Coconut Custard Cupcakes

I made this recipe when I met Kris’ family in Nebraska for the first time, Christmas 2007.  I wanted to bring some Latin American treats for his mid-western relatives, plus I needed something gluten-free for his mom.  Not only is this dessert based off of my mom’s favorite ingredient, coconut, but now that we know she’s gluten intolerant, it makes the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day.

The first time I made this recipe, I used store bought shredded coconut which was fine.  This time around, freshly grated coconut made the thick custard even more hypnotizing. (Click here for How-to Make Freshly Grated Coconut) If you don’t have fresh coconuts, I sense your pain; you can use fresh canned coconut meat, or, if you have to, shredded coconut from the store.

I adapted this recipe from “Quindins de Yaya (Coconut Cupcake Dessert)” in The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz.  I took out the flour to make it gluten-free and added flavor with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Printable PDF: Coconut Custard Cupcakes

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 8 egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons softened butter, 2 cups freshly grated coconut, and 1 egg white. (Not pictured ground cinnamon and nutmeg.)

Prepare a 24 mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.  Place the muffin tin inside of a baking pan with side high enough to act as a water bath for the custard.

Using a hand mixer, beat egg white until soft peaks form.  Set aside.Use a stand mixer to cream the butter and brown sugar.  Add coconut and mix well

Drop in egg yolks, ONE AT A TIME.  After each one, mix until incorporated.

Take bowl off of stand and fold in beaten egg white. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 2 sprinkle-shakes of ground nutmeg.  Stir lightly to combine.Fill ¾ of each muffin space with custard.  Pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the muffins.  This creates a water bath to cook the custard evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from water bath and cool.  Makes 24-30 mini cupcakes.


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