Last week, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of this blog. This week, the boyfriend and I get to celebrate the anniversary of our first date, once upon a time many years ago! When I asked him what he wanted me to make in celebration of our anniversary, I got a request for khanom krok without a moment’s hesitation.
Khanom krok is a coconut dessert that’s been described in many ways – as a coconut custard, pudding, pancake, hotcake, cupcake, and so on. I think the reason it’s been described in so many ways is that there’s really nothing like it in American desserts. Basically, khanom krok are little half moon shaped cups made of a thin, crispy outer layer with a super soft inner coconut layer.
I have had the pan used to make khanom krok in my cupboards for a while now, but had never attempted to make this dessert because it looked pretty intimidating to get right. But with the boyfriend’s eager request for our special day, I decided to give it a shot.
Khanom krok is made with two separate batters, a thinner one that forms the crispy outer shell and a thicker one that forms the inner coconut custard. In Thailand, it’s apparently common to use limestone paste to achieve the desired level of crispiness in the outer layer. I started with this, trying to be as authentic as possible, but just couldn’t get it to taste right. Then I tried baking soda and finally ended up using club soda, which worked like a charm.
The other secret to making these desserts has to do with the pan itself. It’s crucial that you start with a well-seasoned khanom krok pan and heat a drop of oil in each well before adding your batter. Once you add the outer batter to each well, you lift the pan off the stove and swirl it so that the batter coats the entire well as shown here. Then you add the inner batter to fill the well.
Like many Thai foods, there are an abundance of different toppings you can add to khanom krok. I had only ever eaten khanom krok plain without any toppings, but it seems like green onions, corn, taro, and even pumpkin are pretty popular toppings in Thailand. I tried the green onions and corn and both were absolutely delicious, albeit in very different ways!
Needless to say, the boyfriend is extremely pleased that I now know how to make these wonderful little desserts. And although they’re eaten all throughout the day in Thailand, including for breakfast, this just seems like a dangerous precedent to set. I think in my house, khanom krok will be saved for special occasions like this one!