Looking for a true paleo dessert can be as pointless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie (two awesome points if you can name that movie quote). Between agave nectar and nut flours, the "paleo desserts" swimming on the internets are, generally speaking, no better for you than these. That said, I have a bitch of a sweet tooth that just.won't.die.
When I first heard mentions of coconut whipped cream, I was PISSED!! Pissed that I didn't come up with it first!!! Real whipped cream is perhaps the simplest recipe of all time (heavy cream, a dash of vanilla, a tablespoon of sugar, whipped until thick and creamy), so the idea of replacing dairy with coconut milk took the mirage of a tasty and true paleo dessert from mere delusion and thrust it square into reality.
Welcome to the real world, bitches:
So, like I said, it starts with Coconut Milk. I'm pretty sure when the Greeks talked about a "nectar of the gods", they were actually talking about this stuff.
A few of the blogs I consulted before embarking on this HIGHLY intimidating task suggested refrigerating the can first to separate the milk solids from the water, as you need only the milk solids, but I found this made no difference for me. Oh, I also found that my hair looked really good today!
These are Coconut Crystals (i.e., pure coconut tree sap...you can obviously read the label in the picture for more details). I passed these for the first time a couple months back at Whole Foods, but had been skeptical to try them. None of the aforementioned consulted recipes suggested this, but I will because I'm a badass.
Consider me your guinea pig (you're welcome): getchurself a can of this! It's sweet, but not overly, and surprisingly doesn't have a coconut flavor. It's just enough to sweeten your paleo cereal, morning cup of coffee, or, ya know, other stuff you would put sweetener in.
With your ingredients now in your possession, dump the milk solids into a mixing bowl. Save the leftover water for a smoothie or to drink later.
Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the milk on high until it doubles or triples in size and becomes thick.
You'll know it's finished when the whisk holds stiff peaks of cream.
At this point, I tasted the whipped cream before deciding to add a tablespoon of coconut crystals and a dash of vanilla. By all means, leave them out if you prefer an unsweetened cream.
If you ARE gonna use vanilla, though, make sure you buy the good stuff. I like this one because the bottle reminds me of an old timey medication that a witch doctor might give you because you "done come down with a case of the vapors!!" Yes, I was president of my high school drama club, why do you ask?
What you choose to do with your whipped cream from here is up to you (ideas might include adding cocoa powder for chocolate mousse or topping one-ingredient ice cream with it, or filling a crust made from ground almonds and topping with bananas for a paleo pie), but I'm a classicist, so I opted for strawberries and raspberries.
Oh, and if you're not blogging and don't give a shit about taking a pretty picture, screw the trifle and just eat them the old fashioned way:
What I like about this recipe is that it's not pretending to be something it's not. It actually IS whipped cream. It has just the right amount of sweetness and richness to satisfy my finicky sweet tooth with all the right paleo elements to keep me on track.
Let me know if you make it and what you do with it, would ya? My quest for the Holy Grail of paleo desserts lives on in each and every one of you...
Whipped Coconut Cream
Makes about 1.5 cups
- 1 can chilled coconut milk
- 1 T. coconut crystals (optional)
- 1 t. vanilla (optional)