Nicole’s Coconut Custard Tarts

coconut custard tarts

For coconut lovers everywhere, these individual moist and delicious coconut custard tarts are a super easy dessert that combines a crisp, sweet buttery pastry crust with a coconut custard filling that is prepared in a matter of minutes and then baked to a beautiful golden brown.

On a recent Caribbean cruise, one of our ports of call was St. John’s, Antigua where my husband and I had signed up for a small hands on cooking class called Nicole’s Table which was held in chef Nicole’s lovely island home. We prepared a terrific three course lunch which we all shared at a long table on the outdoor veranda, finishing the delicious meal with coconut custard tarts. After reading about our island cooking adventure in a previous post and seeing my photo of our dessert, I received requests from many of my readers asking if I would share Nicole’s Coconut Custard Tart recipe. Nicole’s original recipe was for 12 tarts, perfect for our cooking class but more than I would want to bake for my husband and I. In the recipe below, I adapted her recipe to make six 4 inch tarts which is perfect for when I entertain friends.

Just three ingredients, sugar, butter and flour, is all you need to make the shortbread crust which can be used in many other delicious desserts. Even better, the super easy crust requires no rolling or chilling, just quickly blend the dough and press it into the tart pans.

The simple custard filling for the tarts comes together in just minutes using only a bowl and whisk. You then sprinkle coconut into the baked shells, pour the custard filling on top and bake. While baking, some of the coconut floats to the top, which helps the tarts develop a golden brown layer on top. It doesn’t get much more simple than that.

Nicole’s Coconut Custard Tarts

Makes 6 four inch tarts, recipe can be easily doubled

For The Crust

  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. flour

Use a food processor or pastry blender to blend the sugar, butter and flour together until it resembles coarse meal. Place the mixture into 6 individual 4 x 3/4 inch tart pans (preferably with removable bottoms) and press evenly into bottom and up side of the pans with your fingers. Bake the pastry until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

The Custard Filling

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. shredded coconut, more or less to your taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then add the vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. Slowly pour the cream into the egg custard, whisking constantly.

Place the cooled tart pans on a baking sheet, fill the shells with coconut and then carefully pour the custard on top. Place in the preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is set and the tops are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or chilled.

If your tart pans don’t have removable bottoms and you are worried about sticking, youI could spray the tart pans with cooking spray.

The pastry mixture is very crumbly but holds together when you press it into the tart pans. 

Blind baking helps to pre-set the crust so that it’s not soggy on the bottom from the wet custard filling.

At the cooking class, shredded sweetened desiccated coconut was used.

For additional flavor, add a dollop of fruit jam to the baked crust before adding the coconut. I think pineapple jam would be terrific and would remind you of a Pina Colada.

Everyone loves chocolate and coconut, so you can sprinkle some dark chocolate chips into the custard for a different variety,.

Notes From The Kitchen


For those readers who can’t visit Antigua and take part in a cooking class at Nicole’s Table, I hope you will enjoy her sweet coconut custard tart recipe that I have shared here, they are wonderful taste of the Caribbean. While the tarts are baking, your kitchen will fill with the aroma of nutmeg, vanilla and toasted coconut. It will be tempting to have a tart straight from the oven but wait until they are only slightly warm so they set up properly. For a special occasion, you might want to add a dollop of rum flavored whipped cream on the side for a delicious taste of the tropics.

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71 thoughts on “Nicole’s Coconut Custard Tarts

    1. Hi Lea Ann, I wish I had your collection of tart shells. I like small ones for one or two bite desserts. Thank you, I’m glad you like the recipe.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, I’m glad to know that you like my idea of serving the coconut tarts with rum flavored whipped cream…”put the rum in the coconut” song came to mind. 😊

  1. I love coconut! So you know I’m going to be making these tarts. Nice recipe. And speaking of recipes, I know this one isn’t for two, but I really like it that most of your recipes ARE for two. We’re two too, so that’s convenient for us. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for this.

