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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

coconut crème caramel

coconut + crème caramel

i had a dream recently that i put my retainer in wrong and woke up the next morning with a very loose front tooth. the horror. i've read the meanings behind such dreams. because teeth are such an integral part of one's appearance, it could mean a fear of looking a fool. well, i do have a number of out of town public engagements where i'll be speaking with industry experts. this is always ripe ground for me to have no idea what is going on. awesome.

in another regard, teeth are used to bite & chew, kinda like a symbol of power. there are certain things going on that i have no power over which i'll be honest, it's stressing me out.

lastly, having no teeth or even rotting ones can be an indication of malnutrition and poor diet. i have been feeling like ass lately, fatigued and just mildly nauseous. i've made some steps to cut coffee out and tho my stomach is thankful, the caffeine withdrawal headaches are killer. it's been a week since my last sip of coffee; i have tea now, switching between chamomile & regular. i've also cut out as much dairy as humanly possible, without analyzing the bejesus out of ingredient labels. if this doesn't work, i'll look into going gluten free.

any advice on how to proceed would be so greatly appreciated!

meanwhile, i present this coconut crème caramel, perfect soft food, smooth & silky, sweet with a slight bitter after taste of the burnt sugar. i grew up with my grandfather's flan. this particular recipe uses coconut milk which is much friendlier to this lactose-intolerant girl.

this is my submission for Delicious Vietnam, a monthly food event for vietnamese food lovers. it was created by Anh and Kim & Hong. This month's host is ChiAnh of Door to My Kitchen.

coconut crème caramel

4 large eggs
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 pint coconut milk

for the caramel
3/4 cup sugar
5 TBL water

preheat oven to 325F.

to make the caramel, heat the sugar and water in heavy pot, stirring until sugar dissolves. be patient. i have a history of being un-patient. bring the mixture to boil and do not stir. allow the mixture to darken and thicken.

pour into individual ramekins or heat proof dish, tilting to swirl it around the bottom so it is covered. allow the caramel to set.

in a bowl, beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar. heat the coconut milk in a small pan gently, do not allow it to boil over. add a ladle of the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture, making sure to whisk the latter mixture as you're pouring. (this is called tempering. i sound fancy but i'm really not.) gradually add the coconut milk, stirring constantly. if you have to, strain thru a sieve and pour into the ramekins.

set the ramekins in bain-marie, a water bath. use a roasting pan or wide casserole dish half-filled with hot water. bake in oven for 50 minutes, or until the custard has just set but still feels jiggly. leave the dish to cool and then refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.

to serve, loosen the custard around the sides with thin, sharp knife. place plate over the ramekins and flip the plate & dish together. maybe shake it a bit, or maybe you don't need to, the custard should come right out. the caramel should pool around the custard.

garnish with mint leaves, or in my case, basil leaves and fresh picked raspberries.


  1. I want that caramel now.

    I lost a molar due to poor care. I see that you eat lots of veges and work out as well (all those runs?). So I won't be so quick to ditch so many things from your diet just yet, why not go for a health check just to make sure? We all need a bit of everything to stay healthy no?

  2. That looks super luscious. Thank heavens you don't have to worry about breaking a tooth on that beautiful squishy thing!

    (I totally hear you on tooth-losing anxiety dreams. So nerve-wracking. Maybe sticking to soft -- and delicious! -- foods for a while will help out.)

  3. Creme caramel is one of my favorites.

    Do you keep hydrated during the day? It's been way hotter than normal. I believe fatigue and nausea can both be signs of dehydration.

  4. You are my idol.
    This looks divine and as I'm also lactose-intolerent, it gives me hope. I hate teeth dreams, they're sooo scary!! Good luck with your industry event :)

    P.S. I drink l-free milk, but sometimes still consume bits of cheese. I found out that buffalo's milk/cheese (as served in India) does not cause indigestion for l-i people.

