I have been eating so many berries recently, I've always got a stash of them both in the fridge and in the freezer, I can't get enough! I want to make the most of them while they are still in season as soon enough they will be gone for the Winter. Although most of them just get eaten straight from the tub, I have managed to set a few aside for baking with; these coconut and berry fruit tarts are a wonderful way to serve them and would be perfect for afternoon tea or a garden party, or just because it's Tuesday.
These pretty little tartlets consist of a shortcrust pastry base, to which I added some desiccated coconut which helps make them extra crisp and gives a lovely flavour; they are filled with a creamy coconut pastry cream and topped with a wonderful selection of fresh berries, though you can vary the fruit to suit yourself. If you wanted to go all out tropical then they would also be great topped with diced mango, pineapple and kiwi and some passion fruit. Or check out this tropical fruit tart that I made last year.
Using coconut milk rather than regular milk in the crème pâtissière gives it a really lovely flavour and creamy texture and also means that it is dairy free (the pastry however is not - I use butter though you could use dairy-free margarine if you prefer). It is also really versatile and can be used in all of the same ways as regular pastry cream - to fill cakes, pies, eclairs, doughnuts etc etc. (Now I have visions of coconut doughnuts...something to try asap I think!).
The best thing about these tarts is that all the hard work can be done a day or two in advance of serving them – baking the tart cases and making the pastry cream. When it comes to serving them all you need to do is fill each pastry case with the cream and top with fruit, easy! Once they have been filled they are best eaten on the same day though so do bear that in mind.
I originally made these coconut and berry fruit tarts for DIYs, check them out for some awesome craft and recipe ideas.
Coconut And Berry Fruit Tarts
- 200 g (1 +⅔ cup) plain flour
- 30 g (⅓ cup) desiccated coconut
- 30 g (¼ cup) icing (powdered) sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 110 g (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter diced
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-2 Tbsp ice cold water
Coconut Pastry Cream:
- 400 ml (1 14oz can) full fat coconut milk
- 1 large egg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 40 g (⅓ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 100 g (½ cup) sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 450 g (1 lb) fruit of your choice to top
- To make the pastry, place the flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and blend again. Then, with the motor running, gradually add just enough cold water so that the pastry comes together.
- Tip it out onto a worksurface and bring it together, don't overwork it. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and place in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Divide the pastry into six equal pieces, shape each one into a ball. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface and press into a 8-9cm/3.25-3.5in tart tin, pressing it right into the corners and leaving the excess pastry overhanging. Repeat for the rest of the pastry.
- Prick the base of each pastry case all over with a fork, place them on a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer (or fridge if it wont fit), for fifteen minutes (or thirty in the fridge) while you preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Line each tart case with either a round of baking parchment or a double layer of good quality clingfilm then fill with either baking beans or dry rice. Bake the tarts for 15 minutes then remove the baking beans/rice and parchment/clingfilm.
- Return the tarts to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the bases are a pale golden. You may need to cover the edges with strips tin foil if they start to get too dark before the middle is done.
- Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle then use a very sharp serrated knife to trim off the excess pastry. Once cold store in an airtight container until needed (will keep for a couple of days unfilled).
- To make the pastry cream, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale.
- Place the coconut milk in a pan and heat until just boiling. Gradually pour the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Return the mixture to the pan and place over a medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes up to the boil; continue to cook for a couple more minutes while whisking to cook out the flour then pour into a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm directly on the surface then refrigerate until cold (or overnight, or up to a couple of days).
- To assemble the tarts, give the pastry cream a quick whisk with a balloon whisk until smooth (it will be very thick at first). Remove the pastry cases from the tins.
- Spoon some of the pastry cream into each tart case and spread it level. Top with your selection of fresh fruits and serve. Keep refrigerated and the tarts are best served on the same day that they are assembled.