Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sri Lankan Wattalapam (Treacle & Coconut Milk Flan)

Wattalapam is a very traditional Sri Lankan dessert.  It's uses some of the best resources from the island such as coconut milk and jaggery made out of kitul (treacle) from the palm or coconut tree. Wattalapam is basically Sri Lanka's version of a flan or creme brulee.  I love to eat it, but I have never bothered to make it myself.  My mother came over last week and we made it together with my niece.  I had my niece laughing because I did a "Wattalapam Dance" after it came out of the oven.  I was so happy that my first attempt looked and tasted amazing.  You will need to obtain Sri Lankan jaggery to get the traditional flavor and I believe you can order in online.  So if you are a big fan of sweet flans, this one is a winner. 

I cup of Kitul Jaggery
1 cup of coconut milk (canned is fine)
1 cup of eggs = 5 extra large eggs
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (plus extra for dusting)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Tbs vanilla extract
handful of raw cashews (split) optional

Sri Lankan Kitul Jaggery

 In a saucepan, melt the jaggery with a few Tbs of water.  Start it out on medium-high heat and once it gets heated lower the heat so the jaggery melts slowly without burning.
Once the jaggery fully melts, pour in the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt.   Strain the liquid to make sure you don't have any bits of sugar leftover that didn't melt.  Allow jaggery/coconut milk mixture to cool down before proceeding. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, vanilla, cardamom powder and nutmeg.

Mix the jaggery/coconut milk mixture with the eggs and beat well.  Pour into a oven proof dish. Add the split cashews and another light dusting of nutmeg.

Cover dish with some aluminum foil and then place the dish into a water bath and steam in the oven. Note: preheat water in a kettle and pour into the bath.  Bake at 350 degree for 30-40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick in the middle of the dish and if comes out clean you're done. This dessert is best served chilled so put in the fridge for several hours before serving.  Enjoy.

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