Latik – Cooking Magic with Coconut Milk | Cupcake Project

Latik – Cooking Magic with Coconut Milk

Although I still marvel at sugar turning to sweet, sticky caramel, egg whites tripling in size to become fluffy meringue, and heavy whipping cream turning into pipable clouds of frosting, I’ve seen these kitchen tricks so many times that I need to stop and remind myself to not take them for granted.  But, when I first saw a photo of latik a couple of weeks ago, I may as well have been at a David Copperfield show.  “Coconut milk can turn into that?”  I marveled.  I had no idea!
Latik, a Filipino dessert topping, is made by cooking down coconut milk or coconut cream (the more solid stuff on the top of a can of coconut milk) for hours until it separates into fried coconut curds (latik) and coconut oil.  It’s like putting coconut milk into a magic hat, saying abra cadabra, and pulling out a toasted cross between brown sugar and shredded baker’s coconut.
Latik is ideal for sprinkling on ice cream (in the image above, I topped Caio Bella Mango Sorbet with latik) or cupcakes to give them a shot of rich coconut flavor.  Also, you can use the byproduct (the coconut oil) for cooking or baking.
Latik may not be something that you’ll make every day, but if like me you love exploring new feats of culinary wonderment, it’s worth making at least once.

How to Make Latik

I got the technique for making latik from Jun Belen of Jun-Blog.  The photographs on his site are fabulous and worth checking out for additional reference.

Yield: About 1/4 cup of latik.  It’s not much, but you don’t need to use a lot of it to make a big impact.

Ingredients

You just need one ingredient: a 14 oz can of coconut milk (be sure to choose the full-fat kind with the cream on top).

Process

Bring a can of coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan and simmer gently over low heat while stirring periodically to prevent burning.

Continue to simmer until the milk reduces to a thick cream, about an hour. Note: You can eliminate some of this hour by using only the coconut cream (the solid part on top of the can).  However, you won’t end up with quite as much latik.

Continue heating and stirring periodically until the cream separates into coconut oil and latik – about 45 minutes.

Here, the coconut milk is just beginning to separate.

Monitor the latik closely, watching for it to turn a deep caramel brown color – about 30 minutes.

The latik is starting to brown, but it’s not done yet.

Turn the heat off as soon as the curds turn a deep caramel brown color.

It’s done!

Use a coffee filter or a fine sieve to separate the coconut oil from the latik.

Jun says that latik will keep for a week stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  I ate mine two weeks after making it, having stored it in an air-tight container on the counter. It still tasted perfect!

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15 Responses to Latik – Cooking Magic with Coconut Milk

  1. Wil June 15, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    This is cool!
    Check out my new baking blog
    http://thebakingboy.blogspot.com

  2. Tug's Girl June 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I love this and have a can of coconut milk in my pantry that now has a purpose. I wonder if it would work in a crock pot? Perhaps another experiment in the making.

  3. Jun Belen June 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Wow! Thank you for the mention. I’m so thrilled you discovered latik. Isn’t it neat? I grew up with latik on rice cakes but it really is splendid with ice cream. Maybe a cupcake topping? Cheers! -Jun

  4. Daniela@Isreview June 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Wow that is super cool never would have thought of doing that to coconut milk but now I am intrigued:) thanks

  5. Kat June 16, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    I love a well done latik. Sometimes if it’s left too long it starts to taste bitter rather than sweet. It’s a great topping for ice cream indeed! Even on it’s own, it’s quite good.

  6. Anonymous June 16, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    i love latik. i eat it without biko. hehe

  7. Heidi @ Food Doodles June 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    That is so cool! I never knew about that either. I’m going to give it a try for sure!

  8. Lacey @ dishfolio.com June 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Amazing photos! We’d love for you to share with us at dishfolio.com!

  9. aja June 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    how wonderful! Do you have any sense of the sugar content in this? I can’t have sugar :-(

  10. Joy June 26, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Great job on the latik. I finaly got it right myself but I tend to burn mine :D

  11. Pam June 28, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    This looks delicious! I love crunchy on top of my ice cream! Do you suppose this might work with homemade coconut milk? To the kitchen!

  12. Davis @ Nutiva Coconut Oil October 25, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    These are great recipes. Always looking for food to add coconut to.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Homemade Pocky Sticks | Cupcake Project - April 17, 2013

    [...] Pocky Sticks on Jun-Blog (the same place that I turned to with great success when trying out latik for the first time).  Jun found the recipe in Pichet Ong’s cookbook, The Sweet Spot (a book [...]

  2. Biko Cupcakes with Mango Sorbet – Gluten-Free Filipino Dessert | Cupcake Project - April 23, 2013

    [...] form. Enjoy them warm out of the oven for breakfast or top them with mango sorbet and latik (read my post about latik if that word means nothing to you) as a sweet end to a home-cooked [...]

  3. Biko | Ang Sarap (A Tagalog word for "It's Delicious") - February 24, 2014

    [...] cake made out of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and palm sugar then topped with caramel, latik (a type of reduced coconut cream) or both. It is one of the popular rice cakes in Philippines and usually prepared during special [...]

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