Coconut Chai Custard

Coconut Chai Custard

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  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups coconut milk beverage, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon agar agar crystals
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes, for garnish (see note)


Soak cashews in at least 2 inches of water for 4 hours or overnight. Drain water and rinse. Combine cashews, 1 cup coconut beverage and salt in a blender; blend until smooth.

With a mortar and pestle, roughly pound cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom and peppercorns. Put cashew mixture in a saucepan and add spices and ground ginger. Pound vanilla bean with the side of a large chef’s knife. Add to cashew mixture. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let steep for 15 minutes.

In another saucepan, heat remaining cup of coconut beverage and add agar agar. Heat to boiling and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes or until agar agar dissolves.

Add coconut/agar agar mixture to cashew mixture along with maple syrup. Pour into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids, except vanilla bean. Slice bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put seeds back in milk mixture, stir well and chill.

When serving, garnish with a sprinkling of freshly toasted coconut.

Special notes:

To toast coconut, put in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, turning or stirring every few minutes until light golden brown. Remove from pan immediately and let cool.

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