Cream of Coconut
Cream of Coconut – creamy thick coconut milk – is available in almost every supermaket. Instead of Cream of Coconut, you can use coconut syrup in most recipes.
Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. The difference is mainly consistency. It has a thicker, more paste-like consistency, while coconut milk is generally a liquid. Coconut cream is used as an ingredient in cooking, having a mild non-sweet taste.
Coconut milk is an ingredient that is often called for in baking recipes that showcase coconut, used in place of regular milk or other liquids to further emphasize the coconut flavor of a recipe. Most grocery stores stock it, and they also stock a similar looking product called cream of coconut. Coconut milk is a creamy liquid with the consistency of milk made by cooking coconut and water together and straining out the coconut meat. Cream of coconut is to coconut milk what condensed milk is to regular milk: cream of coconut is a very thick, almost paste-like cream that is essentially cream of coconut with most of the water removed from it. It is made by chilling coconut milk and skimming off the thick, rich layer of cream that forms on top of it. Coconut cream has a buttery mouth feel and a good coconut flavor, but it is not particularly sweet.
Although basic cream of coconut is not a sweetened product, many types of cream of coconut sold in stores come presweetened. These are typically used for making mixed drinks and ice creams, where you want an intense flavor and sweetness. Cans are not always clearly labeled that they have been sweetened (making them more like sweetened condensed milk than evaporated milk), so it is important to check the labels when picking some up. Cream of coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, is not often called for in baked goods or recipes because coconut milk is more widely available and easier to incorporate, but know that cream of coconut should not be substituted directly for coconut milk in recipes, especially when dealing with baked goods.
Coconut cream can be made by simmering one part shredded coconut with one part water or milk until frothy, then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible; this is coconut milk. The coconut milk is refrigerated and allowed to set. Coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part that separates and rises to the top of the coconut milk.
Cream of coconut is coconut cream that has been sweetened for use in desserts and beverages like the piña colada.
Creamed coconut is a compressed block of coconut flesh which has been slightly dehydrated and sold in a waxy lump.
Homemade Coconut Cream Recipe:
1 coconut, shell removed and flesh grated (or 2.5 ounces fresh grated coconut), coconut water reserved
Reserved coconut water, plus enough cream or milk to measure 1 quart
In a heavy saucepan, cover the grated coconut with the coconut water and cream. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring often. Cover with a lid and let cool to room temperature.
Place a sieve or strainer over a large bowl. Line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the soaked coconut with its liquid into the lined strainer. Lift the cheesecloth, pull the edges together, and squeeze out the coconut cream.
The remaining coconut flesh may be air-dryed and/or toasted for other uses.
Refrigerate the coconut cream and use within 5 days.
Use coconut cream in savory dishes, desserts, and drinks.
Yield: About 1 quart