the dessert table at the famous Fonda el Refugio restaurant in Mexico
City, amidst the brilliantly colored paper flowers, There's nearly always
green-glazed, Michoacan-style leaf-shaped serving bowl that's filled with
golden cocada. Its lightly browned top gives way to dense, fresh coconut
held together with just little rich custard. "pudding " is really the
wrong word to describe dessert; "macaroon in pudding form, may be closer.
(recipe from Authentic Mexican, Rick Bayless,
Morrow © 1987 )
Since coconuts are readily available throughout Mexico, many places commonly
serve a preparation similar to this one, especially restaurants in Central
Mexico. The following recipe is based on one from Maria a. de Carbia's
Mexico en la cocina de Marichu, though I've made it a little creamier
to duplicate the version Fonda el Refugio. It is very good and rather
elegant in small portions after a big meal, but is equally at home on
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings
1. The coconut.
Hull and peel the coconut as directed on page 341, reserving and straining
the liquid. Grate the meat (it should be medium-fine).
- 1 medium
(1-3/4-pound) fresh coconut with lots of liquid inside
- 1 cup
tablespoons good-quality sweet or dry sherry
- 6 large
- 3 tablespoons
milk or whipping cream
cup (about 2 ounces) sliced almonds
tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
2. Cooking the coconut. Measure the coconut liquid and add enough tap
water to bring the total quantity to 1 cup. Place the grated coconut in
a medium-size, heavy saucepan, store in the liquid and sugar and set over
medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the coconut becomes transparent
(it will look almost candied) and the liquid has reduced to a glaze, 20
to 30 minutes longer, to evaporate its liquid, then remove from the fire.
3. Thickening the cocada. Beat the yolks with the milk or cream, stir
in several tablespoons of the hot coconut, then carefully stir the warm
yolk mixture into the coconut remaining in the pan. Return to medium -low
heat and stir constantly until lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Scrape
the cocada into an ovenproof serving dish.
4. Browning the finished cocada. Spread the almonds onto baking sheet
and toast in a 325 oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Shortly before serving, heat the broiler. Dot the cocada with butter,
run under the heat and let brown for a minute or so. Watch carefully:
The sugar in the cocada will caramelized very quickly. Strew with the
toasted almond slices and the dessert is ready to serve.
Techniques Thickening the cocada: After the egg-yolk mixture goes
into the hot coconut, make sure the heat under your pan isn't too high,
or the yolks can curdle . In no case should the coconut mixture come near
Coconut: See page 341 for information on choosing and working with fresh
coconuts. Desiccated coconut is inappropriate here.
Timing and Advance Preparation
If you work quickly, the coconut can be prepared in 45 minutes (including
the initial 15 minutes more and the cocada will be ready. It may be completed
through Step 3, covered and refrigerated for 2 or 3 days. Let it warm
to room temperature, then brown shortly before serving.