Sunday, 2 August 2015

Coconut Cream tart

When Mr CC and I have a quiet Sunday at home it will usually begin with the Channel 4 show ‘Sunday Brunch’.  Most of this time is spent asking each other if we have heard of the ‘celebrity’ guests and complaining about the awful music they choose to showcase either side of the ad breaks.  I think we’re getting old! It is, primarily, a cooking show, yet I rarely want to replicate the dishes that are made….until last weekend’s show when this recipe for coconut cream tart cropped up.  They followed the US convention of calling it coconut cream pie but, to me, if there’s no pastry lid in sight….it ain’t a pie!

I have long wanted to make a coconut cream tart but, when I looked up US recipes, they often seem to include ingredients such as ‘pudding mix’ and I don’t know what that is.  This recipe uses custard powder, so I wonder if that’s what pudding mix effectively is – just a cornflower based thickening agent?

This is not a dessert for the diet conscious.  It is rich, creamy, and huge…all things that make it pretty ace!  The creamy mascarpone topping is so much nicer that plain whipped cream as it has a custard-like flavour; indeed, I have used it in the past as both a shortcut for crème patisserie, and custard in a trifle.  It is hard not to eat it all straight from the bowl.  I added a little sugar to the topping (as well as increasing the quantity of topping) as the whole tart is not overly sweet.  When a US guest on Sunday Brunch tried it she commented that it was not as sweet as American versions.  If you want a sweeter tart maybe add more sugar to the custard layer.

There is coconut in the biscuit base and the custard is bulked out with a lot of desiccated coconut.  It means the custard layer is not smooth but the benefit is that it really boosts the coconut flavour.  If, like me, you can never have anything too coconutty then this is heaven!

I suppose you could serve it with some berries in an attempt to make it look a bit healthier but I didn’t bother.  I decided to embrace its creamy, custardy goodness in all its white/yellow/beige splendour!


For the base:
225g digestive biscuits
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
15g desiccated coconut

For the filling:
3 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
475ml milk
225g coconut cream
60g custard powder
30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g desiccated coconut
For the topping:
150g mascarpone
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Handful of toasted coconut flakes – I couldn’t find toasted flakes anywhere so toasted some coconut in a dry frying pan; keep it moving and don’t let it burn!


Start by making the base: place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. 

Add the butter and coconut and blitz again.

NB. If you don’t have a food processor and are crushing the biscuits using the ‘bashing them with a rolling pin’ method, you will need to melt the butter.

Press the damp crumbs into a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Now make the filling: beat together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  They will puff up in volume.

Beat in the vanilla.

Place the milk, coconut cream and custard powder in a pan and bring gently to the boil.  Stir enough to ensure the custard powder has dissolved and is not clumping in lumps at the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the heat and gradually pour over the egg mix, whisking well the whole time.

Sieve the mixture back into the saucepan (don’t skip this stage – there will be little eggy lumps that you don’t want in your creamy filling!) and simmer, stirring the whole time, until the mix is thick and creamy.  If it coats the back of a spoon it’s the thickness you want.

Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the butter and desiccated coconut.

Spoon into the biscuit base and level the surface.

Press clingfilm over the surface (to stop any skin forming) and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Now make the topping: beat the mascarpone just enough to slacken it a little.

Pour in the cream and beat until the mix is thick enough to hold its shape.

Beat in the icing sugar.

Spoon on top of the tart.

Scatter over the toasted coconut flakes.

Serve in generous slices.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Angie Schneider said...

For me, this is a tart rather than a pie. And pudding mix sounds just like cornstarch flavoured with vanilla extract. Coconut and mascarpone are both my favourites. THis cake will be a hit in our house.

Gloria Baker said...

Im sooo happy yoy come back dear!!!
I love this Coconut cream tart!!
Just georgeous!!

Anonymous said...

I've recently also struggled with this pudding mix phenomenon. After delving I realised it's (as you say) a flavored cornstarch. A recipe I was trying called for chocolate pudding, so I made custard with cocoa powder added & voila it worked fine!! Loving the coconut! Roze :)

Stuart Vettese said...

That filling looks soooo inviting - I could dive right in!

Leslie said...

Speaking as an American - if I can explain pudding mix, can you explain custard powder?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Leslie

Custard powder was an invention of Mr Bird, whose wife was allergic to eggs but liked custard. It's a cornflour vanilla powder which allows you to make a pretty decent custard (pouring consistency) by adding only milk and sugar. Many people (Mr CC included) prefer it to 'proper' custard made with egg yolks...I think it's a comfort food from our childhood when you'd be served it at school with warm sponge cake for pudding!

Hope this helps!

Jo said...

I'm with you in thinking it's more of a tart. No lid, not a pie! Love the look of that creamy, coconut custard filling.

Maggie said...

I love that both American and Australian recipes use custard powder, it's a fabulous cake ingredient.
I like a good tart and this looks wonderful.

Snowy said...

Oh, that look so good; love the filling.

sensibilia said...

Your recipes, as ever, make my mouth water, and often make me laugh as well. Don't know why I find the words "pudding mix" funny, but I do!

We have been struggling with builders and a new kitchen for the last two months, and the thought of cooking anything makes me feel exhausted but your recipe has re-awakened my interest in food! You are inspiring!

Choclette Blogger said...

My goodness gracious me. this sounds like it might even rival my own coconut tart - shhhhhh!