Coconut Squash Custard

coconut squash custard(serves 6-8)

Adapted from Saveur magazine.

Baked inside a hollowed out kabocha squash, this popular treat is found in markets throughout Laos.

One 1 1/2 -2 pound kabocha squash

½ cup canned coconut cream

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon table salt

6 egg yolks

Using a long sharp knife, cut off the top of the squash, about 1” from the stem end. Discard top. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and fibers to make a hollow cavity. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut cream and ¼ cup of the brown sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, while whisking occasionally; remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar with the salt and egg yolks until yolks are smooth and pale yellow. While whisking the yolks, slowly drizzle in the hot coconut cream mixture. Transfer mixture to the top of a double boiler set over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour custard into the reserved squash and set on rack in the bottom of an 8”x8” baking dish. Pour 1 cup boiling water into dish. Bake until knife inserted into center of custard comes out clean, about 2 hours. Let cool; slice into 6 wedges. Serve at room temperature or chilled.