Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TWD: Coconut Cream Tart


There are few desserts that just don't sound all that good to me, but coconut cream anything is one of them. I'm not a huge fan of coconut except in unusual circumstances. And while I'll never say no to a spoon dessert that is set in front of me, I generally don't get hit with those intense "must . . . have . . . custard . . ." cravings the way I regularly do with, say, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies. And that's just from the "eating" perspective. From the "making" perspective, there are few things I enjoy making less than custard. Caramel would be one of them, but that's only because of the devastation it tends to unleash in my kitchen. Even though caramel is more dangerous, I'd still rather make it than custard, because if by fluke the caramel works, I have caramel! But if the custard works, I just have custard. Did anyone follow that?

I'm trying not to eat sweets much over the next six weeks, however, so this week's TWD selection, Coconut Cream Tart, sounded like the perfect dessert to me. I could make it without being remotely tempted by it, and then pass it over to my husband, who doesn't have the coconut cream issues that I do. I would take one bite, purely for journalistic purposes.

Having thus hatched the perfect plan, I started with Dorie's sweet tart dough, which I've made several times and love. I made a full recipe of the tart dough, even though I knew I'd be scaling back the filling, because I planned to use some of the dough for this tart, and save some for the upcoming chocolate raspberry tart. I've got to tell you, every time I make the sweet tart dough and get to the part of the recipe where Dorie gives you the heads up that the food processor will start making a different noise when the dough is almost ready, I'm reminded of why Baking is such a truly fabulous cookbook.

Random photo of toasted coconut inserted into middle of post to break up the monotony of the long-winded prose

I made a half recipe of the custard, and it came off without a hitch. I think cornstarch really helps me in that regard -- thanks, Argo. I added the full (half recipe) amount of toasted coconut to the custard. And to make the tart even more resistible to me, I added the full (half) amount of dark rum called for in the recipe (both in the custard and in the topping). I'm not a big liquor girl (now wine is a different story), unless the drink is fruity and has a name that ends with the diminuitive "-ini," (e.g., "Sweet Tartini"), and I tend to have a real aversion to boozy desserts. But I knew I could count on my husband to take one for the team and review the recipe exactly as written.

I made poor David eat this when he was one his way out the door to take Jacob somewhere. ("What?! You're leaving now?! But Dorie says this is best right after it's assembled. You can't go now -- you need to eat this first. What? Well yeah, I knew it started at 3:15, but I had to assemble it now or it would be too dark for pictures later. Eat it. EAT IT!!!") Fortunately, he really enjoyed this. He said that even though this is not a dessert he'd ever pick on his own, he thought this was about as good as coconut cream pie (tart) could be.

I agree with that assessment. I thought this was delicious. While the rum was definitely noticeable, I did not think that it was at all overpowering, and it complemented the other flavors nicely. Leave it to Dorie to come up with a version of this dessert good enough to convert a coconut cream hater. Beryl of Cinemon Girl picked this week's tart - thanks for the great pick, Beryl!

26 comments:

Girl Japan said...

I'm totally the opposite.. Love coconut, esp coconut cream.. and this pie, looks absolutely divine.

OH YUM!!!!

Nice to see an update = )

Marthe said...

Looks really pretty, I still have to finish mine....

mike said...

How nice that the recipe's original intent worked for your family. The custard WAS amazing, although I love coconut and added more flavoring (who was watching)? I figure if at least one person in the family enjoys it, then it's a success. The little tartlettes look wonderful!

Jessica said...

It's so nice to have a taster/eater around when you want to palm off sweets. Dudley gave up sweets for Lent even after I asked him to give up something that wouldn't prevent him from eating most of the things that come out of my kitchen. I made these on Sunday and convinced him to eat one.
Back to your tarts -- they look great, and I'm glad you and David liked them. I love it when a TWD dessert that I think I won't like surprises me. Then again, I definitely understand where you're coming from with this dessert. Sometimes it's nice to make a dessert and not even be tempted to put a spoonful in your mouth. It's all the fun of baking without the guilt of eating the calories!

Sabrina said...

