Adapted from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen

1 c. sugar
2 c. half-and-half
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg yolks
1/2 c. packed shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Finely diced fruits for garnish  (strawberries, mango and kiwi shown here)

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, cook 1/2 c. of the sugar until it caramelizes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let it get too dark.

Divide the caramel between eight custard cups, and swirl the caramel around in the cups to coat the sides as much as you can. 

In a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half with the remaining 1/2 c. of sugar to just below the scalding point.  When little wisps of steam start to rise, remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs and egg yolks just until blended. Add in the cooled half-and-half a little at a time, alternating with small bits of coconut.  Make sure you whisk the coconut well — after being packed in the measuring cup it tends to clump. Mix in the vanilla at the end.

Divide the egg mixture between the eight custard cups. Place the cups in a baking pan — try to find one that fits them snugly, otherwise the water bath becomes cumbersome.  Pour boiling water into the baking pan until it comes 2/3 of the way up the sides of the custard cups.  Place in the hot oven and bake for 35 minutes.  Employ the classic toothpick test to ensure doneness.

Remove pan from oven, remove cups from pan, and let them cool to room temperature.  Cover lightly with cling wrap or foil and refrigerate.

To serve, run a small spatula or knife around the edge of each cup, making sure to get down to the bottom where the caramel is thickest. Invert on a serving plate, and decorate with your daintiest fruit mélange.  

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Written by on May 31, 2010 under ALL RECIPES.

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