Coconut custard tarts

Here’s another recipe from the Dairy-Free Delicious cookbook, for irresistible coconut custard tarts. Portuguese custard tarts (pastéis de nata), are one of life’s greatest little pleasures. But since going dairy-free I’ve had to stare longingly at them through bakery windows…

Until I stopped moping and made my own. I’ve taken a tip from baking guru Richard Bertinet here, and dusted the worktop with icing sugar – it really gives the pastry a sweet edge. These are the custard tarts tested by Delicious Magazine for their lovely review of the book. Just to note that the custard should be pretty thick – keep stirring and it will thicken up eventually!

Coconut custard tarts

Makes 12

Lightly dust your work surface with the icing sugar and roll out the puff pastry block to a thickness of around 5mm. Cut out 12 circles
using a 10-cm round cookie cutter. Press these into the holes of the prepared muffin tray. Prick the bottoms of each case lightly with a fork then put the tray in the fridge to chill while you make the coconut custard. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and stir in the vanilla extract. Heat until
simmering over a low-medium heat, removing it just when it starts to bubble around the edges of the pan; don’t let it boil.

Pour onto the egg and sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk to combine. Once you’ve got a smooth custard, return it to the pan and cook over a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until pretty thick – be patient, this will take a little while.

Remove the muffin tray from the fridge and pour the custard into the 12 pastry cases. Use a small, fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle a little
cinnamon over the tops of the custards. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the custard is set.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2 minutes in the tin before transferring the tarts to a wire rack to cool. To get the tarts out
of the tin, use a dinner knife to go round the edges of each half, then twist to lift up the bottom (and don’t worry if a few flakes of pastry fall
away or stay behind, it won’t impact on the tarts’ deliciousness). Best eaten when still slightly warm.

Dairy-Free Delicious by Katy Salter (Quadrille, £18.99) is out now. All photography: Laura Edwards

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 500g block of ready-made puff pastry (NOT the all-butter kind)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/ 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12-hole muffin tray generously greased with dairy-free spread

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