I can tell I am getting older (aside from the more obvious indications such as birthdays each year). There are all of those foods that I just could not and would not eat as a kid – tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, pecans and coconut. I’ve given many of these “grody” foods a second chance and things have changed. Although they aren’t always my food of choice, I have learned to love them paired with the right sidekick. So it goes with coconut and rum.
My mom is a fantastic baker. She loves making desserts for the family and we love eating them. She always makes all of our favorites but she rarely makes her favorites. So for Mother’s Day, she got to pick. I was up for making any dessert she wanted, after all, that was the least I could do. She said she loves pies. Well pies aren’t my favorite but I could make her a pie. Then she said she loves coconut cream pies…well I am not really a coconut kind of girl. In fact, I avoid any dessert with coconut. Maybe I could find a dessert in which I could do half coconut, half no-coconut, like pizza. No dice. So I decided to go for it; coconut all the way.
I found this recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Honestly, everything I have made from this cookbook has been quite delicious. And secretly, this tart recipe inspired me because I have a new tart pan and have been waiting for the right recipe break it out, so I gave the recipe a whirl.
Dorie did it again. This recipe turned out beautifully and very delectable, even with the coconut. The tart dough is a bit crunchy and slightly sweet. The custard is smooth and creamy. The coconut and rum pair like a couple dancing on the ballroom floor, back in forth with flavor. Then the whipped cream tops it off with another little punch of vanilla rum causing you to crave the next bite. The rum is strong but all of the other ingredients look it right in the eye. I was sold and so were the other non-coconut lovers at Mother’s Day and most importantly my mom loved it. So if I didn’t know then, I know now to listen to my mother, she is usually right.
Toasted Coconut Custard Tart
- adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons cold butter, chopped in small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
- 1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted to top it off
make the crust
Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Then line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment.
Mix the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the pieces of butter and pulse the ingredients using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The flour should combine with the butter and begin forming small balls. In a bowl break up the egg yolk then add it in increments, mixing in pulses after each addition. Keep pulsing for 10 second each until the ingredients begin to mix. Mix until the ingredients could be formed into a ball of dough. Don’t over mix.
Using a floured surface, carefully knead the dough just enough to get all of the extra dry ingredients combined. Evenly, lightly press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Reserve a small amount of the dough to repair cracks in the crust after baking. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the extra dough. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and press the buttered side down against the crust. Bake on a baking sheet for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and press down the crust. Fill any cracks or thin spots with the extra dough. Bake for 8 more minutes until the crust is lightly brown. Let cool. Cover until ready to use.
make the custard
Bring the milk to a soft boil. In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until well combined. While constantly whisking, pour 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture. Continuing to whisk, slowly pour the remaining milk into the eggs. While still whisking, heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to boil; let boil for up to 2 minutes, until it thickens. Mix in the rum and vanilla. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the bits of butter. This should make the custard very smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard and cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. You can also store the custard overnight until ready to use.
make the topping
With a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar and mix until firm peaks are formed, but be careful not to over mix. Fold in the rum and vanilla. If you like a lighter rum flavor, I would omit it from the whipped topping.
To put it all together, lightly whisk the cooled custard and pour it into the crust. Spoon the whipped cream all over the tart and spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the whipped cream.