Tuesday, November 11, 2014


This tart combines creamy coconut filling and rich caramel topping. It also combines very complimentary textures - creamy, soft, smooth coconut cream, and firmer, denser caramel. The only tricky part about it is the caramel. It does require a bit of skill and quite a lot of carefulness, especially when adding the cream, because it can bubble up and splatter. But all in all, it's a very uncomplicated tart, with a lot of flavour.

For the base
200 grams crushed vanilla wafer cookies
120 grams butter, softened
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons coconut milk
For the coconut filling
500 ml coconut milk
50 ml double cream
50 grams desiccated coconut
40 grams cornstarch (cornflour)
2 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons icing sugar
100 grams butter, softened
For the caramel top layer
200 grams sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
120 ml double cream
60 grams butter, diced

First make the coconut cream filling, because it will take some time for it to cool down. Start by whisking together the cornstarch, plain flour and desiccated coconut with the double cream and set it aside. Bring the coconut milk to a boil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When it starts to boil, remove it from heat and quickly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and, whisking constantly, cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the filling thickens. Remove it from heat completely and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface. Let it cool down to room temperature.
To make the base layer, beat together the softened butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes on high), then add the crushed vanilla wafers and blend well. Add the coconut milk to moisten the batter, and mix to combine. Take a large serving platter (it needs to be a bit larger than the spring form ring), place the ring on it (23 cm; 9"), tip in the crumbly mixture and press it in evenly on the platter. Set it aside for the time being, it does not have to be refrigerated.
When the cream filling has cooled to room temperature, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on high for a few minutes, to make it lighter and fluffier. Take a tablespoon of the cream filling at a time, and add it to the butter, beating constantly. Spread the coconut filling on the base and put the tart in the fridge while you make the caramel layer.
Take a heavy-bottomed saucepan (for best results, use pans that are light coloured, to make it easier to control the colour during the caramelisation), place it over high heat and add the water, sugar and honey. Bring to a boil (do not stir), and let it boil for about 14 minutes, until it reaches a deep amber colour. Remove from heat and very carefully add the double cream, mix very well to combine, then return to heat and cook for 2 more minutes. Again remove from heat, let it cool down for about 10 minutes, then stir in the butter, a bit at a time. Let cool completely (so it is still spreadable, but not piping hot), and pour it over the coconut cream layer.
Put the tart in the fridge for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight. When you are ready to serve, take a thin knife, run it under hot water, wipe it dry, then run it around the tart, to loosen it from the ring. Remove the ring and serve. Yields 12 servings.
Note: The caramel will not be completely firm. As you cut into the tart and serve, the caramel will drizzle a bit down the sides of the tart and slices.