Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart


Jean-Georges Vongerichten loves this tart from his friend Maya Gurley of Maya's Restaurant in St. Bart's. The soft custard filling and the caramelized shredded coconut topping have the creamy-crunchy texture of a coconut macaroon.

Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart
Photo: © Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
1 12-inch tart


Tart Shell

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water


  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and bean reserved for another use

  • 1 1/4 cups milk

  • 3 cups finely shredded fresh coconut (6 1/2 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

  • Kiwi, Banana and Passion Fruit Salad and vanilla ice cream, for serving

  • Freshly ground white pepper


  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with the ice water and stir lightly to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until thoroughly chilled.

  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the flour and vanilla seeds until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the custard into a medium bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard and let cool.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to a 15-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 12-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides. Cut off any excess dough. Freeze the tart shell for about 20 minutes, until firm.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the tart shell for about 20 minutes, until golden. Remove the foil and beans and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the shell is golden brown and crisp. Transfer the tart shell to a rack and let cool completely.

  5. Spread the custard in the tart shell in an even layer. In a large skillet, toss the shredded coconut with the brown sugar over moderately high heat, stirring, until the coconut becomes translucent, about 1 minute. Spread the shredded coconut over the custard in an even layer.

  6. Bake the tart for about 45 minutes, until the coconut is richly browned. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool to warm or room temperature. Cut the tart into wedges and transfer to plates. Spoon the Kiwi, Banana and Passion Fruit Salad alongside. Serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with white pepper.

Make Ahead

The tart pastry can be frozen for up to 1 month. The custard can be refrigerated overnight.

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