Coconut Meringue Pudding solved all my last minute dessert problems recently and I’ll definitely make it again. Here’s the scenario that created this burst of creativity. The kids ate the pineapple I had reserved for a simple fresh fruit dessert. The oven would be busy for hours so I couldn’t bake anything. No time or desire for a trip to the store. Besides, where’s the fun in that? What could I make with the contents of my cupboard, fridge, freezer, right then and there?
Canned unsweetened coconut milk, a frozen package of unsweetened coconut and some sweetened coconut flakes, eggs, milk, sugar.
How about a coconut pudding made with a combination of coconut and regular milk topped with a billowy meringue just like the pie, except cooked on the stove top and served in a souffle or other 2-quart baking dish without a crust to bake. Worked like a charm. The pudding is thickened with cornstarch and enriched with egg yolks. Save the whites for the meringue.
I decided to go ahead with the meringue so everything would be ready ahead, but I could also have waited until just before dinner to do a final browning when the oven would be empty. The ham didn’t mind and waited patiently on the counter for a quick 15 minutes while the meringue baked and browned. It was beautiful.
Serve the pudding warm or chilled. I hadn’t made meringue in quite some time and was glad to become reacquainted. Once again, I said to myself “why don’t I make this more often?” It looked so fancy. And I will make this more often because this luscious dessert is not dependent on seasonal ingredients (for a change) and can be made quickly anytime.
- 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
- About 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 package (6 ounces) frozen unsweetened coconut, thawed
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sweetened grated coconut (optional)
Combine 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
Pour the coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add enough milk to equal 3 cups.
Pour the milk mixture into the saucepan. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the unsweetened coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until the pudding is thick and bubbly.
Cook and stir while bubbling an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the hot pudding into the yolks temper the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, stirring constantly.
Cook and stir an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the pudding into a 2-quart baking dish and allow to cool while you make the meringue.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, adding about a spoonful at a time, on high speed until thick and creamy with stiff peaks. Spread evenly over the pudding to the edges of the dish, creating decorative peaks with a knife or spatula. Sprinkle with the sweetened coconut. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until the coconut and the top are flecked with golden brown. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 8 servings.