Coconut Custard Tartlets


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More than any other activity, food is the guiding principal on Taylor Family vacations. A good majority of our days are spent battling discussing what to eat, where to eat it, and what each person will eat when we get wherever we’re going. We dissect our favorite dishes with the intention to reinvent them in our kitchen, using amateur detective skills to debate questions like

who thought to put pears inside a pasta and can you please draw me a bath made of this sauce?

a taco shack! we have to stop! fish tacos FTW! what is that spice?

can you remember the name of that place without a sign in a Roman alley where we ate the best cacio è pepe of our lives eight years ago?

who invented this butterscotch pudding in a teacup / where can i get the recipe / is the inventor available for marriage?

The mother recipe from which these tartlets were born, a coconut custard pie, follows this pattern. Everyday lunch on my parents’ favorite Caribbean island is a celebration of local Antiguan fare and includes freshly-caught fish, garden vegetables, and coconuts from the palms that envelop the property. My mom loved this pie so much that the pastry chef sent her the recipe.

While I don’t have a tree in my backyard to shimmy up and harvest a few coconuts for tonight’s dessert, sweetened coconut works just as well here. Since it’s not seasonal, these tartlets will transport you to a tropical island far, far away — specially if it’s 15 below zero during an east coast winter — if only for a bite or two.

Coconut Custard Tartlets (adapted from Mark Smith, pastry chef at Curtain Bluff)

1 pie crust (Unfortunately for you, I’m taking my pie crust recipe to the grave. Try this one.)

1 lb sweetened shredded coconut

3 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

kiss of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk coconut, eggs, cream, milk, and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Set aside.

Roll out your pie crust until to approximately 1/4-inch thickness, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Using a circular cookie cutter or a small glass, cut rounds out of the pie crust. Press each crust into the muffin tin and spoon ~1-1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut mixture into each cup.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tartlet crust is golden brown. Leave tartlets in the muffin tin allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Top with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream!) and serve.


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