Stock up on coconut

Make these Passover desserts, such as coconut and almond balls and coconut caramel flan, ahead of time.

By RUTH OLIVER
March 14, 2013 12:32
coconut dessert

Boutique and chic. (photo credit: Danya Veiner)

It is almost impossible to celebrate Passover without coconut. The dominant flavor and oily texture and the fact that it goes so well with chocolate, almonds, vanilla and fruit make it the perfect ingredient for the holiday’s desserts.

The March edition of Israel’s leading food magazine Al Hashulchan is dedicated to the upcoming holiday. It offers three distinct ways to create a special Seder night, including many recipes. Below is a sampling of these delectable coconut recipes.

COCONUT AND ALMOND BALLS

Makes 50 pieces

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These balls are a wonderful mix between marzipan and coconut cookies. They are perfect to offer as a gift to your Seder hosts.

175 gr. (2½ cups) ground coconut
250 gr. (1¼ cups) sugar
50 gr. (½ cup) finely ground almonds
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

For filling:
100 gr. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat the oven to 180°.

Mix all the ingredients in a small pot until the coconut is completely mixed with the egg.

Cook over low heat. Stir continuously for 5 minutes until the mixture solidifies and begins to fall away from the side of the pot. Turn off the flame, move the pot to another location and let cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls from the mixture using an ice-cream scoop or form balls the size of table-tennis balls with your hands. Make sure that your hands are always wet. Lay the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the tops turn lightly golden. Remove from the baking sheet and let cool.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (bain marie) or in the microwave until it takes on a smooth and liquid texture.

Hold the balls from the top and dip them in the melted chocolate, and then place them on a lined surface to cool.

COCONUT CARAMEL FLAN


Necessary utensils: 10 heat-resistant 80 ml. cups

Caramel ingredients:
200 gr. (1 cup) sugar
60 ml. (¼ cup) water

Coconut - Flan ingredients:
3 eggs
360 ml. (1½ cup) coconut milk
1 package (400 gr.) sweetened condensed milk
50 gr. (¼ cup) sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
70 gr. (1 cup) ground coconut

Heat oven to 140°.

To prepare caramel: Dissolve the sugar and water in a pot over a medium flame. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until the caramel turns an amber color. Pour a small amount of the hot caramel into each cup and let cool. The caramel will harden and then dissolve during baking.

To prepare flan: Whisk together eggs, milk and coconut, condensed milk, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until it is well mixed and smooth. Add the ground coconut, mix and pour into the cups on top of the caramel.

Place the cups on a deep oven tray. Carefully fill the tray with boiling water halfway up the height of the cups.

Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool completely and then refrigerate.

Serving suggestion: Turn the cup upside down on a plate and let the caramel drizzle down around the cream. Alternatively, cups can be decorated with coconut slivers.

WHITE CHOCOLATE SQUARES
Makes 50 squares

Necessary utensils: 1 square 25-cm. pan

This recipe makes festive white squares that are a favorite with white chocolate lovers.

1 package (400 gr.) sweetened condensed milk
250 gr. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
100 gr. marshmallow fluff (the same amount of marshmallows can also be used – just melt them in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds)
140 gr. (2 cups) ground coconut
75 gr. (¾ cup) roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Grease a pan and line with parchment paper.

Cook the condensed milk and white chocolate in a heavy pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly until chocolate melts.

Remove pot from flame and add the marshmallow spread, stirring constantly until it dissolves. Add the coconut, walnuts and vanilla and mix well.

Pour into the prepared pan, flatten and let cool. When completely cooled, refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until hard. Cut into 3-cm. squares.

These cookies will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

BOLO DE COCO
(Portuguese for coconut cake)

Necessary utensils: 25 cm. x 35 cm. baking pan

This juicy coconut cake is extremely popular in Brazil. Don’t be overwhelmed by the large amount of sauce poured over the cake – it all gets absorbed in the end. The sauce also enhances the cake’s coconut flavor.

For the cake:

100 gr. soft butter
300 gr. (1½ cups) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
280 gr. (2 cups) kosher-for-Passover cake meal
70 gr. (1 cup) ground coconut
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
240 ml. (1 cup) coconut milk

For the sauce:
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup cream
1 can (400 g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To serve:
1 container (250 ml.) cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 180°.

Whip the butter, sugar and vanilla for 5 to 7 minutes in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time while mixer is running until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix flour or kosher- or-Passover cake meal with coconut and baking powder. Add small amounts of the dry ingredients and the coconut milk alternately until mixed well. Pour the mixture into the greased pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is firm and when you stick a toothpick in it comes out completely dry. Remove the cake from the oven and use a toothpick to make lots of holes in it.

Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over the warm cake. Let the cake cool completely.

Before serving: Whip the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until firm. Spread on cake or spoon onto each individual serving.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Al Hashulchan Magazine baking class

Translated by Hannah Hochner.




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