Yesterday I made what is called a flan pâtissier (a kind of custard tart or cream pie) using coconut milk instead of cream. It's a recipe you can find here, on La Cuisine de Jackie, in French. I've adapted the recipe for American cooks, substituting vanilla extract for the vanilla bean in Jackie's recipe and converting the measurements to U.S. cups.
Flan pâtissier au lait de coco
1 pie crust
1 liter of coconut milk
150 g sugar (⅔ cup)
100 g cornstarch (1 scant cup)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. dried grated coconut
1 Tbsp. rum (optional)
Mix the cornstarch into ¾ cup of cold coconut milk, stirring well.
Bring the rest of the coconut milk to a simmer. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Separately, beat the eggs with the sugar. Add in the cold coconut and cornstarch mixture. Then gradually pour in the hot coconut milk, stirring constantly. Add the grated coconut and the rum (optional).
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and set on low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until well thickened.
Line a pie pan with the crust. Pour in the coconut milk mixture. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 325ºF (160ºC). Keep an eye on the flan for the last 15 minutes of cooking to make sure it doesn't get too browned. Serve cold.
The coconut custard tart is delicious, even if I do say so myself. Thanks to Jackie for the idea and recipe. (The term "custard tart" always makes me think of Lionel Hardcastle on the British comedy series As Time Goes By.)
A U.S. cup, by the way, is 8 fluid ounces (240 ml, or less than half a pint in British terms). You can use less sugar than my recipe specifies, but don't use less cornstarch. You can also try using two whole eggs and one yolk rather than the three whole eggs I put in. Oh, and I bought a crust — pâte sablée — at the supermarket. You could easily make the flan with a different crust or no crust at all.