Avocado Challenge: Avocado Coconut Milk Custards with Toasted Spiced Hazelnuts

Custards 500

I love a good culinary challenge – especially one involving a delicious ingredient like avocados. The Challenge by the Avocados from Mexico folks, including anthropologist/chef Rick Bayless, is to try avocados in a new type of cuisine (ie., not Mexican), and cilantro is forbidden as an ingredient.  An avocado adventure – I’m definitely game.

I have been working on this recipe for about a year – trying various combinations of eggs and different liquids. I won’t bore you with the more than 25 (NO, I am NOT making that up!) failed or marginal versions, but share with you here only my final and favorite version: Avocados and Coconut Milk – truly smooth and luscious.

This recipe uses avocados in two novel ways – 1) with Asian ingredients, and 2) by cooking them. I know, I know. People don’t generally cook avocados, although battered and deep fried avocados are all the rage with some folks. But, trust me – this gentle, low-heat, water-bath method is perfect for that yummy creamy green flesh. It turns out that avocados make delicious custards.

Move over, Guacamole. It’s time for a new avocado classic!

with Toasted Spiced Hazelnuts Garnish

3 large ripe Mexican Haas Avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1  teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
A little olive oil spray
Toasted Spiced Hazelnuts (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut avocados in half. Scoop out avocado flesh into a one cup measure, pressing down to fill the cup. Save remaining avocado flesh for slicing as a garnish for tops of custards, if desired.

Blend in blender until smooth the cup of avocado flesh, lemon juice, coconut milk, garlic powder, salt and Sriracha sauce. Whisk eggs and egg yolks together in a mixing bowl. Whisk avocado mixture into egg mixture until very smooth.

Spray four one-cup ramekins generously with oil. Pour 3/4 cup of avocado mixture evenly into each ramekin. Place filled ramekins in a 9 by 13 inch pan. Pour cold water around ramekins to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake for 60 minutes in middle of oven. Turn off oven, open oven door slightly and let custards sit until cooled to room temperature.

Slide knife around inside edge of ramekins. Invert each custard onto a small serving plate. Garnish with spiced hazelnuts spooned around the bottom edge of custards on the plates. Garnish tops with a little sliced avocado or with a few of the spiced nuts.

Toasted Spiced Hazelnuts: Bake 6 ounces of diced hazelnuts (1 1/2 cups total)  for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Spray nuts lightly with olive oil spray. Stir nuts and spray lightly again. Immediately toss with 2 teaspoons cumin; 2 teaspoons brown sugar; 1 teaspoon smoked paprika; 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice; and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Let cool to room temperature.

Other savory custards by food bloggers:
Pecorino Custard, Serious Eats
Truffle Infused Custards, White on Rice Couple

— posted by Donna


  1. says

    This sounds amazing! However I am curious on the taste, at first I was imagining this to be a sweet custard, but now after a second glance on the ingredient list it seems more savory?

    Either way, I will definitely be trying this out, in the near future!

    • says

      Hey Sam – Yes – this is definitely a savory custard. The hazelnuts are so delicious with this custard – spicy and salty. Come back and let me know what you think!

    • says

      stampylisa – Sriracha sauce is a hot Thai chile sauce you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores. It is similar in heat level to Tabsaco sauce, but the texture is like a thick tomato sauce. Try it – you’ll love it!

  2. says

    NO CILANTRO?! Brilliant! Haha. Seriously, this sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try it! It will go beautifully with one of my summer salad dinners.


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