Fresh vs dessicated coconuts

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Joined Jul 22, 2002
I posted the following in the thread on coconut cakes but got no reply

"As I live in the tropics, I have easy access to fresh coconut. However, most recipes for cakes tend to use dessicated coconut. I'd rather like the richness and taste of freshly grated ones. Is there any way I can readily convert recipes calling for dessicated coconut to using freshly grated ones? Or can I just pop freshly grated coconut into an oven an toast it to remove moisture?"

Can some of the experts or kind souls help me out on this? It really is much more difficult to find dessicated coconut than it is fresh for me. As a result, I've not tried much Western cakes using coconuts. Although, many of the local desserts I make, I make with fresh coconuts.

Thanks for any help.
 
2,938
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
In the US there are two types of dessicated coconut: sweetened and unsweetened.

Most recipes call for the sweetened, which is quite moist-- almost the texture of fresh coconut. BUT it is VERY sweet. I do not know the exact ratio of sugar to coconut, but it is quite high. To emulate that, I would shred the coconut and toss it in superfine sugar before using it. (Maybe at a ratio of 1 part sugar:3 parts coconut??) Perhaps someone else here can chime in on that ratio.

The less common dessicated coconut is unsweetened, and dry as a bone. It is almost tasteless unless it's been toasted. But you can certainly do the same with fresh coconut. A lot of times when a recipe calls for the sweetened stuff, I sub in the unsweetened variety (toasted), if I think it might be too sweet the other way. The texture is different, that's all.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
I really haven't done anything with fresh coconut but struggle and get frustrated. I can think of possiblities of using fresh peels of coconut as garnish and that's about it.

I'm not very fond of the unsweetened dessicated coconut. It's too dry and lacks flavor impact. The few items I do make with coconut like macaroons I'm very picky even about which brand of sweetened coconut I like. Therefore I can't see subbing in fresh coconut in it's place.

I wish I could help you, but I totally lack experience with fresh coconut.
 
38
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Joined Jul 22, 2002
You're right, Wendy. Nothing beats the full flavour of freshly grated coconut. I suppose I can try toasting them to dry it a bit, hence reducing the moisture content and hopefully not affecting the end results of the recipe then.

I'm just wondering if anyone else can share their experience as well.

BTW, I notice that we share the same signature :)
 
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