Egg-less, gluten-free, and milk-less this pudding is the perfect dessert for those with health restrictions. Coconut Tembleque with Guava Sauce is the classic pudding of Puerto Rico. It is made with only coconut milk, cornstarch, sugar and a pinch of salt… a blank palette that lends itself to a multitude of variations. You can substitute cream of coconut and half-and-half to enrich the base, so long as the proportions of liquid to cornstarch remain the same, 8 parts liquid to 1 part cornstarch. Cow’s milk alone or soy milk alone will also work in this pudding. Adjust the amount of sugar according to taste but do add the pinch of salt no matter what.
This is a super-easy dessert to make. It just requires constant stirring until boiled for 3 minutes. Vanilla bean seeds may be added to the base before cooking. Everything else is added after the cooking, including the flavorings such as extracts, citrus juice, liquor, flaked coconut, sliced almonds, chopped pistachios, or dried fruit. The sauce can be made with anything from kumquats with Grand Marnier to raspberries with Chambord. Get creative and make it a classic of your own.
Ingredients for Coconut Pistachio Tembleque:
- 4 cups coconut milk (2 15-ounce cans)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 3 Tbsp sweetened coconut, shredded or flaked
- 1/3 cup salted pistachio nuts, chopped coarsely (set aside for bottom of molds)
- Measure the cornstarch, sugar and salt into a sauce pan.
- Place the sauce pan over medium high heat and add the coconut milk. Whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Continue stirring and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Take care to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan often to prevent burning.
- Remove from heat. Fold in coconut extract and coconut flakes.
- Rinse 6 5-ounce molds with cold water. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts evenly on the bottom of each mold. Carefully pour the pudding over the nuts.
- Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- To serve: pour 1-2 Tbsp of guava rum sauce on each individual serving plate. Using a knife dipped in cold water, loosen the pudding from the sides of the mold and place pudding in center of guava sauce. Pass around the remaining sauce.
Ingredients for Guava Rum Sauce:
- 1 11-ounce can guava paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp lime juice (or to taste)
- 2 Tbsp dark rum (or to taste)
- Melt the guava paste with the water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until smooth.
- Remove from heat, add the lime juice 1/2 tsp at a time until desired tartness and sparkle is achieved.
- Add the rum to taste.
- Cool to room temperature.