Tembleque de coco (Coconut Custard)


P1120617 998x1024 Tembleque de coco (Coconut Custard)

Coconuts (Photo: Margarita Persico)

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By Margarita Persico

This recipe is very simple, just four ingredients are needed—the other two are optional. My mother made often tembleque de coco, coconut pudding. She loved sweets and had a repertoire of tropical desserts. They were all natural, made with fruits or grains and some with spices. My cousin Carmen Ana Sierra gave me this recipe. I have modified it a little from her original version, which was a hand-downed recipe she has been using for a long time. My cousin lives on a mountaintop home in Puerto Rico with lots of acreage and plenty of room outdoors to grow her fruits, vegetables and palms. She uses a machete to crack coconuts. I don’t. It is difficult for me to crack a coconut in my apartment. The original recipe calls for fresh coconut. My mother used a hammer in her home in New York to open a coconut. Sometimes I go for canned coconut milk instead. I have a preference for natural canned coconut milk with no preservatives: just coconut and water. Some canning companies add to their coconut milk a binder or thickener such as guar gum, a seed powdered (a polysaccharides). Below is the recipe.

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Tembleque de coco — coconut pudding (Photo: Margarita Persico)

Tembleque de coco (Coconut Pudding)

P1130994 1024x695 Tembleque de coco (Coconut Custard)

Ingredients for Tembleque de Coco (Coconut Pudding) (Photo: Margarita Persico)

How to make Coconut Pudding (Tembleque de coco)

• 1 or 2 dry coconuts (to make 4 cups coconut milk)
or instead use three (3) cans of natural coconut milk
• 1/2 cup sugar (more or less according to taste)
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt (or less)
• ½ cup cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon food grade Orange Blossom Water (Agua Azahar) optional
• cinnamon (to taste) optional

Tools needed

• Blender
• Fork, spoon or Wisk
• Pot


  1. If using fresh coconut, grate the coconut.
  2. In a blender grind with water.
  3. Use a collander to strain. This will separate pulp from milk
  4. Continue this process (repeating steps 2 + 3) until you have 4 cups of coconut milk (or instead of fresh coconut, use three cans of natural coconut milk)
  5. P1130998 Tembleque de coco (Coconut Custard)

    Stir constantly.

    After having all the ingredients, put them all in a pot, except for the cinnamon. Cookover high heat first, and after 2 minutes, reduce heat. But always stirring constantly with a large spoon or a “wisk”.

  6. Moving the whole time until it has a creamy consistency like a porridge. Reduce heat and cook some more, and continuously, stirring so it will not get lumpy.
  7. Pour into a custard dish or individual cups sprinkle cinnamon.
  8. Let cool and refrigerate.


Orange Blossom Water — Agua Azahar is an Arabic word meaning “white flower”.  زهر البرتقال

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