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Starting with fresh coconut.

They're tough to crack, but if you know a few secrets, it's easy to penetrate the hard, brown shell of a coconut and remove the crisp and mildly sweet white meat. One simple method is to bake the whole fruit first-the heat forces the coconut to expand, often cracking the shell. As it cools, the meat contracts from the shell, making it easier to pry free.

You can eat the fresh coconut plain, or use it to flavor flan, or make a crust for baked chicken.

Fresh coconuts are generally available all year. When choosing one, shake it; you should hear lots of liquid sloshing around (the liquid is mildly sweet, and you can drink it if you like). The eyes of the coconut should show no sign of mold.

How to remove coconut meat from shell. With an ice pick or nail, pierce 2 or 3 of the coconut's eyes. Pour out liquid; reserve if desired. Place drained coconut on a 9-inch cake pan.

Bake in a 350[degrees] oven 25 to 30 minutes; shell may begin to crack. Let cool briefly, then place on a sturdy surface. To break into pieces, bit hard along cracks with a hammer. Pry white meat ftom sbell with a sturdy, blunt-ended knife or screwdriver. Rinse and drain meat (a thin, brown skin will be left on the outside).

If shelled ahead, cool, cover, and chill as long as overnight.

Coconut Flan

Coconut meat from 1 small

coconut (about 1 1/2 lb. in the shell); directions precede

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon coconut extract

Water

Coarsely shred enough of the coconut meat to make 1/4 CUP; set aside.

Pour 1/2 cup of the sugar in an 8- to 10inch frying pan. Shake and tilt pan over low heat until sugar melts and turns an amber color; at once, pour into a 9-inchdiameter cake pan. Tilt pan quickly to let syrup flow over bottom (syrup does not have to cover pan completely); set aside. Melt remaining 1/2 cup sugar in same frying pan, shaking pan over medium heat. When sugar turns amber color, add milk; stir over low heat until sugar melts and blends with milk (do not boil).

Meanwbile, cut remaining coconut into small chunks. In a blender or food processor, combine milk mixture and coconut; whirl until a thick pulpy mass. Let stand until cool enough to touch, about 15 minutes. Line a fine strainer with moistened cheesecloth; set in a bowl. Pour mixture through cloth; let drain. Squeeze cloth to remove all liquid; discard coconut. Whisk together eggs, coconut extract, and milk. Pour through fine strainer into pan.

Place cake pan in a larger pan and pour boiling water into larger pan so it comes about halfway up custard-filled pan. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until center of custard jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove custard pan from hot water; let cool. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or as long as overnight. Cut around pan sides with a knife, then cover flan with a rimmed serving plate. Holding plate in place, quickly invert. Leave pan in place a few minutes to allow flan to slip free and caramelized sugar to flow out. Sprinkle reserved coconut over top. Cut into wedges; serves 6 to 8.

Per serving., 266 cal.; 7.5 g protein; 16 g fat,- 25 g carbo.; 88 mg sodium; 214 mg chol.

Coconut-Crusted Chicken

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon coconut extract

Coconut meat from 1 small

coconut (about 1 1/2 lb. in the shell); directions precede

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup (1/2 lb.) melted butter or

margarine

1 cup salted roasted peanuts,

minced

3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skin

removed

In a shallow pan, beat eggs, cornstarch, and coconut extract. Cut coconut meat into small chunks and chop finely in a food processor or with a knife. In another shallow pan, mix coconut, curry powder, sugar, butter, and peanuts.

Dip chicken in egg mixture to coat, then roll in coconut mixture to coat lightly, pressing coconut into chicken. Place chicken, slightly apart and meaty side up, in 2 greased 10- by 15-inch baking pans.

Press remaining coconut mixture on top of chicken pieces to form an even layer. Bake in a 375[degrees] oven until chicken is well browned and no longer pink at bone (cut to test), about 45 minutes. Serves 6.

Per serving: 635.; 40g protein; 47 g fat; 17 g carbo.; 347 mg sodium; 238 mg chol
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1989
Words:771
Previous Article:Good-looking desserts ... you can make them ahead.
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