July 25, 2012

coconut cream tart

A few years ago David and I went to The Capital Grille for his birthday. We had a gift card and so we splurged a lot with expensive steaks, appetizers and decadent side dishes and it was all delicious, but the dessert - the dessert! We couldn't stop talking about the coconut cream pie for years! We've probably built it up in our heads too much now that it won't be good if we ever have it again some day but I really wanted to try to make it in the mean time.
I searched online several times but was always underwhelmed with the recipes I saw. Then I saw this one and thought it looked really good. I saved the recipe for almost six months in preparation for David's 30th birthday and I'm pleased to say it was super delicious! I made a few changes because the original recipe calls for Malibu Rum and, since I don't drink and didn't want to spend lots of money on a whole bottle of liquor for just a tiny bit of it, I used coconut extract to replace it. If you don't mind using alcohol in cooking then I'm sure the original recipe would be delicious too. Just a word of advice though: this recipe isn't hard but it's pretty time extensive. I think I'll only make it for special occasions - like Thanksgiving this year!

(Adapted from Once Upon A Chef)
11 Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread rectangular cookies (which is 7 1/2 ounces - you'll need two boxes)
1 1/4 cups loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle position. Combine cookies, coconut and butter in a food processor and pulse until cookies and coconut are finely ground. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom (use a measuring cup to get it nice and packed around the edges). Baked until golden, about 15 minutes, then cool completely in pan (I let it cool for 15 minutes on the counter and then put it in the freezer while I made the custard). If it shrinks or cracks during cooking, just gently press it back together while it's still warm. 

2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, packed
2 Tablespoons corn starch, packed
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon coconut extract
5 Tablespoons cream of coconut (stir well before using)
1 cup coconut milk (stir well before using)
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons butter

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, corn starch and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine coconut extract, cream of coconut, coconut milk and whole milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Using a ladle, whisk in a cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture (this is called "tempering" the eggs - which slowly gets the temperature of the eggs to rise without scrambling them in order to thicken the custard). Continue to ladle the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisk constantly, until it's all mixed in one bowl. Add it back to the saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches a boil, about 2 minutes. Boil mixture at least 30 seconds to allow it to fully thicken. Remove from heat and stir in butter until smooth. Pour into cooled tart shell and smooth surface with a spatula. Press plastic wrap directly on top of custard mixture and refrigerate for at least 3 (and up to 10) hours.

Whipped Cream & Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled (see note)

In a medium bowl, whisk whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Sift in powdered sugar and coconut extract and whisk for another minute or so until stiff peaks. Spread on top of cold custard and smooth with a spatula. Top with toasted coconut. Tart can be topped with whipped cream up to 3 hours in advance (but it's best if done right before serving).

NOTE: to toast the coconut, spread evenly on a baking sheet and add to a 350 degree oven for about 10 - 12 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully as coconut can burn easily. I did this at the same time as I was cooking the tart shell.


  1. I love coconut so much! I am totally trying this!

  2. So delicious!!! Leftovers didn't last long!!!

  3. can this be refridgerated longer than 10 hours? you said "up to 10 hrs" and I have it made a day ahead..

    1. Sure. That's probably not a problem to make it the day before. I've eaten the leftovers and it's still great. :)

  4. can this be refridgerated longer than 10 hrs? You said "up to 10 hrs" and I have made it a day ahead...


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