This cocada is gooey and even custardy, with a caramelized, chewy surface and bottom and the unmistakable fleshy crunch of coconut.
Notes: This is a rather sweet dessert; don't be tempted to substitute sweetened coconut. The unsweetened variety can be found in the organic aisle of many supermarkets or at health food stores. The recipe also calls for coconut milk: do not substitute cream of coconut.
Cocada will keep in an airtight container for one week.
- Baking spray
- 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk (See Notes)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (See Notes)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray an 8- by 8-inch cake pan with baking spray. Line pan with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil lengthwise with one sheet, then crosswise with a second sheet to create a sling; spray once again—generously—with baking spray.
In medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt; set aside.
Stir sugar and water together in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil syrup until it registers 238-240°F on candy thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in coconut, then stir in egg yolk mixture.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and pudding-like and just coats the coconut shreds, 12 to 15 minutes.
Scrape coconut mixture into prepared baking pan and bake until edges look crisp and dark golden, 35 to 45 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely in baking dish, about 1 to 2 hours. Pull cocada out, remove and discard parchment, and cut into squares using a lightly oiled sharp knife. Serve.
8- by 8-inch square baking pan, parchment paper, medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, candy thermometer, cooling rack