This variation of flan uses fresh or frozen coconut and is adapted from Mariana Valasquez’s book Colombiana. It needs to be prepared well in advance since it needs to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours. It makes 8 servings and is not very sweet. I found frozen shredded coconut at the New Grand supermarket
12 oz. fresh or frozen unsweetened grated coconut
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the sugar in a small skillet and cook it over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns brown. Do not stir, but do swirl the skillet as necessary so that all of the sugar melts. This will take about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, which may spatter. Stir in the juice and then pour the caramel into the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan. Quickly swirl the pan to fully coat the bottom.
In a large bowl mix together the coconut, cream, condensed milk, egg yolks, and milk.
Put the egg whites and the cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Start mixing at low speed and then increase to high speed until stiff peaks are formed. Fold the beaten egg whites into the bowl with the coconut and pour the mixture into the cake pan on top of the caramel.
Put the cake pan into a high sided roasting pan and put it in the oven. Put water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the custard is firm. After about 30 minutes or so, check the pan, and cover the flan with aluminum foil if it seems to be browning too quickly.
Remove the flan from the oven and from its hot water bath. Cool to room temperature and then cover and completely chill in the refrigerator. To serve, reverse it over a large rimmed plate.