First of all I would like to thank you for your patience in waiting for me while I traveled to Italy to visit family, dealt with serious jet lag and then a lot, and I mean A LOT, of rain. It was days of deluge, the kind that caused rivers and lakes to overflow, and some serious damage.
What can I say? My parents and I played a lot of cards (we love playing a version of Pinnacle), ate some pizzas, did manage a couple of divine meals out with family and friends, and then…. it was time to fly home and brace myself for another move, complete with decluttering, that is coming up for me at the end of this month. And that is a long story, one that does not belong in this post, which is about this divine, luscious, creamy and super easy tart.
It would make sense to say that I developed this recipe while in Hawai’i, but it actually came together long before that, while still at the restaurant, in my previous life. I did make it an photograph it in Hawai’i, though, if that counts. After I photographed it, I kept the slice you see above for myself, and the rest of the tart was devoured by the guys and girls of the Kahala Apple store.
I usually try not to post two similar recipes back to back (e.g. two desserts, two pastas, two salads and so forth), but my friend Sheila back in Honolulu is waiting for this recipe so she can plan it into her Christmas menu. Hence, here I am. This luscious and creamy tart is easy to make, and can even be prepared a couple of days ahead, so this will ease your preparation schedule.
Ready, set, go!
COCONUT CREAM TART WITH POMEGRANATE
yields 8-10 portions
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SHORT CRUST (adapted for this recipe)
– 350 gr. (12.3 oz.) flour + extra for the work surface & tart pan
– 2 eggs + 1 yolk
– 140 gr. (4.9 oz.) sugar
– 175 gr. (6.2 oz.) butter + extra for the tart pan
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– finely grated peel of 2 limes
– pinch of salt
– large pinch of baking powder
– a little cold water if needed
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
– 250 gr. (8.8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
– 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 fl. oz. / 398 ml.), at room temperature
– 4 eggs, at room temperature
– 120 gr. (4.2 oz.) sugar
INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOPPING
– 250 ml. (8.5 fl. oz.) whipping cream
– 150 gr. (5.2 oz.) sour cream
– 3 Tablespoons fine sugar
– a pinch of stabilizer if desired
– pomegranate seeds
You will also need:
– 1 ten-inch (10″) tart pan – I used a ceramic one, buttered and then with cross ribbons of parchment paper to help lift out the finished tart. If you have one with removable bottom, that will work perfectly well
– a piece of parchment paper that is a little larger than the tart pan
– baking weights or small dried beans
MAKING THE SHORT CRUST PASTRY
1. In a large prepping bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and grated lime peel. Add the cold butter in small pieces and work with a fork (which is cooler than your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If you have a food processor, you can do that in there with a few simple pulses.
2. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolk lightly with the vanilla extract, add them to the flour/butter mixture and start stirring. Flip the whole thing onto a lightly floured work surface and continue blending with your hands, kneading the dough until smooth and holding nicely together. Do not over-work it or it will become hard and lose the flaky tenderness after it is baked.
Form into a ball, and pat it down to a flat round, about 1-inch-thick, as it will be easier to roll it out. Wrap it in cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest for about 45-60′. The pastry can also be stored for longer, of course, or even frozen for up to three months at this stage. In the latter case, besides the cling wrap, I would protect it with an extra layer of strong foil. Defrost the pastry overnight in the refrigerator.
3. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Using a pastry brush, butter the tart pan. If you are using a ceramic or glass one like I did, you will then need to cut two 1-inch-wide strips of parchment and cross them over the pan, making them adhere to the bottom and sides. If using the pan with the removable bottom, you will just butter and flour it, tapping out the excess flour.
4. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out on the floured work surface to a thickness of about 2mm (ca. 1/8 inch). Try to roll it out into a circle that is larger than the pan you are using. Helping yourself with a metal spatula, loosen the pastry from the surface, sprinkle it with a little flour then gently fold it in half, and again in half, then lift it and place it in the prepared baking pan, with the pointed angle in the middle, then unfold open. Gently press to adhere to the bottom and sides till it all fits perfectly. Cut off the excess dough from the edges with a paring knife. Poke holes with a fork here and there on the bottom. Place the unbaked tart shell in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the unbaked tart from the refrigerator. Line it with the piece of parchment, and fill it with baking weights or dried beans to cover the whole bottom and going up the sides. Place the tart shell in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until you can see the pastry edge has lost its luster. Remove from the oven, gently remove the parchment with the weights (the parchment will be cool enough to handle, but the weights will be super hot). Place the tart shell back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Do not remove from the baking pan.
MAKING THE FILLING & BAKING THE TART
1. Pre-heat the oven to 320F (160C). In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese and sugar till smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well, then blend in the coconut milk.
Pour the creamy filling into the cooled par baked tart shell and place in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set, but not colored (see image below). Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. When ready to serve. Chill a medium-large sized bowl in the refrigerator. You will use this for whipping the creams.
Gently lift the baked and cooled coconut tart out of the baking pan and place on a serving plate. Pour the two creams into the chilled bowl, add the sugar (and stabilizer if desired) and whip till the cream is still tender but holds firm enough to spread.
Using a spoon or spatula spread it evenly over the chilled coconut cream tart. Decorate with pomegranate seeds and serve.
I really like the combination of cream and sour cream, as I find it refreshing on this dessert. But if you prefer whipping cream only, that will work just fine, too.
What are your plans for the Holidays? Do you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah? Or maybe you are simply celebrating the winter solstice and the return to the light. Will you be doing all the cooking or just contributing something? Or maybe you are going to fly off somewhere warm for a restorative vacation. Somewhere like Hawai’i maybe…
Like I hinted above, I will be in the throes of moving (again) this year, so I will be exhausted by that instead of by Christmas decorations and prepping. Luckily, my dear friend Tiffany will be welcoming me and my pups into her home again. I am hoping to be able to contribute a dessert, but at this point I still do not know if my kitchen and my time and energy will allow. If I do, I will share the recipe with you, of course.