All you who can’t have dairy anymore, coconut cream will make your life so much easier and make dairy free desserts taste so much better! I never used to use it before going dairy free, but now I probably use it too much…it is high in saturated fats but there are currently lots of studies around whether coconut is actually good for us.
I am kind of sitting on the fence – as a nutrition student I am supposed to be a bit sceptical…but it doesn’t stop me from having coconut cream now and again to substitute ordinary dairy cream in desserts. It’s so good!
You may have noticed a bit of hype lately around coconut, especially coconut oil. It is high in the saturated fat that we are supposed to reduce, so it is a bit controversial. The argument for coconut products is that the type of saturated fat in coconuts are compromised of medium chain fatty acids, unlike the saturated fats found in meats and dairy products, and thought to actually protect against heart disease and not have a negative affect on cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, some cultures where coconut products comprise a large part of their diets have been found to have a low incidence of heart disease, which seems to support these claims that coconut products are not as bad as they seem. But there are many more studies to be done on coconut products and how they are processed by the body, so watch this space.
So while coconut cream is high in saturated fat, it may not be the worst thing ever. But until solid research is released and the benefits are confirmed, I try not to go overboard. Now to get this delish coconut cream in Australia, you have a few options.
#1 GET PURE COCONUT CREAM
This stuff is purely coconut kernel extract in a can with no added water. In Australia, you can buy it in small cans such as Ayam Premium Coconut Cream. It is super thick and after being chilled in the fridge for a few hours, it whips up into a nice thick cream.
It is a bit more expensive than coconut milk because it’s 100% coconut extract, not pumped with added water. You can get other brands that are cheaper such as Woolworths Select Coconut Cream but this brand has additives and isn’t as thick so I usually go for Ayam.
I usually use this option because I get a much thicker whipped cream than the next option. If you want a thinner pouring cream, use the next method.
#2 SEPARATE THE CREAM FROM FULL FAT COCONUT MILK
To get coconut cream this way, you use a can of full fat coconut milk (or some brands call it coconut ‘cream’, but when it has added water its the same thing), the less % of water the better, and put it in the fridge overnight. The coconut cream should rise to the top of the can after being refrigerated and can be scooped off the top of the can. Their will be some coconut water left at the bottom which you can add to smoothies to use it up.
However, some brands of coconut milk/cream don’t work well and won’t separate. In Australia, I’ve found that TCC Premium Coconut Milk and Woolworths homebrand Coconut Cream work best. Trident Coconut Milk and Coles Coconut Milk didn’t separate well. Occasionally, I buy a can that usually separates, open it, and its a liquidy mess. This may happen to you, so have a few spares in the cupboard for emergencies.
Here’s a simple way to whip up the coconut cream to serve with a healthy dessert or to use in some recipes I will post in the future:
makes 1 cup
– 1 cup coconut cream (from either option above)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1-2 teaspoons rice malt syrup or honey
Chuck all ingredients into a bowl and whip it, whip it good (you knew it was coming) with some electric beaters until it’s at the desired thickness. Easy!
If you use pure coconut cream chilled from the fridge, you will get a nice thick cream (like the one in my photo). If you use the other option, you will have to whip it a bit longer to get it thicker.
Serve it the same way you would with ordinary cream. It will have a bit of a coconut flavour obviously, but its not that strong and its worth it to have a cream substitute. Now you won’t feel deprived when everyone gets to have cream with dessert!