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Coconut Custard Crème Squares


This creamy, soft, light and delicate cake cut into small squares is a coconut lover’s dream come true. Presented at every High-Tea function at top notch hotels throughout Malaysia, this gluten free and vegan dish is one of the easiest desserts you can make with just 5 simple ingredients that are easily found in supermarkets. The taste success is determined on the quality of the coconut cream; it should be as pure as possible without the addition of additives. If you love coconut as much as I do, it’s worth picking up the coconut cream at Asian grocery stores as they are not sweetened and is pure 100 percent coconut cream. The pandan leaves lend a herbal vanilla like combination aroma and flavor. You will also find this leaf at the grocery store either in the produce or freezer section. When I moved to Hawaii, I was exceptionally happy to rekindle my love for Haupia at the local Hawaiian luaus. A must have dish at every luau, the Malaysian version carries the fragrant pandan.

Serves 6

2 cups can coconut cream

1 fresh or frozen pandan leaf (optional), cut in half

½ cup sugar

A pinch of salt

2/3 cup corn starch plus 1 cup water

1. Add coconut cream, pandan leaf, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and stir occasionally until the sugar is completely melted and the coconut comes to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pandan leaf and discard.

2. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch and water until smooth in a measuring cup. Add the cornstarch mixture to the coconut cream and stir constantly using a whisk until the mixture thickens to a yogurt-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Transfer the cooked coconut mixture to a glass pan. Using a spatula smooth the mixture in the pan then cover with a plastic wrap making sure the plastic touches the mixture, this prevents air and bubbles from forming. Set aside to cool on the counter for 10 minute then place the dish in a refrigerator to set for 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve cold with fresh pineapple.

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