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Coconut Cream Tarts

Yield: 8 mini tarts (4.75-inch tart shells)

Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Sweet Tart Dough:

  • 1/2 cup ( ) unsalted butter , room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg , room temp
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Coconut Pastry Cream:

  • 1 cup canned coconut cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoon (21 g) cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter , sliced into tablespoons
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coconut Caramel:*

  • 15 oz canned coconut milk , full-fat, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) coconut sugar, palm sugar, or light/dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon pandan extract , optional

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream , very cold
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioners sugar

Toasted Coconut:

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

Sweet Tart Dough:

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and salt until smooth on medium speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add egg and mix until well combined.

  2. Add flour. Mix on low speed until just incorporated and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour. 

  3. Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape into two disks about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for one hour or up to overnight.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to about 1/8-1/4-inch thickness. Cut out a circle a little larger than the tart mold. Carefully transfer circle to tart mold, pressing it gently into place. Trim the dough level with the tart mold by rolling the pin over the edges.

  6. Dock the bottom of the tart shell with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough and tart shell molds. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The tart shell should be golden brown in color. Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. 

Coconut Pastry Cream

  1. Line a quarter-sheet baking pan with plastic wrap, making sure the sides of the pans are covered. Set aside.

  2. Pour coconut cream and 3/4 cup milk into a large heavy bottomed sauce pot. Whisk together and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure milk does not burn along sides or bottom of pot. Bring to a simmer.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add in remaining 1/4 cup milk and eggs. Whisk until smooth. 

  4. Once milk is at a simmer, reduce heat. Slowly add about 1/3 cup of hot milk mixture into cornstarch mixture. Whisk constantly to distribute heat. Continue to add milk and whisk until only about 1/3 of milk is left into sauce pot. 

  5. Pour all of cornstarch-milk mixture back into the sauce pot. Increase to medium heat. Whisk constantly until mixture has thickened to a custard. Allow mixture to come to a boil for 15-30 seconds to cook out any cornstarch flavor. Remove from heat.

  6. Whisk in butter until smooth. Add in salt and vanilla and whisk until combined.

  7. Pour hot pastry cream into prepared plastic wrapped sheet pan. Spread evenly. Cover with surface of pastry cream directly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 10-15 minutes until pastry cream has cooled to room temperature. Remove from the freezer and transfer pastry cream to an airtight container. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream. Cover with lid. Let chill in the fridge until ready to use. 

Coconut Caramel:

  1. In a small sauce pot, combine coconut milk and coconut sugar. Set over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once mixture has boiled, reduce heat and let simmer until thickened, about 8-12 minutes. Stir often to ensure mixture does not burn along the sides of the pot. Remove from heat. 

  2. Add salt and pandan extract. Stir to combine. Pour jam into heat proof containers. Allow to cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge until ready to use. Jam will continue to thicken in the fridge.

Whipped Cream:

  1. Use a hand mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment) to mix together heavy cream and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium speed until cream reaches stiff peaks. Use immediately, or cover and keep chilled in the fridge for up to one day. 

Toasted Coconut:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. Spread coconut on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring shredded coconut every 2 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Allow to cool to room temperature. 

Assembly:

  1. Spread a thin layer of coconut caramel in each baked tart shell. Add 1/2 cup of pastry cream over caramel. Spread into an even layer. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream. Drizzle additional caramel, if desired. Finish with a handful of toasted coconut. Enjoy immediately!

Recipe Notes

Coconut Caramel: Feel free to use your favorite store-bought coconut jam (kaya) or coconut caramel. For less coconut flavor, substitute in salted caramel or other caramel of choice.

I used these 4.75-inch tart shells with removable bottoms.