Fresh coconut cream or butter has no comparison. Coconut cream will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, so spread it on waffles, stir it into overnight oats, dollop it on cake slices, or eat it straight with a spoon.
By Natasha Steinburg
You can find young coconuts at Whole Foods or Asian food markets. To ensure you’re getting reliably sourced and responsibly treated coconuts, I would go with Whole Foods, especially if you’re concerned about the rumors of dipping young coconuts in weird stuff to preserve them. You can apparently also buy organic young coconuts online, although I’ve not gone that route myself.
Choose coconuts that are heavy for their size. When you shake the coconut, you should not hear the coconut water sloshing around inside. Process the coconuts as soon as possible after purchasing, as they go bad fairly quickly. If you don’t plan to process the coconuts on the same day you purchase them, store them in the fridge. When you break open the coconut, the meat should be bright white and the water clear. Pink or yellow coconut flesh or water means that the coconut is rancid.
- 2 Thai young coconuts
- Starting at the top point of the coconut, cut off the soft white husk all around the top to expose the hard shell underneath. Using the bottom corner edge of the knife (not the blade), gently but firmly whack around the top of the coconut until it cracks open. You don't really need a meat cleaver or anything that hardcore for this--just a sturdy knife will do.
- Remove the top of the coconut and pour the coconut water out through a fine mesh strainer.
- Using a sturdy spoon or spatula, wedge underneath the coconut meat and scrape along the inside shell to loosen. Remove the meat and place in a medium bowl. The amount of coconut meat and how easily it is to remove will vary from coconut to coconut.
- Once all the meat is removed, cover with cold water. Clean the coconut meat of all stray pieces of shell. The brown bits should come off easily with your fingers in the water, but you can use a spoon to scrape off any stubborn bits. I like to rinse the clean pieces quickly under cold running water to make sure any bits hidden in crevices are washed away.
- Place the cleaned coconut meat in a blender. Pour in coconut water and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. The amount of coconut water needed will vary depending on how much meat your coconuts yield and how thin you want the coconut cream to be. I usually start with about ¼ cup of the coconut water and add more as necessary to loosen the cream. Obviously, the more coconut water you add, the thinnner the cream will be. I prefer a thicker, butter-like yet spreadable consistency. Keep in mind that the coconut cream will thicken in the fridge.
- Coconut cream will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so. I spread it on waffles, stir it into overnight oats, dollop it on cake slices, eat it straight with a spoon, etc. It's delicious.
Natasha is a love-and-matriarch-taught maker of sweet things. She is passionate about using local and seasonal ingredients and making simple, satisfying sweets that make even the least of sweet tooths swoon. Although she is a native Texan, she currently resides in Atlanta where she is finishing up law school and documenting her sweet adventures through photos, recipes, and stories on her blog at tartletsweets.blogspot.com.