These Chinese bakery-style coconut tarts are just like those you get in Chinatown and the heartlands! Moist coconut custard filling and a flaky, buttery shortcrust pastry makes this a delicious treat any time of day!
250ggrated coconutor 90 g dried desiccated coconut
MAKE THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY:
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Position an oven rack in the lower third (just below centre) of the oven.
In a mixing bowl, stir flour, icing sugar and salt together to mix well.
Add chilled butter cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles a sandy mixture or like breadcrumbs.
Add egg yolks, and cut into the flour-butter mixture with a dough scraper until the dough starts to come together. Finish up kneading by hand until the dough is smooth and even coloured. DO NOT OVER-KNEAD or else the pastry will be tough.
Set it in the chiller while you make the filling.
MAKE THE COCONUT FILLING:
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, milk, coconut milk and yellow food colouring (optional). Whisk by hand until sugar dissolves.
Add in melted butter and whisk to combine well. Tip in grated coconut and stir to combine well. (If using desiccated coconut, please read notes below.)
BLIND-BAKE THE TART SHELLS
Line the tart moulds with pastry dough, pressing gently into the moulds. The thickness should ideally be between 3 - 4 mm.
Line the tart shells with a cut square of baking paper. Fill with baking beans or rice. OR instead of using weights, lightly prick the base with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tart shells are a light golden brown.
Remove the baking beans and baking paper.
FILL TART SHELLS WITH COCONUT FILLING AND FINAL BAKE:
Spoon the coconut filling into each tart shell. Do not spoon too much liquid, leaving about a 2-mm border around the tart edge clear of filling. Note: If desired, strain the coconut filling before filling. Do not press any juices out from the flesh when you do this, as it should be soaked as heavily as possible. Then, fill tart shells with the flesh. Finally, spoon just enough of the liquid custard to fill up to almost the edge of the tart. Don't overdo it, otherwise the custard will bubble over the edges of the shells during baking.
To create a slightly dome-shaped filling, pile some strained coconut flesh in the centre (please read Notes below).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until coconut tops brown evenly. Bake for a few minutes longer if you like the crusted tops.
Remove from oven and let the tarts cool in their moulds for 15 minutes. Gently remove from tart moulds and cool on a baking rack.
Amount of shortcrust pastry dough and coconut filling
This recipe makes 12 to 15 tarts, based on a 2½-inch tart mould. The number will vary depending on the size of your tart pan or individual tart moulds.
The amount of filling is sufficient for up to 15 (2½-inch tarts), including topping up the filling.
The coconut filling has a high liquid content because of the custard mixture of eggs, sugar and milks. If you prefer, you can strain the coconut filling after mixing. Do not press any juices out from the flesh when you do this, as it should be soaked as heavily as possible. Fill the tart shells with the custard-soaked coconut flesh. Then, spoon just enough of the liquid custard to fill up to almost the edge of the tart. Don't overdo it, otherwise the custard will bubble over the edges of the shells during baking.
If you find that you need more grated or desiccated coconut to 'top up' the tart, be sure to mix the additional coconut into the same liquid custard. Mix well to allow the liquid custard to evenly coat and 'colour' the coconut flesh all over. This liquid custard will also hold the coconut flesh together. Fill upwards towards the centre of the tart, shaping the filling into a slight dome.
How to store unused shortcrust pastry dough
The shortcrust pastry dough can easily be doubled if you think you may need more. Unused pastry dough can be stored for future use. Wrap in several layers of cling wrap, seal in a freezer bag and freeze. It will keep well for up to 1 month.
How to replace grated coconut with dried desiccated coconut
If using dried desiccated coconut, you will need to increase the amount of fresh milk from 20 gm to 60 gm instead, so that the desiccated coconut can absorb more fluids and become moist and crunchy.