Almond Coconut Dream
Passover is quickly approaching, which means I need to start planning my menu. Way back, in the olden days of my childhood, I dreaded the foods of the holiday.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the freedom from slavery of the ancient Israelites from the Egyptians. The Jews had to leave so quickly that their bread did not have time to rise. Therefore, during the holiday of Passover, Jewish people are not supposed to eat foods that leaven; i.e. rise.
Growing up, this meant really pathetic desserts. In hindsight I am not sure of why this was the case. I have found that so many desserts are easily tweaked to accommodate the ‘no leavening’ rule. Did my family and friends not realize this or did they enjoy the canned macaroons that taste like the tin?
Who knows? What I now know is that Passover desserts are just as yummy as non-Passover desserts. One that I created several years ago, has become a year round favorite: Almond Coconut Dream.
Think of an Almond Joy candy bar and then deconstruct it. The coconut filling is the consistency of pudding and becomes the bottom layer of the dessert. The chocolate layer is in the middle and delicious toasted almonds top it off. I find it hard to resist, even after a very filling Passover meal.
Leon Carr wrote the jingle for Hershey’s: “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t…” I think he must have been thinking of me, even though we do not know each other, as I fit that description perfectly.
I do deviate a tad from an Almond Joy candy bar. The candy maker uses milk chocolate to encase the coconut. I prefer a semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Just my personal preference and I strongly suggest using whichever kind of chocolate will make you, ‘Nutty,’ when assembling your Almond Coconut Dream.
|Almond Coconut Dream|| || |
- Pudding layer:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1¾ heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- Chocolate layer:
- 1½ tablespoons unsweetened butter
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- Top layer:
- 1 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- For the pudding layer:
- Combine the milk, ¾ cup cream, sugar and cornstarch or potato starch in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until the starch is dissolved. Add several tablespoons of the warm mixture to the egg yolks. Stir until combined and then add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan. Add the vanilla and coconut. Continue to cook over medium low heat until the mixture reaches a very thick pudding consistency, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the pudding to a medium size metal bowl and refrigerate, stirring periodically, until chilled, about 1 hour. Beat 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipping cream into the pudding and pour into a large crystal bowl. Refrigerate for a least 2 hours before topping.
- For the chocolate layer:
- Bring the butter and ½ cup cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn the stove off and add the chocolate. After 5 minutes, stir until smooth and pour over the custard.
- For the top layer:
- Place the almonds in a small freezer plastic bag and cut a 1½ “ opening in one of the bottom corners. Pour the almonds over the chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Almond Coconut Dream may be assembled one day before using.
- Allow the dessert to sit out for 30 minutes before serving or the chocolate will be too hard to spoon out.