Great job, it looks beautiful!! This one was a perfect one for me too because I do not like Coconut or Custard. I took one bite to try it and that was enough! :)

Susan said...

Great looking tarts! Your posts are such fun to read! :) I was pretty sure I would like this one, and I wasn't disappointed!

Mary Ann said...

How great that you had a taste tester in your family who could down the whole tart!
I love it when I am able to bake something and resist eating it, so good job.
It looks lovely, Cathy!

spike. said...

Nice, glad the custard worked and it was enjoyed by all. I loved that you could actually taste the rum in this, but then again, I like a little alcohol in most of my desserts!

vibi said...

LOL Indeed I followed that! Caramel vs custard! LOL and I totaly get it.

I'm happy to read you again more regularly... and glad you enjoyed this, cause you mastered it two thumbs up, woman!

Katrina said...

I love your posts, totally crack me up. Love the random picture of the toasted coconut! Glad you liked it, but I'm with you on custardy things. Give me a chocolate chip cookie!

Tracey said...

I'm with you Cathy - give me cookie and brownies over custard/pudding any day! I'm glad David helped you out with these and even better that you ended up enjoying it too! I thought the rum was overpowering so definitely not a favorite here but still fun to make.

Flourchild said...

My daughter was glady my taste tester..I had one bite and fell in love! It was an amazing recipe. Im glad you all enjoyed it too.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yum! They do look perfect to me, and I will be happy to finish them for you as I am a heathen and have given up nothing. :)

bakingwiththeboys said...

I agree with pretty much every word of this post from the comments re the food processor noise to the aversion to coconut cream. The only difference is that I didn't get to the recipe this week. I think I will survive.

Jules Someone said...

It looks pretty. Not a coconut fan, so there's none at my house.

jillbert said...

I love love love the sweet tart dough! I skipped this one, though I think I would like it. Glad to hear that it was good but not too tempting for you.

Pamela said...

I wanted to get this one done, but I just didn't. Hoping to give it a try in the coming week or so. I so agree with you about the caramel comment, too!

CB said...

I TOTALLY agree about hearing the sound change while making the Sweet Tart Dough. It's the little hints like that that make me appreciate how much thought and effort Dorie put into this book. Great to see you blogging again! I miss you and your PAM addiction. ;)

Peggy said...

I'm waiting on my piece so *I* can be your taste tester. I'm sitting right here just seconds from you. . where is it? hee hee.
It looks fabulous.

Maria said...

I want to try this one. I love coconut!

Debinhawaii said...

I am crazy for coconut and these tarts look pretty perfect to me! ;-)

TeaLady said...

WAIT!! WAIT!! I have to take pictures..... I never thought I would say those words. LOVE IT!!!!

And the tart is beaufitul.

Bridgett said...

I agree with you, while coconut isn't horrific, it just isn't anything I just HAVE to have. That is not to say I wouldn't indulge if one of these beauties were placed in front of me!

Kayte said...

Who knew so many people did not like coconut...not me until this week. Your little tarts look perfect to me...okay, I would have put the toasted coconut on the top and then after I took the picture, I would have piled even more of it on top, yep, that's what I did. Can you tell coconut is a big love in this house? I have to hide the coconut in an offending labeled plastic tub in the frig to keep the kids out of it so that I have it around when it is time to bake. David is such a good sport. I hear you on the not being tempted thing...chocolate weeks are good for that around here for me...not even remotely tempted.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I can't say that I actually crave custard, but I sure am a happy girl when it's on the menu, especially accompanied by a brownie or cookie! Dorie's sweet tart dough is nothing short of a miracle in my book.

Our tarts could be twins, and your pictures this week are really fab. Great post, Cathy!

AmyRuth said...

Ha ha Cathy, Okay "Now eat.." that is an issue I constantly struggle with. hehe Always, trying to time it for Corbin's camera and a neighbors plate. hehe Oh yea and I'm not a huge fan of coconut either but somehow the aroma of the custard/coconut is amazing to me. duh who knows? Anyway, its a beauty! Great job Cathy. And so, why is it you're not eating sweets these days? hehe What about that choco tart coming up? Don't know if I can resist that one, chocolate and all. hehe
AmyRuth

 
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