Coconut heart shaped flan

It was Easter oh so many years ago when my son Kim was 8 years old that he discovered yet another one of life’s reality lessons, ‘there is no cure for the facts of life.’
   Memories…That particular Easter week my two boys, Kim and his brother Randy were ‘off’ to Boy Scout camp for four days and I was busy preparing for the huge family gathering; instead of our traditional Easter turkey, we were planning a pork barbecue. 
   It seems just yesterday…the boys left the house for camp in their Boy Scout caps and shirts with neck scarves…we couldn’t afford uniform pants, patched holes in Levies had to do.  It was before rips and holes in jeans became the fashion…I felt sad, but it was the best I could do at the time.  We were told the boys would be deposited back home on Easter morning. 
   Memories of that Easter week.  Grandma and Grandpa lived next door on a couple of acres where they raised vegetables and chickens, a pig or two, a calf, a goat or a lamb that Grandpa would bring home from the Red Barn auction house on Hwy. 101 near Prunedale.  Imagine ten cents a pound…’live on the hoof’ it was called at the time.  My boys loved riding in the old silver painted pickup that Grandpa had proudly brush on himself with free paint he had found at the local county dump.  This was, believe me, a sight to behold.
   A few weeks before that particular Easter, Grandpa and the boys arrived home from the auction house with a mother pig and her one surviving piglet which was part of the deal.  Kim was ecstatic…it was love at first sight of the piglet. 
   Days seemed to fly by as I was busy caring for my family all the while cooking and baking my Easter Coconut Flan for the ‘big day’.  Grandma and Grandpa were always in charge of the meat and I and the other women in the family were in charge of the rest of the food.   The men would be hanging around the barbecue pit, turning the meat slowly by hand as we did not have an electric spit.  Beer and wine seemed to flow freely as the men oversaw the cooking process.  That Easter, pork was on the menu and with the entire clan at the table, at least forty pounds of meat had to be cooked and would be consumed that day.               
   The fire had to be started before dawn broke as it took time for the coals to come to the right temperature for the meat to go on the spit.
   Being a ‘God-fearing family’, we would take turns keeping an eye on the fire during the morning while each family rotated attending Mass and then watching the meat.  My work for the day was to ‘keep the kitchen running’ and the kids under control; ten cousins all under the age of 12 was a handful…you know what I was going through, plus a couple of dogs and a cat or two thrown into this mix. 
   I remember sending someone to check on the time the pork would be coming ‘off’ the BBQ and then I saw my boys coming through the gate.  ’Ah ha, home from camp, safe and sound’ I thought…I was relieved.
   And then I heard the screaming from my son Kim who had gone next door to the group around the barbecue pit where Piglet was rotating ‘round and ‘round above the hot coals; Piglet roasting in the place where I expected to see a couple of pork loin roasts cooking.  And my poor little Boy Scout, standing in the middle of the yard, tears running down his cheeks, screaming over and over, “no one told me that pork was pig.
   That particular Easter most of the family ate tuna fish sandwiches for our Easter dinner.
   The following recipe for a coconut flan can be baked in any holiday shaped pan…I used a heart mold for mine.  Happy Easter!
Coconut Flan

  1.  In a 400 deg. oven toast 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes until medium brown.  Reserve.
  2. Place 1 cup granulated sugar in a non-stick sauce pan.  Melt sugar by swirling occasionally, do not stir.  Continually swirling until sugar is melted and becomes dark golden brown.
  3. Pour melted sugar into bottom of mold evenly.  Let cool and harden. 

Mix together until well blended:
5 large eggs
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups coconut milk
1 ½ cups gran. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour into mold.  Place mold in larger pan and add 2 inches of boiling hot water to outer pan.  Bake 60 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center of flan comes out clean. 
When flan is cold, unmold on dish with a rim to catch the melted caramel sauce and add toasted coconut to top of flan.  Delicious served with lightly sweetened whip cream.

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Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].


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