Last month we had another progressive dinner (number 11 to be exact) and we decided to make up some new rules. In general, we alternate clockwise for the courses and this time it was neighbours John and Nancy’s turn to make the main course. The first new rule is that the couple who has the main course chooses the theme. The second new rule, is that the main course couple may also invite a “guest couple” to participate in the eating but not in the making; having four courses has put the main course much too late in the evening (around 10:30-11) because we inevitably stay too long at each house! For this progressive dinner, John and Nancy chose Thai food because Nancy was recently in Thailand and had a marvellous time. It was our turn for dessert.
There aren’t too many desserts in Thailand and I recently learned that they generally don’t serve a sweet after dinner, desserts are usually saved for celebrations, like weddings. Thai desserts are often not sweet and sometimes even savoury (don’t you worry, I didn’t choose savoury (you know who you are!)). I did have a rather difficult time landing on three desserts that would WOW our party because I wanted to choose something obviously Thai and put my own spin on it. I finally chose a baked Coconut Custard Slice (from my Easy Thai-Style Cookery from the Australian Woman’s Weekly, published in 1996), also from the same cookbook, a Sticky Rice Pudding infused with Kafir Lime Leaves with a Coconut and Lime Custard and lastly a Mango Mousse garnished with a Mango Rose (from Epicurious). All three desserts were served in small portions, as above. I made all three in advance and portioned them out so that on the evening I needed only to plate them. These dinners always get out of control with the volume of food so small portions is all anyone ever wants, but I had made enough for leftovers in case someone wanted more. I really like coconut so both the custard cake and the rice pudding were high on my favourite list, but I have to say the mango mousse was also refreshing and delicious. Which one would you choose as your favourite?
Baked Coconut Custard Cake
Makes one 24 cm (9.5 inch) tart, about 1 cm (0.5 inch) deep.
For original recipe, please click here.
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut cream
- 1 cup 18% cream
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut, toasted
- Lemon or Lime zest for garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Prepare an 24 cm (9.5 inch) removable bottom scalloped tart pan by lightly greasing and lining the exterior bottom in foil making sure it comes up more than half way on the sides and is waterproof. Set aside.
- Combine coconut cream, cream, eggs and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and stir over medium-low heat until warm; do not boil (the coconut cream will separate).
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Place the tart pan into larger pan that can accommodate enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the tart pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre of custard is just set. Cool custard for 30 minutes and then refrigerate custard 1 hour or 1-2 days before serving.
- Cut into wedges and sprinkle with extra coconut and lemon or lime zest, if desired.
Kaffir Lime Sticky Rice Pudding
Serves 4 individual portions or 9 mini portions.
For original recipe, please click here.
Ingredients for the rice pudding:
- 1/2 cup (100 g) short grain rice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk (including the cream)
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 10-20 dried kafir lime leaves (depending on how much you like kafir limes)
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
Ingredients for the custard:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk, including the cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- juice from 1/2 a lime
- Lightly grease nine 125 mL (1/2 cup) capacity ovenproof mason jars with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine rice, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, coconut milk and water in a thick bottom pan, and slowly bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed (about 30 minutes). Cool slightly. Remove Kafir lime leaves, discard.
- To make the custard, combine the milk with the eggs, sugar and lime juice and whisk together. Set aside.
- To each prepared mason jar, add 2 slightly heaping tablespoons of the rice pudding and press into the bottom of the jar. Pour the prepared custard evenly into each of the nine jars.
- Place jars into a large rimmed pan and fill the pan with warm water to about 1/2 way up the mason jars. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until custard has set.
- Remove jars and allow to cool. Refrigerate until 2 hours before serving, then remove from fridge and serve at room temperature garnished with the toasted sesame seeds.
Makes one 23 cm x 23 cm (9″ x 9″) pan of mousse.
For original recipe please click here.
- 1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
- 500 mL (2 cups) fresh mango purée (about 4 small mangos)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
- 3 egg whites, beaten until stiff but not dry (you may substitute whipped cream for the egg whites, about 1 cup whipped)
- 1 mango for rose garnises and lime zest
- In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water, let it soften for 1 minute, then heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.
- In a blender or using an emersion blender, blend together the mango purée, sugar, vanilla, and yoghurt and add the gelatin mixture and blend the mixture well.
- Beat the egg whites (or whipping cream) until they hold stiff peaks, fold it into the mango mixture gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into a plastic-lined 23 cm x 23 cm (9″ x 9″) pan.
- Chill the mousse for at least 4 hours or overnight. Freeze for 30 minutes before serving (improves both the flavour and texture, and makes it much easier to handle).
- Cut 9 servings using a flower cookie cutter and place carefully on a plate, garnish with mango roses. To make mango roses, I simply used my vegetable peeler and peeled slices about 30 cm (12 inches) long from each mango and then rolled into a rose. I prepared the roses in advance to make serving easier.