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.
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!