Now if ever there were a favorite Puerto Rican dessert that I just love and consider one of my favorites, then this one is most definitely it. By far, one of the most recognized desserts in the Puerto Rican community and one of the all time favorites of most, is the Tembleque. Translated it means, to tremble (jiggle). My mom use to make it, and it dates back to my childhood and then some. I received this recipe from my aunt in Puerto Rico, on one of my visits a few years ago. She states that it was my grandfathers recipe from my fathers side, so it holds a great deal of sentiment and value. I made it and it was pure heaven and joy no doubt.
1 can of coconut cream 15 oz
1 can of water using the can as a measuring cup
Add enough milk to make 4 cups total of liquid
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1/2 tsp lime zest (optional)
2 tsp orange flower water extract (or vanilla ext. optional)
1/2 cup maizena (cornstarch) add water to make a slurry
In a 3 or 4 quart sauce pot, combine the coconut cream, water and milk, salt and orange flower extract. (Optional lime zest). Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid and combine it with the 1/2 cup of cornstarch to make a slurry. Whisk the cornstarch and reserved liquid till thoroughly combined. Turn the heat up to medium and gently simmer the custard, do not boil. As the liquid is heating or coming up to temperature, add the reserved 1/4 cup of liquid and cornstarch (slurry), to the pot and whisk gently with a balloon whisk or rubber spatula to combine. Continue whisking as the mixture thickens, to prevent any clumping (very important). You can also add 1 cinnamon stick to the mixture as it is cooking. This part is optional too, but I like it as it adds a warm spiciness to the tembleque. It should be smooth and creamy. Once you see small bubbles start to form on the surface, the tembleque is done. Turn off the heat and pour the custard into a small 8″x8″x2″ square mold, or your favorite heirloom mold like I did; a gift from my aunt handed down to her by my grandfather, whose name sake I am. Note: Remove the cinnamon stick. Spread the custard to cover the mold evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon powder and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before placing it into the refrigerator. Allow the custard to cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Once chilled cut squares and serve. If you like you can make small quenelles and place on top of the serving for decoration and a nice finishing touch. My personal favorite way to serve. Done!
Note: You can let the can of coconut cream stand in hot water before opening to soften, as it can be a bit thick and waxy.