Did you see what I did there? C-N-Y. If you missed it, well, there you go.
Anyway, I baked Chinese almond cookies last night. My way of celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
I’ve loved coconut tarts since the first day I tasted them. Alan properly introduced me to them in Chinatown in London. We had a favourite Chinese bakery where we bought our char siu buns, cocktail buns and egg and coconut tarts. We called this bakery, the one with the pushy aunts because they were very…authoritative. To be honest, these Chinese aunties scared me! We’ve since then changed loyalties and we’ve found the perfect char siu buns from somewhere else, but after looking through at least 4 Chinese bakeries, one of my favourite things to order is the coconut tart. I love the flakiness of the pastry that they use on the tarts.
It is widely known that necessity is the mother of all invention. The trains to London are (to put it indelicately) buggered on the weekends until 22 March. So I can’t just zip into Chinatown and get some coconut tarts. Plus, Alan has been asking me to bake coconut tarts for a few weeks now. At first, they were very gentle, subtle hints. A couple of weeks ago, he asked me to bake them because he said my tarts were better than the store bought ones because I put more coconut in them! So, of course, I had to bake them!
I’ve almost always used store-bought puff pastry because it was more convenient. But as I am challenging my baking fears, I’ve been practicing my puff and rough-puff pastry making capabilities and flexing my muscles. I can bake shortcrust and sweet shortcrust pastry fairly well now, so this was a new challenge.
I think I’ve found a puff pastry recipe that I can manipulate and work to fit my needs. I’ve done a few tweaks to it so that it’s simple and relatively fool proof.
TIP: To use this pastry in a savoury recipe, replace the sugar with 1 tsp fine sea salt.
When you’re ready to fill your tarts, roll out the pastry to desired thickness and cut rounds to line muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Coconut tart filling: