When Marillyn mentioned on her blog that she would like guest bloggers for her Sweet Wholesome Wednesday, I was slightly hesitant to volunteer but I believe my inner voice just spoke to my heart that I should do this. I honestly didn’t know what to do but I am sure I want to do something with coconut. We have coconuts trees here at home but most of them have gone to waste. We normally ask one of our helpers Cesar to climb the tree and pick the coconuts for us. We usually like to eat them young and drink the coconut water while they’re still sweet. But for the past few years, Cesar cannot climb the tree anymore and nobody knows how to do it. We do ask help from the outside but they’re not always available all the time. So, we just wait until the coconuts are old and brown before they fell off the tree. At that stage, the coconuts are now hard and firm and they are best grated and serve with a variety of native sticky rice desserts or they are squeezed out through a cheesecloth to obtain pure coconut cream and milk.
The coconut tree is one of the most useful trees on the planet. Every stage of the coconut growth has its own use. Nothing is gone to waste. You can produce so many by-products from a single coconut tree and that’s what local producers are doing right now. But even in the land of coconut trees, I still couldn’t find coconut flour, even coconut flakes and coconut chips. They probably export most of them to other countries. I just found that the coconut oil from Tropical Traditions (and they have the coconut flour) is actually from the Philippines.
We are truly blessed with coconuts trees and they are beneficial and indispensable in cooking, baking and as a healing ingredient. And you might also noticed that so many typhoons have passed by for so many years, many properties where destroyed, some plants have been washed out, a few tree branches have been broken and fell down, but guess where the coconut trees are? They’re still standing tall and steadfast despite the strong winds. What a miracle tree. And I should probably make my own coconut flour.
There’s a recipe called “buko pie” (coconut pie in English) which are made with fresh young coconut meat, condensed milk and lots of cornstarch. But the problem with this pie is that nobody likes it at home. Probably because it’s way too sweet and the texture is somewhat pasty. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make this.
For this tart, I’m using a combination of fresh coconut meat from both young and mature coconuts. Making a tart from coconuts is quite challenging because the flesh is somewhat bland for a tart to start with. It’s either you end up with a tasteless or ultra sweet tart. However, if you’re using dried coconut flakes, they will have the chance to caramelize while they’re baking in the oven. You can also toast your coconut flakes before adding it to your filling mixture.
I also added another layer of flavor in the form of macapuno preserves. Macapuno (aka coconut sport or mutant coconut) is similar to a coconut except that the macapuno meat is thicker with almost no water at all. They’re normally grated, cook with sugar and bottled as a preserves to be used in different Filipino desserts. I haven’t seen a macapuno so the best thing I could get right now is to buy some bottled macapuno preserve which is simmered with muscovado sugar and water. But the fresh macapuno itself or in combination with the coconut would be great for a pie or tart.
This is obviously not a low-fat, low-calorie tart. But, fear not, butter, eggs and coconuts are good for you in moderate amounts. Just don’t eat the whole thing. And coconuts are considered one of the top 10 super foods in the whole world.
Coconut Macaroon Tart
Sweet Pastry Crust (Pate Sucree):
- 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- ½ tsp fine grain unrefined sea salt
- 80 grams unsalted butter
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ vanilla bean
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
- ½ cup muscovado sugar
- 1 ½ cups fresh grated coconut (from mature coconuts)
- 1 cup fresh coconut strips (from young coconuts)
- ¼ cup macapuno preserves (optional) or other preserves or jam of your choice
To start the sweet pastry crust, first beat together egg yolk and water. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir with a spoon. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour, breaking the pieces with your fingertips. Rub the butter into the flour until it has a sandy appearance. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the dry ingredients and combine evenly and quickly until the dough just comes together. Lightly flour the work surface and knead the dough very lightly. The dough should be smooth and pliable. Press into a ball, cover with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To roll the crust, remove the dough from the fridge, dust your counter top and rolling pin with a little bit of the whole-wheat pastry flour. Roll the dough bigger than a 9-inch tart pan with a removable base about ¼-inch thick, making a ¼ turn of the dough while rolling to prevent to dough from sticking to the work surface. Wrap the dough around the surface of the rolling pin, lift it and unroll it gently over the tin, taking care not to stretch it. Let the dough rest over the edge overlapping the sides. Gently lift the edges of the dough with one hand and press it well onto the bottom of the tin. Roll the pin over the top of the tin, pressing down to cut off the excess dough. With your fingers, press the dough evenly up the sides, from the bottom, to increase the height of the rim. Prick the base of the shell with a fork to prevent air bubbles forming during baking. Chill for at least 15 minutes, or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit degrees.
Bake blind the pastry crust in the oven for 15 minutes or until the pastry is set and slightly browned. Cool slightly. Then, lower the temperature oven to 350 Fahrenheit degrees.
To prepare the coconut filling, first slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds, using the back of the knife. Transfer to a bowl and whisk with the eggs, coconut milk and salt. Whisk in the muscovado sugar until combined. Then stir in the shredded coconut meat.
When the pastry has cooled down, spread a thinly layer of the coconut preserve (a little bit less than the photo) at the bottom. Then scrape the mixture into the tart shell and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the tart is golden brown, making sure that the top is caramelized and set in the center, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely.
To serve the tart, loosen the edges of the pan with an offset spatula and gently slide the tart off the base. Slice and serve.