i had the wondrous good fortune of living in Bali for a year and a half from July 1998 - November 1999. and while i was there i fell in love with this fabulous restaurant called the 'Dirty Duck' or 'Bebek Benggil' in Indonesian. it was located in Ubud, where i was living and although this was certainly a good thing, it didn't do well for my waistline as my favourite food to eat there was their coconut cream pie. it was simply divine. pie crust, coconut custard filling and meringue topping. the absolute perfect dessert and i went back there time and time again to have a piece even on holiday trips i always made sure i stopped in for a piece of coconut cream pie...if you're ever there then make sure you do too...there is really nothing better than sitting in that amazing restaurant eating delicious pie and gazing out over the rice fields of Bali.
so i have been thinking of how i could re-create it in a cupcake form (of course) and have searched around for recipes but couldn't find anything that really fit the way i wanted it to go. until the other day when i found a recipe for coconut custard that sounded perfect for the filling. for the rest i settled on a vanilla cupcake and for the topping a meringue sprinkled with dried coconut. and the result...
just perfectly coconut cream pie-ish. i couldn't have asked for a better re-creation. the first mouthful brought back such memories of that coconut ceam pie i devoured so shamelessly on so many occasions in Bali! it was light, flavourful and oh-so-floaty! the whole combination just went together so perfectly...ok enough descriptions...now down to the nitty-gritty of making these...
the most time-consuming part is of course the coconut custard...but then you have to figure that in for any custard you make. but it definitely tastes better when you do it yourself. this custard turned out light and creamy.
4 large egg yolks
3 cups coconut milk
2/3 cups sugar
5 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
prepare an ice bath and set aside.
in a bowl, whisk egg yolks and set aside.
in a saucepan whisk together coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 mins, whisking constantly.
whisk a quarter of the hot milk mix ito egg yolks and then whisk in remaining mixture.
strain into a clean saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 4 mins, whisking constantly until custard is thick.
transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface.
set in ice bath until completely chilled - about 45 mins.
for the cupcake i thought a plain ol' vanilla would suffice, after all we don't want anything overpowering that fabulous coconut flavour now do we....?
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup milk
in a small bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.
in a large bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk. beat until smooth.
scoop batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 mins until golden brown. cool on a wire rack.
and finally the topping...a perfect white meringue. i just love the look of it all shiny and white when it comes out of the mixer...
1/4 t. cream of tartar
reserved 4 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat with electric mixr on high speed until frothy (about 45 seconds).
add one tablespoon of sugar and continue beating on high speed adding one tablespoon at a time until the whites for stiff peaks. pipe on to the cupcakes and return to the oven for 5-6 mins.