Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coconut Lime Custard Parfaits

Sometimes recipes with very good intentions fail miserably.  Then, like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, they are reborn and soar.  This is one of those dishes.  Seeing a whole bunch of limes sitting on my parents' counter, I set out wanting to make a coconut lime pie.  Without a recipe, I started guesstimating and both the graham cracker-coconut crust and the coconut milk-lime filling didn't turn out quite the way I was hoping.  The crust was too crumbly and I had doubt that the filling would set up enough to be able to be sliced into a pie.  The moral of the story is that it's okay to improvise.  When we layered the filling and crumbled crust with whipped cream, these made for delicious enough desserts that everyone licked their dishes clean and is fighting over the leftovers.  Be encouraged to turn your culinary missteps into a new hit!  

pay no attention to the strange, small chair in the background...that's just a bonus feature of my mom's house...
Coconut Lime Custard Parfaits:
Coconut Lime Custard Filling:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 can coconut milk (about 14 oz)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lime zest

Coconut Graham Cracker Crust Crumble Layer:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 6-7 whole sheets)
1 cup shredded coconut (mine was unsweetened from the health food store, but you can use sweetened instead)
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Whipped Cream for serving
thin slices of lime for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make graham crackers into graham cracker crumbs.  I like to do this by putting them into a gallon sized ziplock bag and whacking the heck out of them but a food processor would work nicely as well.  Stir in coconut and then pour in melted butter.  Once thoroughly mixed, pat mixture into a pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.  Break into pieces if using as a crumble.

To make filling, place egg yolks in a small bowl and stir until smooth.  In a medium sauce pan, stir together sugar and corn starch.  Whisk in can of coconut milk and lime juice.  Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Once boiling, remove from heat and stir tablespoonfuls, one at a time, into the egg yolks (adding the hot mixture to the egg yolks slowly while stirring constantly is called "tempering" and it is done to prevent you from getting scrambled eggs).  Once you have added about half of the coconut mixture into the egg yolk mixture, pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan and return to medium heat and stir constantly until mixture again reaches a boil.  Pour into a wide shallow dish (or on top of cooled pie crust recipe if you're wanting to be daring--it did actually set up fairly well) and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of filling.  Chill in the fridge.

To assemble parfaits:
In a tall glass, layer crumble, filling and whipped cream as desired.  Garnish with additional crumbs from the crumble and slices of lime, if you like!

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