Fresh Coconut Rustic Tarts

  • Serves: Makes 8
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350 for coconut and tart shells; 325 for filled tarts
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  • Comments: 1

These little tarts are fabulously tasty.
Our gluten free pie crust is so good that you won’t miss the gluten one bit.
The sugar encrusted edges of the crust taste like a buttery shortbread cookie.
The creamy filling has a delightfully rich coconut flavor. SO worth the extra effort to freshly grate the coconut, but you can use store bought, sweetened or unsweetened grated coconut if you're in a hurry.
You may never use packaged coconut again!


Pick a coconut that is heavy for its size, and shake it -- you should hear liquid sloshing around. The more, the fresher it is. Don't select ones with damp or moldy eyes or cracked shells. Whole coconuts can be stored for 1 month at room temperature. 

1 recipe Gluten Free Pie Crust Dough, shaped into a square, wrapped and chilled

For the Filling:
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup freshly grated coconut, packed; divided into 2/3 cup and 1/3 cup portions

For Finishing:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup raw sugar for sprinkling

Whipped cream, Optional

Prepare the Coconut:
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Using a screwdriver and hammer, pierce the eyes of the coconut, and drain the liquid into a container.

3. Place coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the coconut for 20-30 minutes, or until it cracks.

4. Wrap the coconut in a kitchen towel, and tap it with a hammer until it breaks open.

5. The meat should now easily pull away from the shell.
Use a butter knife to help pop it off the shell.

6. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown skin from the white coconut meat.
Then break the meat into pieces small enough to fit into the feed tube of a food processor.​
If you do not have a food processor, you may use a box grater.

7. Grate the meat, using the fine grating disk in a food processor.
NOTE: If you do not have a food processor, you may grate the coconut on the fine holes with a box grater.

8. Measure out 1 cup of grated coconut, packed for use in this recipe.
Place the rest in a resealable plastic bag, or lidded plastic container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For longer storage, freeze it for a month or more.

9. Turn off the oven.


1. Prepare TWO standard muffin tins for this recipe: One 12 cavity pan and one 6 cavity pan.
Liberally spray the 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray. Repeat with the 6-cup muffin tin.
Make sure you spray the entire pan including the top surface. 

Use your fingers to even out the oil.

2. Remove the chilled gluten-free pie dough from the refrigerator.
Cut the square in half. Wrap and return the other half to the refrigerator.

3. Roll out the first portion of dough, on a gluten-free floured surface, to a long rectangle, about 6- x 16-inches.
The dough should be thin.

4. Cut out a 5.25-inch square piece of cardstock to use as a cutting template.

Cut out 3 rough squares of dough, using the template to help with the sizing.
NOTE: Since these tarts are rustic, variations in size are OK. In fact, they are a plus.

5. Repeat the above process with the second half of the dough, giving you 6 squares of dough.
Gather the scraps and roll them out. Cut out two more squares. You'll need 8 squares of dough in total.

6. Gently fit each dough square down into the cup, folding over dough, as necessary.
Use every other cup in the 12 cavity pan for 6 of the dough squares, and fit the last two dough squares into the 6 cavity pan.
Let the excess dough hang over the edge of the cup.
NOTE: Try to let the edges fold naturally, so they look informal and organic.

7. CHILL the formed dough until firm, at least 20 minutes. Heat the oven in the next step.

1. Twenty minutes before baking, position the oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F as the dough chills.

2. Remove the formed tart dough in their pans from the refrigerator.
Dock the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork.

3. Brush the edges of the tart shells with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
When finished sprinkling, use the spoon to gently scoop out the excess sugar that may have fallen into the shells.

4. Cut out eight 4-inch squares of parchment paper.
Fit a parchment square into each tart shell and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Pour a few tablespoons of water into the empty cavities in both pans, so they don’t scorch in the oven.

5. Bake shells for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the shells are golden brown.
Remove the parchment and the weights.

6. Then place the shells back into the oven to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until golden throughout.

7. Let tart shells cool in the pan on a wire cake rack while you make the filling.

8. REDUCE the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Make the filling:

1. Place the eggs in a large bowl, add the sugar.
Whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

2. Add the cream, melted butter, extracts and salt, and whisk to combine.

Stir in 2/3 cup of the coconut.

Fill the tart shells and bake, again:
1. Divide the mixture evenly between the 8 tart shells, then sprinkle the tops with the reserved 1/3 cup coconut.
NOTE: Add more water to the unused cupcake tins, if they have dried out.

2. Bake tarts for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is set by slightly “jiggly” in the very center.

3. Cool tarts, in their pans, on a rack, for about 30 minutes, before removing them from the pan.

4. Remove tarts from the pan by gently twisting them until they are loosened from their tins.

5. Refrigerate tarts for about 30 minutes before serving.

Serve tarts slightly chilled or at room temperature, with an optional dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Store tarts in the refrigerator for a few days. They do not freeze.

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