Coconut Dream Tart

The rules for my wife’s birthday are simple: she tells me what she wants me to make, and I make it. She found this recipe weeks in advance and was counting the days to her birthday because of it. Not because it was her birthday and she was going to get presents and all that.

I never knew coconut came in so many different forms! And I love coconut. And so does my wife, obviously, or she wouldn’t have asked me to make this. It may appear complicated, but it really is simple to make.

Coconut Dream Tart

Coconut Dream Tart

adapted from Once Upon a Chef



  • 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
  • pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 5 tablespoons cream of coconut (stir well before using) [This comes in a can, and it’s weird: when cold, it congeals so that it looks kind of like wax. Submerge the can in hot water for a while to turn it back to a liquid.]
  • 1 cup coconut milk (stir well before using)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • splash coconut extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted in a skillet until golden and cooled



Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350℉.

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 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.


Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine coconut extract, 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.

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.


Up to 3 hours before serving, beat cream, sugar and coconut extract with electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 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.

Coconut Dream Tart

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