tripping on coconuts – coconut tart w brown sugar glazed peanuts

by hungryrabbit on January 21, 2011

Coconut Tart w Brown Sugar Glazed Peanuts

Now that I have settled back into my New York life after a long vacation, I like to recall the flavors we found. While we were in Penang and Singapore, one ingredient repeatedly showed up in many dishes–coconut. It played the main role in some dishes as well as a supporting one in others by adding complexity in ways that were new and surprising.

Instead of recreating some of those dishes, which I’m sure wouldn’t be as good as the originals, I wanted to make desserts that were inspired by the experience–one of which was the combination of coconut with peanuts and brown sugar. The fragrant coconut is sweetened by caramel taste of the brown sugar. Peanuts add crunch and earthiness to the equation.

I decided on a Coconut Tart with Brown Sugar Glazed Peanuts. The tart shell is laced with coconut and filled with a luscious coconut cream. The topping of crunchy glazed peanuts, made with brown sugar, contrast beautifully with the soft silky texture of the tart. A hint of lime and a sprinkling of sea salt with the peanuts gave it a refreshing tingle.

This is first in a dessert series that I will be doing to celebrate our recent trip–my interpretation of what Asia has to offer.

Coconut Tart w Brown Sugar Glazed Peanuts

recipe by hungry rabbit, 2010
makes one 4×14 or 9-inch tart

6 ounces animal crackers
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
14 ounces coconut milk (1 can)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cups unsalted peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Lime juice,  freshly squeezed
Lime zest from 1 lime, approx. 2 teaspoon

Lime zest strands from 1 lime
Malden Salt (optional)

1. To make the crust: In food processor, pulse animal crackers, coconut, and sugar to fine crumbs; then continue to process until powdery, about 5 additional seconds. Add butter to crumb mixture and pulse to combine until crumbs are evenly moistened.

2. Empty crumb mixture into tart pan and place a film of plastic wrap over the crust mixture; use bottom of 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of tart pan. Trim edges with paring knife. (Crust can be a bit delicate at this point.) Place in refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.

3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until fragrant and medium brown, about 18-20 minutes, rotating tart shell halfway through baking time. Set on wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

4. To make the filling: Whisk yolks, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon sugar in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

5. Bring coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Whisking constantly, gradually ladle about 1 cup hot milk mixture over yolk mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add remaining milk mixture to yolk mixture in 3 or 4 additions; whisk well to combine. Return mixture to saucepan and cook until thickened and mixture reaches boil, whisking constantly, about 1 minute; filling must boil in order to fully thicken. (To determine whether filling has reached boil, stop whisking; large bubbles should quickly burst on surface.)

6. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is fully incorporated. Pour hot filling into cooled pie shell and smooth surface with rubber spatula; press plastic wrap directly against surface of filling and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

7. Line baking sheet with silpat or parchment, set aside.

8. Bring light brown sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook syrup until it reduced by half and thick in the consistency of maple syrup, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts, lime juice and zest. Spread peanuts onto prepared baking sheet and let cool slightly, 7-10 minutes.

9. Remove tart from refrigerator and peel off plastic wrap. Spread glazed peanuts on top of tart and garnished with strands of lime zest and sprinkling of Malden Salt (if use).

1. Tart shell can be baked 1 day in advance.
2. Coconut Tart is best eaten the day of but can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
3. Instead of Glazed Peanuts, you can make Peanut Brittle and garnish Coconut Tart with shards of brittle.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

JenniferA January 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

This is so beautiful! I am sure it is delicious too, but I would just want to stare at it and behold its beauty! Wow.

Brian @ A Thought For Food January 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

This is fantastic, Ken! That coconut custard filling rocks my world!

foodwanderings January 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

You can’t even imagine how happy I am to see this scan through the ingredients and although coocnut was predominant in my life I never had coconut cream until I came to the States and in this tart you elevated it even further. It is one of S’s, J’s and mine all time favorite desserts coconut cream and yours is so elegant! Love the inspiration you are drawing from your travels!

Amelia from Z Tasty Life January 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

oh my this is like coconut heaven… and the lime zest brings in just the perfect touch of brightness (color and flavor). wonderful texture contrasts too…crunchy, flaky, soft, crispy, creamy…
welcome back!!!

Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow January 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

Wow!!! That looks so incredible! It’s beautiful!!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris January 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

Wow!! This is perfection !! Chapeau !!!

Maria @ Scandifoodie January 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

That looks gorgeous! Love the flavours! Have a great weekend ;-)

Annapet January 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Oh, Ken! This is what coconut dreams are made of! The filling looks so perfect! Thank you for sharing and have a great weekend!

Joan Nova January 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Welcome back! I look forward to your interpretations if they’re anything like this one. I think the combo of coconut, peanuts and brown sugar is perfect. I really like coconut but somehow never think about using it. I definitely have to expand my repertoire.

Diane {} January 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Looks fantastic and I LOVE coconut! Must have been a fabulous trip with all the coconut….yum!

Jamie January 22, 2011 at 4:13 am

This is so stunning and the photos are gorgeous! I think it is always so much more interesting to use new flavors in old favorites, instead of recreating dishes making the flavors your own. Fabulous tart and I do love the coconut! Gorgeous Ken, truly fabulous! And glad you are home and baking again! xo

Kate January 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm

This is such a beautiful post. The pictures and your description make me want to devour it!

Jackie January 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Wow, that looks phenomenal! I love peanuts, though, so that’s probably why I’m trying to reach into the computer screen and eat it! Note to self: technology does not taste as good as actual food!

Looking forward to seeing you in NYC soon =)

Jax x

Basia January 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

That is a stunning tart and gorgeous photographs. I am just curious, why animal crackers? Graham crackers too distinct a flavor? It looks great, coconut and peanut are a glorious combination.

hungryrabbit January 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Animal Crackers has a sturdier structure than graham cracker and a more neutral flavor that goes better with coconut.

hungryrabbit January 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm

By the way, I don’t have a particular Cookie Cookbook to recommend. I collect recipes all over plus develop my own as well.

Basia January 29, 2011 at 9:36 am

That’s what I do. Actually your recipes would make a great cookbook. Think about it!

I was looking for a cookbook with classic recipes for baking during the holidays. A pastry chef recommended “Baked Cookie”. I’ve tried Epicurious recipes and elsewhere on the internet but it’s hit or miss. I guess as an experienced baker you have a sense of what will work and what won’t. Your creations look great.

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