Tuesday, June 4, 2013
(Un)Baked! Strawberries with coconut milk whipped cream.
So, if you follow me on Instagram you've probably already seen this picture, and heard (well, read) my exclamations about the joys of coconut milk whipped cream, but I hope you'll indulge me this post, anyway.
I've been trying really hard to work on my diet lately—I'm watching what I eat, yes, but more importantly, I'm trying to cut back on the not-so-great stuff for me—refined sugar*, white flour and the like—and eat way more fruits, veggies, fish, etc. It's an ongoing process, but so far it's working pretty well, and I feel much better than I have in a long time.
One of the benefits of eating more fruit is that I definitely crave way less sweet stuff, but hello—you've seen the Baked! archives; you know I'm a sweet tooth at heart and will never say no to a good dessert. So last week, I got the idea to cut up some fresh strawberries and make a small batch of whipped cream with leftover cream from when I last made this insane cake.
Well, turns out the cream had spoiled (gross—I tasted it to make sure and that's an experience I never care to relive), but I still had a hankering for berries and cream. So after a little Googling, I ended up pulling out a can of coconut milk (I always have tons of it on hand for curry and the like), stuck it in the fridge until it was completely chilled, skimmed off the cream top, and put it in my mixer with a little sugar and vanilla extract. And you guys, it was so good. There's a definite coconut flavor to it—not super strong, but it's there—so if you don't like coconut, I wouldn't recommend making this. And actually, because of that flavor, I'd personally stick to serving this with fruit-based dishes. But if you want a non-dairy, vegan whipped cream replacement, this is an amazing one. In fact, I'll probably make coconut milk whipped cream way more than I will the dairy version from now on.
Here's how I made it—barely adapted from The Kitchn:
1 can full-fat organic coconut milk (I use Whole Foods' brand or Thai Kitchen)
1 Tbsp. sugar or sweetener of your choice, or more to taste (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
Put your can of coconut milk in the fridge and keep it there until it's thoroughly chilled, a few hours or even overnight. (Real talk: I was impatient and stuck mine in the freezer for awhile. Everything worked fine.) When it's cool, open the can and skim off the firm, almost waxy layer of cream on top. Do not include the watery liquid below it; you can save that for smoothies or drink it straight from the can, though. Place cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat, gradually increasing the speed, until soft peaks form. Add sweetener and vanilla to taste and mix in thoroughly; serve immediately atop fresh berries or the dessert of your choice.
*Yes, it's true: After my spiel about cutting back on white sugar, I totally used some for this recipe. But I bet coconut sugar—which is totally a thing!—would be fantastic here, and enhance the flavor of the coconut milk. If I try that, I'll let you know how it goes.
P.S. Before I made this, I was going to use my strawberries to make a version of these berry crumb bars; don't they look good?