Coconut Meringue Pudding

by Min Merrell
Coconut Meringue

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. 

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