudding, custard, crème caramel or crème brulée, I always whip up a batch. The macaroons I've tasted in America are generally more crumbly and denser than the ones from France. I make mine with a coating of condensed milk, which enhances the flavor and alters the texture.

I also covered the coconut cookies with dark chocolate for a fancier look. Check back tomorrow to see how I used the cookies in a decadent dessert that is perfect for Mother’s Day.


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