9 Jun 2014

coconut tarts

One of my favourite moments during yum cha is when the lady comes around pushing the desserts cart. From colourful cubed gelatin jellies with an umbrella toothpicks to chewy mochi with peanut and coconut fillings. I generally like most of them (except almond jelly), but you can't really beat flaky egg tarts that are fresh from the oven. Another tart offered is the coconut tart - what I refer to as the less popular cousins of the egg tart. We used to get these when we were visiting our relatives in the east, but since the dim sum restaurant closed a decade ago, I haven't been able to source any good ones that are as good as the ones we used to get.

I tried making them a couple of years back, but the filling was different mainly because I was just mixing a bunch of ingredients I thought were in it. It was not until I recently came across wantanmien's post, I thought about making these again. This time the filling was very close to what I remember eating in the past. Compared to my old filling mixture which was very moist, this was quite dry and could be molded into a ball. 

You'll need a stack of individual tart molds to make these, but if you don't have any, you can try using a greased, loose based muffin tray or patty/fairy cake trays (cake tin with the rounded bottom). 

* * *

coconut tarts     makes around 16
pastry adapted from Lim Siew Chung in Yummy Street Fare 最想吃的...街坊美食 
filling adapted from wantanmien

200g plain flour
75g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
25g cold lard (or unsalted butter), cut into cubes
50g icing sugar
15g custard powder
pinch of salt
1 cold egg

filling (make a few hours prior or overnight)
200g desiccated coconut
120ml milk or coconut milk
60g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar (or to taste)
20g vanilla pudding powder* (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)

8 glace cherries, cut into half, for decoration (optional)

To make pastry: Put flour, butter, lard, icing sugar, custard powder and salt into a food processor. Pulse until butter and lard resemble small breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and pulse until everything comes together. Empty onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make filling: Put all ingredients into a small saucepan, except for the desiccated coconut. Cook on medium low heat until butter melts completely. Stir in the coconut and leave to cool for a few hours or overnight for it to absorb the liquid.

To assemble: Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and divide into 30g pieces. Press pastry evenly around the molds**. Divide filling according to how many tart shells you have and lightly press into the tart shells. Press in a halved glace cherry in the center. Bake at 190 degrees celcius for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Don't worry about over baking, they are very forgiving. In fact, you'll get crispier tart shells - win! 

*I found adding this made the taste kind of artificial. If you add vanilla bean paste, essence or extract, I do not think it is necessary.
**Or roll out the pastry into 2mm and use a suitable cookie cutter to cut our rounds to line the mold.