Status: Made twice
This is a steamed dessert custard made of just coconut cream, palm sugar, eggs, and salt.
Below is the cooked custard garnished with fried shallots. The cookbook says that sometimes this dish is garnished with fried shallots and cilantro ("a startling combination of savory and sweet") in southeast Asia.
Makes 3 small custards
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (1 bag frozen coconut milk) *
2/3 cup crushed palm sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 large eggs
3 small ramekins or heatproof cups **
Set out the eggs on the counter top so that they will be room temperature by the time you use them.
In a heavy pot, heat the coconut milk until lukewarm. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Add water to a steamer and heat until boiling.
Break the eggs into a bowl and mix with the coconut cream. Pour the mixture through a colander to remove any undissolved pieces of palm sugar or clumps. Divide the egg mixture between the cups.
Place in a steamer and steam over gently boiling water (medium burner) until the custard has just set. Watch the custard carefully towards the end of cooking. The top will puff up a bit first. It is done if doesn't move much when you lightly jiggle it; this can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on how much custard is in your containers and the exact heat level that you use (it will take 1 hour only if you put all custard into 1 container or into squash). You can also insert a toothpick or chopstick to test if the bottom has solidified. The steam should be gentle (i.e. don't use high or medium-high heat) because if the heat is too high it will make the custard less delicate and have a curdled less smooth texture. If you remove the lid to check on the custard, wipe the moisture off the lid with a kitchen towel before replacing it so that it will not drip onto the custard. Try not to remove the lid too often, because you will release the built up steam and pressure.
Served at room temperature or refrigerate and served chilled. Optionally you can top this with fried shallots.
* Next time I want to try Kasma's recipe here with slightly less sugar (1 cup coconut cream, 2/3 cup palm sugar, 5 eggs, 1/8 tsp salt). If I used 1 bag of frozen coconut milk in this recipe again, then next time I would divide it into 4 ramekins. I also want to steam in the Chinese bamboo steamer rather than the metal steamer--maybe the metal steamer doesn't give good results.
** You can also put the custard into the middle of a yellow squash (such as kabocha squash). See here for more information about using a squash.
When I followed the amounts used in Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's recipe, I made the full quantity suggested tin the recipe, except that I put my custard into 3 ramekins instead of the suggested 6. They took the same amount of time to steam as suggested in the recipe (15 minutes) until they were set.
The custard before steaming:
The custard just after steaming, while they were still hot:
The cooked custard after it had cooled: