According to my Curry recipe book the taste of fresh coconut cream is incomparably luscious, with a complexity and depth of flavour that justifies the labour required to produce it. Both coconut milk and cream are best used within a few hours. They can be refrigerated for 1 – 2 days, but will harden and become difficult to use. One Thia trick worth trying is to add a bruised chilli to retard the hardening.
use the blunt side of a cleaver to split open the coconut, hitting it all the way around
score the flesh or cut into segments, to make it easier to prise from the shell
peel away and discard the brown inner skin
chop the flesh and blend in a food processor with an equal amount of hot water
pour the coconut mixture into a piece of muslin or a very clean tea towel, draped over a bowl (not metal)
gather up the muslin and squeeze the flesh to extract the liquid
if the recipe calls for thick coconut milk use immediately
for coconut cream leave for 20 minutes
the cream is the thicker, opaque liquid that separates and floats on top of the thinner liquid, which is the coconut milk
cracked coconut cream
to do this, simmer the cream until most of the water evaporates
the cream then separates into thin oil and milk solids
once cracked, coconut cream lasts for sever weeks, and longer if frozen
the separated oil can also be used for deep-frying
p.s. I am far too lazy to try this, but it sounds really worth while!