These silky custards draw on a clever chef trick; using coconut milk powder instead of tinned coconut milk means you get the most perfect pale custards and avoid the greyish tinge of tinned milk. I like to steam my custards, but you can also bake them in the oven if you prefer (see Tip). Either way, with their touch of star anise and their simple maple syrup glaze, they’re totally delicious.
250g (1 cup) water
50g coconut milk powder (1 sachet)
250g (1 cup) milk
2 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp pure maple syrup, plus extra to serve
1. Place water and coconut milk powder into a saucepan and stir until completely dissolved and combined. Add milk, star anise and cinnamon quill, and warm for 5 minutes on a gentle heat to allow spices to infuse (do not bring to the boil).
2. While milk and spices are warming, whisk together eggs, egg yolks and maple syrup in a large heat-proof bowl. Gradually add coconut milk mixture, pouring through a sieve to strain the spices, whisking until combined with the egg mixture. Divide between 6 ramekins (125ml capacity).
3. Cook custards in a bamboo steamer over a wok that is one-third filled with simmering water (or you can use a conventional steamer – either way, make sure the steamer doesn’t touch the water) for about 25 minutes or until custards are just set (they should still have a slight wobble).
4. Top each custard with ¼-½ teaspoon of extra maple syrup and swirl ramekin gently until surface is coated with syrup, then serve warm.
- Baked custards: Divide coconut mixture between 6 ramekins (125ml capacity). Place ramekins into a deep-sided baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 180°C (160°C fan) oven or until a knife inserted into the centre of custard comes out clean. The custard will still have a slight wobble when set. Drizzle each custard with ¼–½ teaspoon of maple syrup and swirl ramekin gently until surface is coated with syrup, then serve warm.
- Place eggs, egg yolks and syrup into a large ceramic or glass jug and whisk to combine, then set aside.
- Place coconut milk powder and 250g water into mixing bowl and mix 5 sec/speed 5 or until completely dissolved and combined. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
- Add milk, star anise and cinnamon and heat 5 min/80°C/Rev/speed 1.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, slowly add coconut mixture to reserved egg mixture, whisking to combine. Discard spices. Clean and dry mixing bowl.
- Ensure 6 ramekins (125 ml each) fit comfortably into Varoma dish and tray (see below). Divide mixture evenly between ramekins.
- Place 500g water into mixing bowl. Place Varoma dish into position. Place 3 ramekins into Varoma dish and cover with baking paper to prevent water from dripping into them. Insert Varoma tray. Place remaining 3 ramekins onto it and cover with baking paper. Secure Varoma lid, then steam 15–20 min/Varoma/speed 1, until just set (custards should have a slight wobble – see Tips).
- Top each custard with ¼–½ teaspoon extra syrup and swirl ramekin gently until surface is coated with syrup, then serve.
Tip: Depending on the size and shape of your ramekins, you may not be able to fit all of them into the Varoma at the same time. If this occurs, steam the custards in batches. They will take less time to steam, so be sure to check them after 10 minutes of steaming, then check every few minutes until they’re cooked to your liking. The custards in the Varoma dish may cook more quickly and may need to be removed sooner than those on the Varoma tray.