Coconut Dream Tart
I always make my husband something special for his birthday. This year, I went all out and decided to re-create one of his all-time favorite desserts: the signature Coconut Cream Pie from The Capital Grille. I couldn’t find any recipes online, so — long shot — I emailed the folks over at Capital Grille and asked for the recipe. I was shocked…they sent it to me!
Like most restaurant recipes, the quantities were huge so I had to fiddle with it a bit, but the results were spectacular: a coconut-scented cookie crust filled with creamy coconut custard, all covered in a pillow of whipped cream and heaps of toasted coconut. Just like at the restaurant…heaven!
Now, by the looks of it, you’d think this tart would be difficult to make. Not exactly. I’ll be honest, with three separate components and five different forms of coconut, it’s definitely a pastry chef’s recipe, but that’s what makes it so incredible! Count on it taking a little time but know it’s not hard…as long as you follow the instructions, it’ll come out great.
The crust is a cinch. It’s made with shortbread cookie crumbs, sweetened flaked coconut and melted butter. Just whirl it in a food processor until you have crumbs, then press it into a tart shell.
The filling is a custard made with coconut milk and cream of coconut. The only tricky part is that you have to temper the eggs. All that means is that you need to raise the temperature of the eggs so that when hot ingredients are added in, the eggs won’t scramble. No worries…I walk you through it in the recipe.
The topping comes together quickly. You simply whip heavy cream with sugar and coconut rum until soft peaks form, then pile it onto the tart. Top it off with golden coconut flakes and you’re done!
I hope you’ll try this tart. By all accounts, mine was a huge success…my husband loved it and everyone raved. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a better Coconut Cream Pie out there.
Enjoy! And please let me know how yours turns out…I love your comments!
Coconut Dream Tart
Inspired by the Coconut Cream Pie at The Capital Grille (crust adapted from Gourmet)
Makes one 10-inch pie/Serves 8-10
7½ oz shortbread cookies such as Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread, finely ground (if you don’t have a baking scale, it’s 11 Walker’s rectangular cookies…you’ll need 2 boxes)
1¼ cups loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, packed
2 tablespoons corn starch, packed
1½ tablespoons Malibu Rum*
5 tablespoons cream of coconut (stir well before using)
1 cup coconut milk (stir well before using)
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
For Whipped Cream & Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Malibu Rum*
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes**, toasted in a skillet until golden and cooled
*Malibu Rum is a rum made with coconut extract.
**Unsweetened coconut flakes (like the ones in the photo) can be hard to find. In the DC area, you can get them at MOMs Organic Market (look for the Let’s Do…Organic brand). If you can’t find them, feel free to substitute ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut (the stuff in the blue bag available everywhere). Simply toast it in a 350 degree oven, stirring often so it browns evenly, until lightly golden.
For the Crust
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Pulse cookie crumbs, coconut, and melted butter in a food processor until coconut is finely ground. Using a ½ cup dry measuring cup, press crumbs firmly and evenly into bottom and up sides of 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack (you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer). If it shrinks or cracks a bit, simply press it back together and up the sides while it’s still hot.
For the Filling
1. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Combine Malibu rum, cream of coconut, coconut milk and whole milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Whisking constantly, slowly ladle about a cup of hot milk mixture into egg mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add remaining milk mixture to egg mixture in 3 or 4 additions; whisk well to combine. Return mixture to sauce pan. Over medium-high heat, cook, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Filling must boil for at least 30 seconds in order to fully thicken. Off heat, whisk in butter until fully incorporated.
3. Pour hot filling into cooled pie shell and smooth surface with spatula; press plastic wrap directly against surface of filling and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 10 hours.
For the Whipped Cream
Up to 3 hours before serving, beat cream, sugar and Malibu Rum with electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1½ – 2 minutes. Top tart with whipped cream and sprinkle with cooled toasted coconut.
Carefully remove the rim from the pan by gently pressing upwards on the bottom while holding the rim in place. Cut into wedges, wiping your knife clean between slices, and serve cold.
This recipe should be made in a 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom. A pie plate won’t work as well or be as pretty! You can find tart pans very inexpensively at most kitchenware stores. I got mine for $10 at Williams-Sonoma.
Tart (without whipped cream topping) can be chilled up to 10 hours (the crust will begin to soften if chilled too much longer). Tart can be topped with whipped cream 3 hours ahead and chilled.