Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?” — Graham Chapman
Indulge your cravings with this Mexican street treat
While the coconut is a mainstay in the diet of nearly one-third of the planet, it’s considered exotic in the Western world. Botanically speaking, a coconut is a drupe and has three layers: the outer layer, the fleshy middle layer and the hard, woody layer that surrounds the seed.
If you’re a fan, then you like all things coconut, from candies, pies, drinks, to a dazzling array of Asian and South Pacific dishes.
Cocadas Horneadas are classic Mexican street treats, and the texture and light natural sweetness of the fresh coconut is unforgettable.
1 medium coconut
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons milk
3 large egg yolks
Prepare the coconut: Preheat oven to 350 F. Twist a corkscrew or pierce coconut with an icepick into two of the three eyes on the coconut, then drain the liquid into a cup. Place the coconut in the oven for 15 minutes to loosen the flesh from the shell. Crack with a hammer into several pieces. Pry the flesh from the shell and peel away the dark skin. Grate coconut into medium fine shreds with a food processor or by hand with a box grater.
Cook the coconut: Combine the sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon stick in a medium (3-quart) saucepan. Add a cup of the coconut water. Bring to a boil. Add the coconut, cooking over medium low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick.
Mix together the milk and egg yolks, stir in a few spoonfuls of the hot coconut, then stir the yolk mixture into the pan. Set over medium low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, scrape out onto a tray or baking dish and cool to room temperature.
Bake the coconut candies: Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the cooled coconut mixture. Form into a 2-inch cake about ½ inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the coconut mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until richly brown. Let cool on the baking sheet and then remove to a rack.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.