I am thrilled whenever I discover a simple recipe which is versatile enough to be modified eternally. Savoury recipes are of course much easier to fiddle with, but sometimes I find real versatile gems among the sweet ones too and the Coconut Cream I first prepared with Canned Peaches slowly proves to be one of them. Some of you might remember it was my first successful dessert prepared with agar (also called agar-agar or kanten), a gelling agent made with seaweed. The satisfying result encouraged me to carry on with agar experiments, but I must admit I didn’t suspect that the coconut cream would be versatile. Luckily I was wrong and the Light Chocolate and Coconut Cream, based on the same recipe, turned out a pure delight. Ping’s (Ping’s Pickings) gorgeous Mango Coconut Cream is another wonderful twist on this basic combination and even though I haven’t tasted it, I can well imagine how fabulous are the flavours.
The matcha version you see above has been on my mind for many weeks, but I hesitated. Matcha (抹茶), the Japanese powdered green tea, is one of the most fascinating products, but apart from successful outcomes (see below), I have experienced at least the same number of total failures, realising this is a particularly unpredictable ingredient. I haven’t made any web research about coconut and matcha pairing, so I had no idea if my experiment was risky or not, but I gave it a go and, as you have probably guessed, it was a big success.
First of all this cream is perfect for hot summer days. It is light and extremely cooling, thanks to the matcha’s subtle bitterness. Even though matcha’s flavours dominated, coconut cream was still discernible and I found the combination harmonious. Just like the above creams, the texture of this one was closer to a thick yogurt rather than a thick jelly and the preparation was quite easy (although this time, due to matcha’s dissolving issue, the cream had to be passed through a sieve). I highly recommend this dessert, but only to the fans of matcha’s unique, slightly bitter, “grassy” flavour or of course to those who are willing to discover it.
In case you are interested in matcha experiments, here are some other matcha desserts I have posted and enjoyed:
TIPS: Look closely at your agar package instructions. On mine 1/2 teaspoon is said to set 500 ml/2 cups liquid to a jelly. I use only 1/3 teaspoon and obtain a wobbly, “falling off the spoon” consistency. If you prefer a well-set jelly, use the amount advised on the package.
Do not wait until the cream becomes cold before pouring it into individual serving dishes because agar sets at room temperature and once disturbed, it will not reset properly!
Preparation: 15 minutes + 2-3 hours in the fridge
Ingredients (serves 4 – 5):
250 ml/about 1 cup coconut milk
250 ml/about 1 cup cow milk
4 flat tablespoons sugar (as a fan of moderately sweet desserts I used two flat tablespoons)
1/3 flat teaspoon agar agar in powder
2 tablespoons matcha (heaped, if you are addicted to its grassy, bitter flavour)
(more matcha or dessicated coconut for decoration)
Mix the coconut milk, the cow milk and the matcha in a food processor.
Dissolve the sugar and agar-agar in the above mixture. Bring to boil on low heat and, constantly stirring, let it simmer for about a minute.
If matcha isn’t completely dissolved, pass it through a fine sieve and then bring back to boil. Boil for another minute.
Prepare four individual bowls or low glasses.
Pour the hot mixture into the individual bowls (agar sets at room temperature, so the cream’s temperature should be higher before it is poured; make sure it is not too hot and doesn’t break the bowls or glasses though). Let it cool down to room temperature and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Serve very cold sprinkled with coconut or more matcha.