  5. I'm throwing my hat in with pickyin's suggestion ... maybe you need to go have some sort of screening to find out what you may be allergic to. Yes - I know that going to the dr. is a huge pain, but ...

    Also - if I feel off, I have learned that it's because my water intake if off.

    TAKE CARE OF YOU. The world would be emptier without your snark and without your lovely food photos!

  6. Hey Lan,

    It's been a while! Anyway, I've been lactose and gluten free on and off since April. I know I'm lactose intolerant, but sometimes I can't help myself. When I have been eating foods with gluten or dairy, I was trying to be sure they were high-quality. Well, last weekend I had pizza, and today I had to take my first decongestant in months. Coincidence? Psychosomatic? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

  7. you guys are so sweet, thank you for your comments!

    @pickyin, you are so right about going to the dr, i am due for a checkup. i have an issue of self-diagnoses & it's become like a game for me to figure out what triggers my body into rejecting something. so far, without the coffee and dairy in my diet this past week, it's been great. my stomach isn't 100% but it's better. excercising is a new concept in my life, and one i hope to make into a lifestyle, unfortunately, i need to balance it with proper rest. something has to give and finding that balance is kicking my ass.

    @meister, i am hoping so. :)

    @Jen, i love love love creme caremel too. during the day i'm good with the consuming water but at night, after work, i'm notorious for not being as consistent about it. i'm working on it. thanks darling!

    @fashionhogger, you are too sweet. THANK YOU for the info about buffalo milk. goat cheese seems to be ok for me, and i've been reading up on lactose-free dairy stuff. tho honestly, i'm weary of it, i don't know why...

    @SKM, your comment really made me smile. thank you so much for your kind words. i will discuss with my dr about getting an allergy screening. the trial-error method is challenging, somewhat fun, but can be painful.

    @kristen, that is so interesting about your current situation. there are *some* cheeses that i'm ok with, but just to be on the safe side, i've kicked them all to the curb for the timebeing. i'd love to get together with you to discuss gluten-free options, it's daunting and i'm holding on to such hope that it's something i don't have to get rid of from my life.

  8. Mm love anything inspired by Vietnam!
    Hope you feel better soon. Seems like you are heading down the right path to figure out what's causing it. Elimination diets are the best way to find out for sure... just make sure you stick to them for at least 2 weeks before introducing the "problem" foods back into your diet and assessing. Then move onto the next food item. It can take a while for your body to start to feel better and by allowing 2 weeks you will definitely notice any problems once the foods are re-introduced. Xx
    P.s I have to say that as you are Asian, cutting out dairy is a great idea. Many people are lactose intolerant, but mostly only people of Asian backgrounds can have actual "dairy allergies".

  9. thats looks completely scrumptious I shall have to try it some time x
    I love your blog, I am now following <3
    Maybe you could check out my blog, maybe follow, and leave a comment?
    xox Leia xox

  10. that looks soo delicious as all your foods do Chi! :) But mostly your writing is what keeps me coming back to your blogs! They are like a breath of fresh air. I feel as if we are sharing some cool exotic fresh tea you just plucked from your backyard (cause that seems like something you would do hee hee) and I'm just sitting across from you listening to you tell me all about your latest cuisine in the making!! :)

  11. O looks divine. I've definitely had weird teeth dreams before and now I know what they mean-- thanks! I've tried to ease up on the coffee too but... alas no such luck and I start school this week so don't think that will be happening anytime soon :-/ Good luck!

  12. emma, thank you for the tips. i had some organic lactose free yogurt last week and i can't say that it was unpleasant but it wasn't altogether pleasant either. i will say that my stomach is feeling so.much.better! without dairy in my diet, which makes me excited but sad, as well.

    Leia, thank you.

    em Casie, you are incredibly sweet. i have been drinking quite a bit of tea as of late, and it's wonderful. yes, one day we will share a pot of tea (with cookies of course) and chat, me about food and you about music. :)

    karen, the caffeine withdrawals from no coffee were no joke but i'm glad to be done with that. good luck with school!