chocolate coconut tarts and the drama of making them

Chocolate Coconut Tarts
Chocolate Coconut Tarts
Most of the time I talk about the psychology of eating food. Today though, is all about the psychology of actually making food. Never in my life have I gone through a more painful process than making these chocolate coconut tarts. Oh they were good alright but you have to wonder how much better they tasted just because of all the effort that went into them.
Let me tell you a little story about some chocolate coconut tarts. These very chocolate coconut tarts you are looking at.
They started first thing in the morning, before breakfast. I made the coconut cream filling, adapted from Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Bakery. That was probably the only part that actually went smoothly.
Then I made tried making what was supposed to be a heavenly milk chocolate mousse. I melted the chocolate, whipped some egg whites, beat some yolks and folded the works together. It looked a bit runny but I figured it would set up in the fridge. Nope, that’s a lie. I knew that no matter how long it sat in the fridge, it wasn’t going to set. But I held on to that inkling of hope that for some miraculous reason, it would prove me wrong. Well folks, when your gut is telling you something, you better listen to it.
Anyways we went out for the day, walked around Canmore, took some nature pictures. Actually over 100 nature pictures. Ate lunch, yada, yada. Back to continue tart construction.
Plan b), let’s fold some whipped cream into the soupy mousse (over 7 hours later and still not set) to tighten it up. Hmm…still looks like frothy chocolate milk. But maybe, just maybe, it will firm up. Or not.
The mousse went down the drain (literally). Time for plan c). Milk chocolate ganache. Melt some chocolate, mix it with whipping cream. Easy peasy. Cue chocolate seizing. But you can pipe seized chocolate right? As it turns out, you can’t. You can dig through the garbage to find the 3 piping bags I wasted to show for it.

Chocolate Coconut Tarts

Getting a little annoyed now but we’ll try plan d). Mix together about equal parts coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Basically a vegan chocolate ganache. Let’s try piping that on top. Great, now we have a tart that looks like it was constructed by a five year old. I don’t even think my mom ranked it that high, actually I’m pretty sure she likened it to the creation of a 3 year old. Beauty.
Now for the fun part, scraping the little chocolate coconut turds off the top of the tarts. At this point I’m at least an hour and a half into tart making session #2. Getting a little desperate. Plan e) better work or I’m done. Caramel sauce. Of all things, I cannot possibly fail at caramel sauce.
I know you are expecting me to say that I failed at the caramel sauce. But alas, it worked!
And that’s my story. If at first you do not succeed, try, try again. Or in this case, try, try, try, try, try again.
Oh yeah, then I spent at least an hour taking pictures.
There you have it, the all day chocolate coconut tarts. Did I mention I only made 2?
Chocolate Coconut Tarts

I guess the biggest question we are all asking ourselves is, why? Well maybe you aren’t but I definitely am. And the simple, if not obvious answer is, because I like chocolate. But more to the point, I persevered because I am an obsessive, perfectionist weirdo when it comes to food. It may not always be the healthiest attitude but I have high standards, especially in the cooking department. If it’s not restaurant quality, why bother? Meanwhile everyone else is asking, can we just eat already? Luckily you have some leeway when you are the one doing the cooking. So spend as much time making things exactly the way you want them to be. If you aren’t happy with the final product, no one else will be. Which is a complete lie because when you feed people, 99% of the time they will eat it, no questions asked. More aptly, if you aren’t happy with the final product, you better do something to fix it. Because if you are anything like me, you will stew over those little imperfections and they will drive you crazier than making the food did in the first place. It puts a whole new meaning into “The Joy of Cooking”, doesn’t it?

Chocolate Coconut Tarts
Chocolate Coconut Tarts

Chocolate Coconut Tarts
Serves 2


1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
2-3 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Stir together to form a wet, sandy mixture. Divide the crust evenly between 2 mini tart shells and press it into the base, into the corners and up the sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before filling.

Coconut Pudding
Adapted from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 egg
1 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. coconut oil

Bring the coconut milk and coconut to a boil over medium high heat. Meanwhile whisk together the egg, flour and sugar. Once the coconut milk mixture reaches the boil, gradually temper it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return everything to the pot and cook over medium heat until the pudding begins to bubble, whisking constantly. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Then remove the pudding from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Place this bowl in a sink filled with ice water to help cool down the pudding as quickly as possible. Once it has cooled at least to room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap (directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin) and refrigerate until completely chilled before filling the tart shells.

Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream

Put the sugar in a small pot with a splash of water (just a couple tablespoons). Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Don’t stir it. Allow the sugar to dissolve, swirling the pot occasionally to help it along. Continue to cook on high until the sugar caramelizes. Once it achieves a rich, brown colour, remove it from the heat and add the cream, stirring with a wooden spoon to mix it in. Allow the caramel to cool slightly before drizzling it over the tarts.

To assemble:

Fill each tart shell with coconut pudding (I left them in the molds as they were quite delicate). Drizzle caramel sauce on top of the pudding. Eat up!

2 thoughts on “chocolate coconut tarts and the drama of making them

  • September 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Hmmm…only two? So Addie and your dad got none?

    • September 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Haha nope I got one, my mom didn’t want one and my dad and Addi split one. My mom and I were out in Canmore for the weekend by ourselves, hence only 2.


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