If you like coconut I think you’ll like these! These individual coconut tarts (or ‘gizzadas’ in Jamaica) are a traditional sweet snack in the Caribbean, and upon finding grated fresh coconut going cheap in the freezer of my local supermarket I decided it was time to pay homage to my roots! The pastry case is traditionally crimped by hand but for ease and a neater finish I’ve used fluted tins. A word of warning – desiccated coconut will not yield the right results (trust me I’ve tried!) so either use coconut you’ve grated fresh or use frozen (if so, defrost overnight in the fridge before using).
for the pastry
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 75g butter, chilled and cubed
- 30g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 medium egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp cold water
for the filling
- 300g grated fresh coconut
- 220g light brown soft sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons water
- knob of unsalted butter
- 6 glacé cherries
Make the pastry: in a medium-sized bowl (or food processor), rub the butter into the flour to form fine breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar. Use a palette knife to cut in the beaten egg then press together to form a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm but not hard.
Grease six 10cm round loose-bottomed fluted tart tins then roll the pastry between a sheet of non-stick baking paper and the cling film to 2mm thick. Line the tins with the pastry, pressing carefully into the grooves and pricking the bases with a fork. Re-roll the trimmings if necessary. Place the tins on a baking tray and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Bake the pastry cases blind (line each with non-stick baking paper and an even layer of baking beans) in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper after 12 minutes and return the cases to the oven for the remaining time until just starting to colour on the edges. While the cases are baking, prepare the filling.
Make the filling: place the coconut, sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the butter and cook for a further five minutes. Divide the filling between the part-baked pastry cases and place a cherry in the centre of each, bake for 15 minutes until the ‘peaks’ of the filling are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.