My eldest has her birthday in the days running up to Valentine’s day. This means that around this time of year, our living room is decorated with lovebird garlands and heart-shaped balloons, and that on her birthday parties we’re never short of love-themed give-aways. In my view, there are worse things to associate your birthday with!
It also means that in our house the weeks before Valentine’s day are filled with sweet baking. As we celebrate her birthday with different people on several occasions, we bake lots of cakes and tartlets adjusted to the different tastes and dietary preferences of our guests. One of the favourite flavours of the birthday girl herself is passion fruit, so the creamy coconut tartlets you see in the picture were made for her.
These coconut tartlets are a pleasant combination of easy and sophisticated. They’re built with three components which can all be easily prepared ahead. A quick and creamy coconut custard, flavoured with vanilla and lime zest. A tart lime and passion fruit coulis, to balance the naturally soft and sweet coconutty flavour of the custard. And a crisp and crumbly pastry case, which is blind-baked before filling and can be made up to two days before serving. For the cases I used my, by now rather popular, almond shortcrust pastry, which I sweetened a bit to match the filling. Based on almond flour, rice flour and rapeseed oil, it’s incredibly easy to work with and gluten free, so everyone can enjoy.
The result is light, elegant and sunny, perfect in these winter days which already show the first signs of spring. Simply assemble the components just before serving, top with flowers and fresh fruits and enjoy – as a birthday treat, a Valentine’s treat or a treat for every other day of the year. Because every day is a perfect day to show yourself and the people around you some love.
Creamy coconut tartlets with lime and passion fruit coulis – makes 6
for the dough
- 1 batch of almond shortcrust pastry
- 2 tbsp. icing sugar
for the custard filling
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 3 tbsp. cornflour
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. coconut cream *), set aside at room temperature
*) To obtain the coconut cream, put a 400 ml tin of full-fat coconut milk upright in the fridge. After cooling for about 2 hours, open carefully and scoop off the solid upper layer. The remaining coconut milk can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or frozen, for later use in porridge, stews or soups.
for the coulis
- pulp from 10 ripe passion fruits, or 100 g frozen passion fruit pulp, defrosted
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2½ tbsp. sugar
fresh fruits, flowers and mint leaves, to serve.
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
Prepare the shortcrust dough, sweetening it by stirring the icing sugar through the flour before kneading. Wrap the dough in cling film and keep it in the fridge until using.
Lightly brush 6 ∅7 cm fluted tartlet tins with oil and dust them with rice flour. On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough and cut out 6 ∅10 cm circles. Gently press the pastry into the tartlet tins and transfer to a baking sheet. Line each tin with a piece of baking parchment and add a layer of baking beans or dry rice; alternatively, carefully press an empty tartlet tin into each pastry case. Blind-bake the cases for 10 minutes, then remove the filling and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Remove the pastry cases from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the custard, mix the cornflour with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk and stir until smooth. Set aside. Pour the remaining coconut milk into a pan and add the lime zest, sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then whisk in the cornflour mixture. Stirring all the time, leave to simmer for about two minutes, until the mixture thickens and stirring motions leave a trail on the surface. Remove the custard from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover the surface of the custard directly with cling film to prevent a skin forming, then chill in the fridge until needed.
To make the coulis, put the passion fruit pulp into a sieve placed over a bowl. With the back of a spoon press out the passion fruit juice. If you prefer a speckled sauce with the seeds still in, you can omit this step. Put the passion fruit juice, lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer. While stirring, simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside and leave to cool.
Just before serving, finish the custard filling. Using electric whisks or a hand whisk, mix the coconut cream into the custard until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat, to prevent the coconut cream turning grainy.
Divide the custard filling over the pastry cases and drizzle with passion fruit coulis. Leave the drizzling part to the last moment, because, as you can see in the picture, after a while the acid in the sauce will make the surface of the custard split. Top with flowers, fresh fruits and mint leaves and enjoy!