The Christmas Countdown: Coquito and Arepitas de Yuca

The official countdown has started for Noche Buena on Sunday, and being that everyone always asks me for a bottle of coquito (the magnificent Puerto Rican version of eggnog!), I figured I’ll get a jump on things and start putting it up. Now, I can remember helping Mami make coquito when I was a little girl, and the processs was ever so much more complicated. For starters, I had to grate the coconut by hand (knuckles beware!), but making coquito today is as complicated as turning your blender on. Assemble your ingredients: 1 can Cream of Coconut, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1 can evaporated milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and rum to taste.

You’ll find that upon opening the can of cream of coconut, there is a waxy “head” that rises to the top of the can, which sometimes becomes a little difficult to break through. Gently break through it with your spatula, to expose the liquid in the can.

I add this to the blender, and process it for a few minutes until it is smooth, then I add the condensed milk, which is thick and creamy. This helps to bind the cream of coconut so that it doesn’t seperate in your coquito later on.

Follow with the egg substitute, the evaporated milk, and the vanilla.

Stir in the rum to taste, and finish off with a dusting of cinnamon and or nutmeg. Chill.

Being that I’ll be entertaining guests at my home on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), I have been busy building my menu, from hors d’ oeurves to dessert. When I build a menu, I try to coordinate flavors, textures, temperature, in short, every aspect of the menu is similiar to an instrument in an orchestra; it is delicious on its own, but in combination with everything else, it should sing!

I first had these little arepitas at my friend Migui’s Mom’s house. Actually, Angela parked herself next to the platter where they had been served, and did not budge until every last one was gone. The are super easy to make, and remind me of the delicious “Latkes” that are so popular this time of year… these make a mouthwatering alternative. Whether you eat then for religious reasons or just because they are addicting, is totally up to you!

Ready for some “Latkes Latinas”? Click on the link below.

You are going to need 2 cups of grated yuca, 2 tablespoons grated onion, 2eggs, beaten, 4 teaspoons melted butter, a pinch of sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons of anisette, salt to taste and 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

While the pasteles machine that I used a few weeks ago, when I made my pasteles would make short work of this amount of yuca, I want to show you how I used to do it before (plus I’m too lazy to break down that whole machine to wash it, lol). Make sure to remove the woody stalk that runs down the yuca.

Add the grated onion, the egg, the butter, and the baking powder, mixing after each addition.

Add the anisette, the sugar, the salt and the chopped cilantro. Heat your oil in a frying pan, and drop by rounded spoonfuls into the hot oil.

Turn once, when golden brown on one side

Drain on paper towels. Serve with mojito isleno, or pineapple-habanero relish (recipe available upon request 😉 .

Now that’s a great start to Noche Buena! Buen Provecho!

14 Responses to “The Christmas Countdown: Coquito and Arepitas de Yuca”

  1. 1 Mike Diaz June 19, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Daisy. Any idea where I can find myself a PASTELES machine. I’ve grown fond of my fingers and would like
    to see if the machine is good alternative.

  2. 2 daisy August 17, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Hola Mike,

    Thanks for writing in! As far as the pasteles machine….it’s been my experience, that unless you have friends or family who live in the islands, you are hard pressed to find one ( the only ones that I have come across, are handmade in the “campo”). On the other hand, I have heard from faily reliable sources that the “Juiceman” juicer works remarkably well. Hope this helps!

    Hasta pronto,


  3. 3 John December 11, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Daisy, thanks for this! I made coquito last year for the first time and this is a very similar receipt to the one I used – except I am going to add 1/4 cup of either brandy or Grand Marnier, depending on what my pockets will allow! You should try it – yummy!

  4. 4 Daisy December 11, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Dear John:

    Thanks for the feedback on the coquito recipe..

    Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!


  5. 5 Wanda December 23, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Daisy, love the blog! We were confirming our recipe for coquito and came across your blog. We are boriquas in Washington State (2 sisters, my husband – all over 30, my mom and my 10 month old) and making sure the spirit stays alive. Luckily we have a puerto rican restaurant here in Seattle so they made our pasteles, alcapurrias and empanadas! But I can’t wait to make some of the recipes you share on your blog. Feliz Navidad y prospro ano nuevo.

  6. 6 daisy December 23, 2007 at 9:31 pm


    Feliz Navidad to you and your loved ones!



  7. 7 julio December 23, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Daisy,

    Great recipe but I have a question, why the eggs? I have never heard of coquito with eggs (or any egg substitute).

  8. 8 daisy December 24, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Hola Julio: I agree there are some recipes for coquito that contain no eggs; others do, like mine.

    Just make yourself happy!


  9. 9 Barbara Rivera December 26, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Daisy

    First, I want to say that I love watching you cook on tv. I have learned how to make sofrito, which I’m very proud of. I’m not hispanic, but my husband is part hispanic and I just love cooking hispanic dishes. I love the food, the music and also the people. I would like to know how can I make a real garlicky tasting bene (pork shoulder)? I like meat that is extremely tasty especially with the garlic flavors in it. I want to later on make those wonderful sandwiches you made on your tv show with the ham, pork slices, swiss cheese and pickle slices that was toasted with perfection. Please let me know the best way to make a flavorful pork shoulder.

    Thank you and Happy Holidays

    Barbara Rivera

    Thank you

  10. 10 migui December 26, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Dear Barbara:

    I assume you are referring to her recipe for Pernil.

    If so, Daisy has a wonderful recipe for Pernil on her book, Daisy Cooks!: Latin Flavors that will Rock your Wold (Hyperion 2005).

    At the same time, the recipe is posted for the month of December at


  11. 11 Javier December 28, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Wow! This is the best step by step on how to make coquito. Thanks and happy holidays!

  12. 12 daisy December 28, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Happy Holidays to you too Javier!

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