Thanks Michelle! Over to you...
This is a recipe which I’ve created especially for Nutrition by Nature which I hope you will love as much as I did! Here’s why this recipe is pretty special - It contains some of my favourite ingredients and real food super foods. Including...
Eggs. The delicious super-orbs delivering a range of health-giving substances:
- Protein, necessary for body structure and function, including collagen and keratin formation for healthy skin and hair, immune function, hormone production, optimal metabolism and the transport of oxygen in our blood. Eggs contain some of the most readily bioavailable protein (Timberlake, 2004).
- Cholesterol, which forms the basis of all steroid hormones, vitamin D, bile for the beginning of fat digestion (you need cholesterol to digest fat!) and hormones involved in stress, blood volume & pressure. Cholesterol is also a major component our cell membranes, our brain (!) and myelin sheath (which covers our nerves), so we can safely say that cholesterol is pretty important! The thing to note about cholesterol is that it is only found in animal products and generally it’s better to get substances like these from our diet (rather than relying on our body to solely produce it) (Timberlake, 2004).
- Choline, which is a forms component of our cell membranes as lecithin, and has been named an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (Zeisel & da Costa, 2009). It has many roles in our body including neurotransmitter production, regulation of various metabolic and detoxification pathways, and fat mobilisation and emulsification (Zeisel & da Costa, 2009). Eggs are one of the best sources of choline and, even though it can be produced by our bodies, it's not produced in quantities enough to meet our needs (Zeisel & da Costa, 2009).
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Eggs also contain fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
Gelatin. Gelatin is a skin beautifying, joint and digestion-assisting substance (due to the high proline and glycine content – which are components of collagen fibres) (Daniel, 2003). It is also another long-forgotten nourishing food which is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to its health-giving properties. As a food, gelatin can even be consumed in the form of homemade bone broth which is a delicious food in its own right. In this recipe I've used Great Lakes powdered gelatin (the red container – the green container, or hydrolysed collagen, isn't suitable for this purpose as it won't set).
All these nourishing foods can be easily incorporated into your diet, and together they make a pretty delicious dessert!
Vanilla bean coconut milk custard with crushed meringues
and strawberry-Infused honey
- For the meringues:
115g raw sugar or rapadura sugar (4 oz ) (ground till fine in a food processor)
Separate your eggs, adding the egg whites into a very clean metal or glass bowl (there should be no moisture present in the bowl – so make sure it is very dry) (avoid a plastic bowl). Put the egg yolks aside in a bowl (you'll use those to make the custard). Pre-heat the oven to 100 degrees C (212 degrees F). Grind your sugar to a very fine powder using a high speed blender. Set aside.
Using a hand-held or a stand mixer beat egg whites at a medium speed until stiff peaks form. While still beating the egg whites, slowly add your very fine sugar, ~1 tsp. at a time until all the sugar has been beaten into the egg whites and the egg whites have become a thick and glossy consistency. Spoon or pipe your meringue mixture to round tablespoon sized portions onto a parchment/baking paper lined tray. Bake the meringues for about 130 minutes at 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) (fan-forced) (avoid opening the oven). When then they cooked they should be hard to the touch, sound hollow and not bounce back. Turn the oven off and leave them to cool and dry out overnight.
2. For the vanilla bean coconut milk custard:
400ml/ 14 oz (full fat) coconut milk (or 350ml low-fat coconut milk + 2 tbsp./1 fl. oz coconut oil/butter)
2 tbs (1 fl. Oz) honey
2 egg yolks plus the two egg yolks leftover from the meringue
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped
A pinch of salt
1 tbs gelatin & 2 tbs water
Heat coconut milk till over a double boiler till warm (i.e. a wide metal bowl over a narrower saucepan filled 1/3 with water – when the water is boiling make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Add honey, dissolve using a whisk.
Separate your eggs and add the yolks to the bowl of leftover yolks from the meringues. You can keep the extra egg whites for another cooking project (you can also freeze them in a zip-lock bag for storage).
Beat egg yolks till thick and creamy. Now take a tbsp. at a time of the warm coconut milk, while whisking the egg yolks and temper the coconut milk into the egg yolks (if you do this too fast it can curdle) until the egg yolks and milk have all been mixed together.
Now pour this mixture back into the metal bowl. Turn the heat down to medium-low and whisk the custard making sure to touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Strain the custard through a fine sieve to remove any cooked and coagulated proteins.
Dissolve the gelatin in the room temperature water and then whisk this into the custard. Divide the custard into three or four small ramekins. Gently tap the bowls on a flat surface or countertop to remove any bubbles from the custard mixture. Leave this to set in the fridge overnight.
3. For the strawberry-infused honey:
4 strawberries (greens removed), chopped finely or mashed
2 tbsp. (1 fl. Oz) honey
In a small saucepan, add the honey and strawberries. Heat on low while crushing the strawberries until the honey has taken on the colour of the strawberries and the strawberries have become pale. Strain through a mesh strainer.
To assemble all your components and serve:
Pour the coconut milk custard into ramekins and either set it in the fridge or leave it as is. Top with crushed meringues, fresh strawberries and a drizzle of strawberry-infused honey.