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.