A delectable pastry pocket filled with stewed shredded coconut
Baking is such an important part of Caribbean culture. Walking into a local bakery you're met with a colorful array of freshly baked bread, pastries, cakes, and cookies. And this is not just for commercial use, on Saturday, households are known to bake up their own batch of bread and cakes and pastries.
Coconut tarts use one of our very staple ingredients: the coconut. Unlike the coconut bake, the tart is on the sweeter side. It's a pastry with a bread type texture that we stuff with the meat of the coconut that has been stewed with sugar and some other spices. Oh so yummy!!
To say that the coconut isn't an important part of our cooking I would be lying. Cooking and baking are not really complete without using some part of the coconut. Be it the milk of the coconut or the husk (some people call it the meat). The husk is most commonly used in making sweets like this coconut tart, coconut drops, or even coconut cakes. On the other hand, the milk is for more savory foods. I use it while making my pelau, sometimes when we're stewing chicken.
My fondest memories of coconut tart is seeing my aunt, who had a bakery, making these. By the time she was done she would be covered in flour from head to toe. Rolling, and sealing and making these in batches.
Folding the tart is a pretty easy process. It's like any hand pie. I did the same process to make the aloo pies to be fried. Roll out, add filling, fold and bake.
Then we have to make it look pretty, so we give it a wash of a sugar bath. I know sometimes people like to do an egg wash, but I love seeing a glaze on a tart. Coconut tart must be shiny (or so I think).
The smell of this is amazing. OMG.
And as much I would love to tell you grab one of these as they come out of the oven, I really should warn you to wait a little. Hot flaked coconut is not your friend. I've learned that the hard way.
Give it a little time to cool down.
So that when you bite into that and get a nice big clump of seasoned coconut with a bunch of spices, you won't have to spit it out doing the "too hot to handle" dance.
Cause I would really hate for you to waste such a great snack.
I'm curious though, do you use dry coconut in any of your dishes?
Trinidad Style Coconut Tart
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake snack coconut Christmas Caribbean
Ingredients (16 tarts)
- 4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbsp Crisco
- 2 drops yellow coloring (optional)
- 4 cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
Combine flour, sugar, yeast, Crisco ensuring that the Crisco is well incorporated into flour mixture.
Add water and coloring and combine
Make dough into a ball and leave to sit for 30 minutes.
Separate dough into approximately 16 balls. (big enough to hold approximately 2 tbsp of coconut)
Cover with a damp towel (let sit for about 20 minutes)
Combine coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, ginger, bay leaf in a saucepan.
Mix for about 15 minutes (till flavors are combined and coconut is tender)
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease a baking sheet
Roll out dough balls into circles.
Place approx 2 tbsp of coconut mixture on one-half of dough
Dampen edges of circle with water
Fold over half of dough over coconut
Seal edges with a fork
Repeat till all dough is filled with coconut
Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes
Mix 1/2 cup water with 2 tbsp sugar
Brush mixture on baked tarts and bake for another five minutes
Set aside to cool (Be careful. Hot coconut can burn)
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