    1. Hi John, I hope you will enjoy the tarts. Thanks for letting me know that you like that most of my recipes are for two people, that is good to know. Occasionally I make a recipe that will serve more, but usually they are for two. It is easy enough for someone with a family to adjust the recipe to a larger quantity.

  2. It’s so much fun to taking cooking classes and end up with some great food. Thanks for sharing.

    1. My pleasure Gerlinde. You are right, the cooking class was lots of fun and the nicest part was getting to enjoy a delicious lunch afterwards.

  3. Oh, yum! Can’t wait to try these.
    Btw, I made the lamb meatballs with pomegranate glaze the other night. Used beef because of guest preferences. Amazing! Thank you!

    1. Hi Sheila, I do hope you will enjoy the tarts if you give them a try. It was so kind to let me know that you and your guests enjoyed the pomegranate meatballs, thank you so much.

  4. I love that the coconut is pressed into the tart before the custard is poured. My whole family loves coconut but it’s not my thing. I could fill most of the tarts with coconut and leave a couple without and everyone’s happy! Great recipe!

    1. Hi Jan, this sounds like the perfect recipe to share with your family. As you said, you can leave out the coconut in a couple for yourself.

    1. Thank you Pam, we did have a nice easter and I know you did as well. I’m happy that I was finally able to share the individual coconut tart recipe with you and my other readers. Enjoy❣️

    1. Hi Nancy, I would say that our shore excursion on Antigua to chef Nicole’s home for a cooking class was the most fun out of the 10 islands we visited. The coconut custard tart was the perfect ending to the day.

  5. That looks delicious! I’m a fair-weather coconut fan, but that one would win me over. It looks almost like a coconut macaroon is custard form (which would be a very good thing, indeed.)

    1. Hannah, I have to agree with your thinking, that is exactly what the coconut tart tastes like. Thank you for your compliment.

  6. We were in Antigua some 25 years ago, with so many new places to visit, it’s unlikely we’ll go back so this little tart recipe is the perfect virtual visit! We adore coconut so these little tarts fit the bill.

    1. Hi Jenna, I’m sorry to be late in answering your question. I think if I didn’t have individual tart pans with removable bottoms, I would use muffin pans and spray or butter them well to help keep the tarts from sticking. I’m glad you like my idea of adding pineapple jam for a Pina colada taste.

  7. These little tarts are undoubtedly fabulous, Karen. Thank you for sharing the recipe! How wonderful that you took advantage of the cooking class while on your cruise vacation. What a great opportunity. ❤

    1. Hi Debra, I was happy to share the coconut custard tart recipe with my readers, it is a delicious little dessert. The cooking class turned out to be our favorite excursion while on our two week cruise.

    1. Hi Tandy, I don’t think your friend would have any trouble finding a lactose free substitute for the butter used in the tart crust.

  8. It’s so nice to make a recipe you’ve tasted before–you clearly got a lot out of that trip! I’m always cutting recipes in half or even thirds! I just bought a set of 6 inch square pans (with lids) which is 1/3 of a 9 x 13!

    1. Hi Inger, I agree with you. With just the two of use, I’m always looking for recipes that can be adjusted down. I cut this one in half as it was originally for 12. 6 is good for when I’m entertaining.

  9. These sound delicious and I love the fact that they are uncomplicated to make. Better still the possibility to add dark chocolate, should we feel the need! I can’t wait to try these!

    1. Hi Dana, The little coconut custards are one of the easiest recipes ever. The added chocolate makes them all the better.

    1. Hi Scarlett, You are right, the coconut custard tarts would be perfect to pack for a summer picnic. Thank you for the suggestion.

    1. Hi Susan, I’m with you about mini tarts…actually mini desserts of any kind. We enjoyed the cooking class the most out of the ten islands that we visited on our cruise. A great way to not only learn about food traditions on the Caribbean island but also about Nicole, her husband and her daughters everyday lives.

  10. Hi Raymund, I bet you do have a similar recipe from the Philippines that you enjoy. This one was indeed very simple to prepare.

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