Coconut Pots de Cremes with Coconut-Almond Snaps
Pastry Chef Ann Dunbar tucks both toasted and untoasted coconut into her pots de crèmes and then accompanies them with coconut-almond cookies. Both recipes are fairly simple for the home cook. The pots de crèmes are simply baked custards, and the cookies are made with prepared puff pastry. Notice her simple and clever trick for making the snaps look pretty: she rolls from both sides of the dough to the middle, so the finished snaps look like two tiny spirals held together by a C-shaped piece of pastry, rather than the more usual single round spiral.
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Pure Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Freshly Grated Coconut - 3 tablespoons
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Coconut-Almond Snaps (recipe below)
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Coconut-Almond Snaps (Makes 16)
- Frozen puff pastry - 1 sheet, thawed
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), at room temperature
- Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
- Ground Almonds - 1/2 cup (2 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 300 F. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, heat the cream to warm. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in the warm cream and vanilla. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve.
Spread half of the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until toasted. Put 1 teaspoon of toasted coconut and 1 teaspoon untoasted coconut in each of four ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish. Skim the bubbles from the custard, then pour the custard into the ramekins. Pour hot water into the baking dish to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil or a baking sheet. Bake or 45 to 50 minutes, or until the custards are set. Let cool for several hours before serving.
To serve: Lightly dust the top half of each serving plate with confectioner’s sugar; lightly dust the lower half with cocoa powder. Place a pot de crème in the center of the upper half of each. Arrange 3 coconut-almond snaps below each pot de crème.
Place the puff pastry on a work surface that has been sprinkled with sugar. Using a pastry brush, spread half of the butter evenly over the pastry. Generously sprinkle sugar over the buttered pastry. Lightly sprinkle coconut and ground almonds over the pastry. Roll up jellyroll style, but roll from each side toward the center, creating two spirals which meet at the center. Sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press each slice with the palm of your hand to flatten. Spread each slice with a little of the remaining butter and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the baking sheets halfway through the baking to ensure even browning.