I intended to make some Hawaiian haupia today, but in retrospect, it seems that I've made a chunky Puerto Rican tembleque instead, purely by accident. It doesn't really matter, because it's still creamy, delicious, fantastic coconut.
Haupia is supposed to be more solid, like a jelly, and is served in cubes. However, my coconut pudding wouldn't set (not that it matters, since it's still really gooey and delicious) and I also had added vanilla (my sister wanted it) and cinnamon (I wanted it) to the concoction, thus making it more of a tembleque. I also wanted to add nutmeg but my sister opposed that idea. Either way, I stupidly put the hot slurry into a plastic container, so maybe my tembleque is now infused with plastic fumes. Fun.
The pudding's also not really photogenic, especially with indoor photography (it's been raining on/off for the past 64 hours).
The original recipe is here, but I modified it (figures...)
INGREDIENTS for about 500 ml of tembleque
400 ml (1 can) coconut milk
100 g (or more) fresh coconut
50 g sugar
0.5 tsp salt
part of a cinnamon stick
20 g cornstarch
40 ml fat-free milk
1. Roughly chop coconut. If you're really finicky, you can shred coconut but it takes a lot of time. Chopping coconut chunks into pieces ranging from shreds to pea-size is perfectly acceptable.
2. Mix coconut, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and however much cinnamon and/or vanilla you want in a saucepan.
3. Plop saucepan on medium heat, and stir. You'll start to see bubbles on the side of the pan. Dissolve the cornstarch to the fat-free milk in a non-plastic container.
4. Keep stirring the mixture in the saucepan until you see huge gloopy bubbles form in the middle of the mixture, which will start to foam and rise. This took me about 7 minutes in total.
5. Pour all of the mixture from the saucepan into the milk/cornstarch mixture and stir quickly! Remove cinnamon pieces (optional. Just remember you have them there).
6. Let goo cool. Stick it in the fridge.
7. SLURP UP THE DELICIOUS FRESH&CANNED COCONUT FLAVOUR!
For me, the tembleque had the consistency of really thick porridge/gruel after refrigeration, but it did not adhere to other materials very easily (unlike yoghurt) so it was probably 70-90% the texture of haupia, since it wasn't entirely solid. It tasted mildly of cinnamon, which was really great. The pudding part tasted pretty light, which complimented the fresh chunks of coconut.
UPDATE: Actually, leaving the pudding in the fridge overnight meant that my pudding is solid, can be cut into cubes, and looks more like chunky haupia.
UPDATE (26 August): I made coconut pudding again today without coconut milk; I just grated fresh coconut, added 800 ml of water to it, threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, and let it simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Then I mixed some cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water and then added the hot coconut slurry to it. Cornstarch clumps when it's added to hot water (from my experience).