Coconut tarts

You’ve heard all about the Hong Kong egg custard tart but what about the coconut tart, that other staple of the Chinese bakery?  Fragrant and chewy with an adorable cherry on top, the coconut tart is one of my absolute must-buy cakes when I go to Chinatown.

coconut tarts

I found a simple recipe for them on a Dutch English-language Asian food blog and you can see the results of today’s baking for yourself.  They’re not as yellow and glazed as the ones you buy in the shops but the taste is pretty good.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

Ingredients (makes 10)

For sweet shortcrust pastry

  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water

For coconut filling

  • 150g desiccated coconut
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk

For glaze

  • 1 egg yolk (I didn’t use the yolk on my tarts today because my parents are very cholesterol-conscious)
  • half tbsp melted butter


Make the shortcrust pastry first.  Rub the flour, sugar, salt and butter together with your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs or sand.  Add the yolk and water – it’s very important that this water is really really ice cold.  Knead into a smooth dough.  Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes – this makes the dough much easier to roll out and work with later.

Next make the filling.  Mix the desiccated coconut and butter with your fingers until thoroughly blended together.  Then stir in the condensed milk and yolk with a spoon.

Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface and cut out circles big enough to line your tart cases or bun tin.  Don’t forget to grease the cases or tin first!  Spoon in the filling.  You can gently smooth the tops to neaten the mounds of filling but don’t pack it down hard.

Bake at 175C for 25 minutes.

Brush the glaze mixture over the tarts as soon as they come out of the oven and decorate with glacé cherries.

Perhaps next time I’ll try reducing the amount of coconut and condensed milk and adding some flour to the filling mixture instead to give the tarts a more cakey texture.  But for now, bon appétit!


3 thoughts on “Coconut tarts

  1. Hey All,

    Glad y’all are talking about one of my favorite food things in the world…
    If you like egg custard tarts as found in HK you gotta try ’em from the original source-Macau, specifically the Portuguese settlers and their diaspora. Brought to HK in the early 20th century, these became a dim sum staple served worldwide.
    Derived from the Portuguese “Pasteis De Natas”, my family has recipes going back to the 1890’s. Since the early 1980’s Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane is keeping the flame on this tradition. These egg custard tarts are served warm and with a slightly carmelized browned top. Once you’ve had the originals there is no substitute.

    making me hungry just thinking ’bout ’em…….

    • Yep, I love egg custard tarts – did you see my attempt at baking them here? Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Macau yet but you can bet that eating custard tarts will be my priority when I do! And, yes, the Portuguese pastel de nata is delicious – share those family recipes!

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