This is another delicious Mauritian treat I tried at Escale Creole, a charming family-run Creole restaurant in Moka, Mauritius. After a feast of Creole dishes (curries, stewed veggies, lentils and rice), spiced rum, banana cake and glace papaya, we finished off our meal with these sweet coconut cakes.
Mauritian coconut cakes (gato coco)
- 1 whole coconut*
- 200 g white sugar
- 100 g full cream powdered milk
- 10 ml vanilla essence
Remove the coconut from its shell, taking care to keep the pieces as big as possible. Keep the thin brown skin on the coconut and grate it to get shreds the size of matches.
Mix the shredded coconut with the other ingredients in a small pan on low heat, stirring continuously. The mixture will turn into a thick paste and start to caramelise. Keep stirring on the low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture is so thick that it can be lifted off the pan cleanly.
Spread the mixture evenly on a greased tray with a depth of about 2 cm. Once dried, cut into small squares.
*You can’t substitute desiccated coconut for this recipe, as it won’t work as well. You’ll need to find a fresh coconut – look for a brown, husky one (as opposed to a young, green-skinned one).
A lunch at Escale Creole should be on your list of ‘foodie’ things to do in Mauritius. Hosts Marie Christine Forget and her mother Majo are charming, friendly and more than willing to chat about Creole cuisine – giving you a wonderful insight into Mauritian culture and cooking.
You need to book in advance at Escale Creole – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +230-422-2332.
Photo by Russell Smith www.russellsmith.co.za
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