What is it about dried coconut? I know so many people who hate it – so many, in fact, that for ages I thought I must hate it too.
I’m placing most of the blame for this on Ma Hog. She absolutely detests the stuff, refusing to buy or eat anything with even the slightest of coconut sprinklings – cakes, mueslis, Bounty bars…
I suppose it was easy to trust her judgement. I mean, dried coconut’s hardly the most alluring fruit. Those off-white rinds you see in packets of cereal remind me of overgrown toenails. And desiccated coconut? Dandruff is all I can see.
Added to this its slightly odd texture (like rather stale potato crisps), and it seems only right that I’ve avoided the stuff for so long.
But not any more.
You see, in my (admittedly self-administered) role as Official Pud-Hog, it didn’t feel right to exclude a whole section of cakes from my plate. If a flapjack or certain granola looks tasty, I ain’t going to skip it because it’s been dusted with little white flecks of dried fruit.
Just the other day, in fact, I bought a Chocolate and Coconut muffin from Peyton and Byrne (yes, they of Chocolate and Hazelnut Chelsea Bun fame). I really couldn’t help myself: it was so infused with chocolate that, at first sight, my mouth just flooded with saliva.
Being low on change (having just been pickpocketed), I had to pay up with my debit card. This meant a five-pound limit. Which meant I needed to get me a second muffin (oh, poop – I hate it when that happens. NOT). Thinking fast, I bought a Pear and Chocolate version for the Man, and returned to his side with the goods.
Now, weirdly enough, the more I’ve edged into the world of coconut tasting, the more I’ve grown to like it. In fact, I like it a lot. That rich, exotic flavour makes me feel like I’m in the Caribbean (and costs less than buying a plane ticket).
Even so, as pleasant as my Chocolate and Coconut version was (especially with all those chocolate buttons), as soon as I tried its Pear-filled counterpart, I knew I’d made a mistake with my choice.
The extra moisture the fresh fruit gave off made it so, so much more delicious. The Coconut seemed like dust in comparison. Nutty, cardboard dust.
Which leads me to only one conclusion: dried coconut might be nice, but don’t expect it to make a mean muffin. When in doubt, choose fresh fruit every time.
Here endeth the lesson.