This recipe is adapted from the basic Creme Brulee and Pots de Creme recipes from Joy of Cooking, to use up the egg yolks and cream of coconut remaining after baking a Coconut Layer Cake from Cook's Country. The servings may seem small, but this dessert is very rich, sweet, and coconutty, so a little goes a long way. If you decide to make them larger, you'll need to adjust the cooking time up 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they can overbake very quickly. If you're afraid you have baked them too long and want to speed up the cool-down, place the ramekins in an ice water bath carefully to cool. You want to make these early in the day, or the day before you need them, as they need 8 hours to chill. —Marti Kennedy
Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Put on a teakettle of water to boil. When it comes to the boil, remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, stir the heavy cream and cream of coconut together until smooth, then heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it's steaming.
In a large heatproof bowl, stir together the egg yolks and sugar, just until blended.
Starting with a slow dribble, pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk constantly. As you reach the halfway point, you can pour a little faster, but don't stop whisking!
Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into a 4-cup measuring pitcher.
Stir in the coconut extract.
Pour the custard evenly into 9 2 1/2' x 1 1/2" ramekins placed in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Place the dish in the oven, carefully pour the hot water into the baking dish, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake until custards are set but jiggly, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, then remove from water bath to cool completely on cooling rack. Do not turn off your oven! You need it hot for toasting some coconut for the topping.
When completely cool, wrap each ramekin in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
On a pie plate or small cookie sheet, spread the coconut in an even layer, and toast in the oven at 325 deg. F., stirring every few minutes, until a mixture of golden brown, light brown, and white. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Zest the lime, and set the lime aside until serving time.
Pulse the tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of cool toasted coconut, and the lime zest, in a food processor until you have a finely ground mixture.
To serve: Squeeze a few drops of lime juice onto each custard, top with an even layer of the sugar mixture, pressing it lightly into the top of the custard with the back of a spoon. Garnish with a bit more toasted coconut.