Coconut cream is made from squeezing coconut flesh in hot water, leaving it to cool, then straining it, a process that yields both coconut milk and coconut cream. The two liquids will separate when left to stand: the thick white cream will rise to the surface of the liquid leaving the clear watery milk below. Coconut cream is also dried and sold in hard blocks. It can be diluted with hot water before using or added straight to the simmering liquid in the pan. Coconut milk and cream are used both separately and together in curries and spicy soups to 'cool' the heat of the dish. They're also delicious in sweets such as coconut rice pudding or coconut ice cream.
Coconut cream is available canned from Asian and Caribbean stores and larger supermarkets.
If you're dairy-intolerant, coconut milk and cream are an excellent alternative to cows' milk in some cooked dishes (provided you like its quite strong coconut flavour).
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