Jamaican Gizzada Recipe

A delicious open face tart filled with sweetened coconut and topped with a cherry.

Jamaican Gizzada Recipe

It's snack time!! I realize that a huge area in Caribbean food is dedicated to desserts/snacks. I have an ongoing argument discussion going on, on what is the difference between a snack and a dessert, but anyway. We do make a lot of things that is not main course related. And we use a lot of our natural resources, especially the coconut.

Today's snack/dessert is coming from Jamaica (by the way of Portugal based on what I learned about this) and is a yummy delight. A sweet open faced tart that is packed with well-seasoned grated coconut that would surely have you reaching for me.

I started eating gizzada (gizzarda or sometimes called pinch-me-round) when I moved to South Florida. I never had it before then. In Trinidad, our version of this treat is called coconut tart, which is basically a stuffed tart (closed) versus open faced as this is. This is a prime example how the islands' foods are closely related.

They are both delicious.

Gizzadas were contributed to the Jamaican food line up with the influx of the Portuguese Jews. They came and this snack stayed. It can easily be found in many Jamaican restaurants along with patties, bun and coco bread.

Jamaican Gizzada Recipe

These treats are a texture fest. The roughness of the coconut that is sweet with the added touch of nutmeg then the shell is a softish flour holder.

I love these things. You can actually munch through a couple of these before you realize how much you consumed. Especially if you have some cold ginger beer to have along with it.

Jamaican Gizzada Recipe

Nothing beats coconut treats, though. They are just so delicious. Something about that roughness that makes you happy. Or it could be just me.

These tarts are a worthy treat. As much as I fret about having to grate coconut meat, these tarts are worth the effort.

Recipe for Coconut Tarts

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Jamaican Gizzada Recipe

A traditional Jamaican and Portuguese dessert, this coconut pastry snack is an all time open face tart with grated, spiced sweetened coconut.
prep time: 60 MINScook time: 40 MINStotal time: 100 mins


For Pastry
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/4 oz shortening
  • 1 3/4 oz margarine
For Coconut Filling
  • 1 large dry coconut, grated
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter
  • Maraschino cherries (optional)


For Filling
  1. Over low heat, add water and sugar to a heavy bottom pot.
  2. Boil until it turns into a syrup
  3. Add grated coconut, and nutmeg and continue to boil for about another 10 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally
  4. Add butter and mix into mixture until all the butter has disappeared.
  5. Set aside and cool.
For Pastry
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift together salt and flour in a large bowl.
  3. Cut shortening and butter into mixture till incorporated.
  4. Add water to mixture to make a dough
  5. Place dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Using a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll dough out to about a 1/4 inch thickness
  7. With about an 8-inch glass cut circles out of dough. If you have tart pans place dough into pans cutting off any excess dough. If no pans, pinch around the dough. You are making a casing for the coconut filling.
  8. Once all shells are made, place dough on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
  9. Take out of oven and carefully add coconut filling to cases
  10. Decorate with half a cherry in the center
  11. Bake treats for another 20 minutes
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Jamaican Gizzada - Coconut Tarts

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