This is the time of year when the Christmas music is on all the time, we start our mornings sitting by the fire doing our early day reading. At night we turn on the outside lights whose warm twinkle makes everything a bit more beautiful and festive. Its a wonderful time of year, a time to reflect on the abundance that we already have: our family who keeps us humble and in check, our friends who fill our hearts and spirits with joy, the comforts of life that we take for granted on a daily basis- a warm home, choices on what and when we eat, acknowledging the love in our lives, the blessing in knowing that our children will not be without. Let this be a time to look at the stuff we have acquired and a chance to assess what our needs really are. With the gift giving season upon us, take a moment to listen to what would be special and meaningful for those you love, let there be a shift in what you buy and give. Honor the blessings that are already before you and use this time to fill hearts and souls wisely.
With that off my heart, I wanted to share one of my most favorite holiday drinks with you, coquitio. Its the Puerto Rican cousin to egg nog and its by far our seasonal go to! I have tried many recipes over the years, some are too over spiced, some too too sweet and some plain, blah. This year I set out early to search for the perfect recipe and came upon the one below, its a little bit more time consuming but well worth the effort. I made the recipe a bit simpler by omitting the whole coconuts for dried flakes and replace the fennel seeds for a few spice berries for a bit of a different flavor.
Coquito (recipe adapted from Saveur)
4c dried unsweetened coconut flakes
2c premium coconut water
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
6 whole allspice berries
4 egg yolks
1 13.5-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. Kosher salt
1½ cups dark rum
Place coconut water in a small pot; add cinnamon stick, star anise, and allspice berries. Bring to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep 10 minutes. Strain and discard spices; set aside.Combine liquid and half of coconut meat in a blender; mix on high speed until finely pureed and thickened, about 30 seconds. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve or a milk nut bag into a measuring cup; , twisting tightly to extract liquid. Discard coconut solids and return strained liquid to blender with remaining coconut meat. Repeat blending and straining process (you should have 2-3 cups coconut milk, add water so that it equals to at least 2c); rinse blender .Combine coconut milk, yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in blender; mix on high speed until frothy, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in rum and refrigerate until ready to use.
We usually make ours without the rum unless we are having guests or a party, this way its kid friendly and the adults can spike their drink as needed. Enjoy!