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baking Portuguese
Teresa’s Coconut Custard Tarts

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


I first saw these delicate-looking tartlets in Soajo, Portugal, in Teresa’s shop. The shells were made of puff pastry and, on top of the dense, deliciously eggy custard filling, there was a thin, pale brown, crisp crust. How was it done? I wondered. It took watching Teresa after-hours in the bakery for me to discover her secret. Unlike the egg tart filling, this filling isn’t cooked ahead, but just sets as the tarts bake in the oven.

Yield: Makes 12 puff pastry tartlets, filled with egg custard, topped with a fine crisp coconut crust


  • ½ recipe (¾ pound) Rough Puff, or ¾ pound store-bought all-butter puff pastry
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground dried shredded coconut (see Note)
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting


Set out one 12-cup or two 6-cup muffin tins.

Cut the chilled puff pastry into 3 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the remaining pastry loosely covered with plastic in the refrigerator.

On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the pastry with a well-floured rolling pin. Then roll it out as thin as possible to about a 10-inch square. (The dough may resist or spring back; if it does, begin working on another piece and let the first one rest for several minutes.)

Using a plate or a pot lid as a guide, with a very sharp knife, cut out four 5-inch circles of pastry. Place each over a muffin cup and press down lightly so the pastry slides into place; it may not come completely to the top of the cup. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry. Wrap the muffin tin(s) in plastic and place in the freezer until just before using.

Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

To prepare the filling, place the eggs in the bowl of a mixer, or another large bowl, and beat at medium speed for about a minute. Gradually add the sugar, then beat at medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Add the flour and salt and beat for 30 seconds. Add the coconut and beat briefly, about 20 seconds.

Pour the filling mixture into the frozen tart shells, filling them about two-thirds full. Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar, and let stand for 15 minutes undisturbed.

Once the oven has preheated, place a baking sheet on the rack. Wait another 10 minutes before placing the tarts in the oven on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are a light golden brown. Wearing oven mitts, care fuly tip the tarts out onto a rack to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

The tarts remain delicious for 2 to 3 days. If keeping for longer than 12 hours, seal in plastic and keep in a cool place or in the refrigerator.


If you really love coconut, once the tarts have cooled, sprinkle a little soft grated coconut on top.

© 2003 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Serving size is 1 puff pastry tartlet. Nutritional information does not include Rough Puff or Confectioners' sugar for dusting. For nutritional information on Rough Puff, please follow the link above.

102kcal (5%)
10mg (1%)
0mg (0%)
23mcg RAE (1%)
71mg (24%)
48mg (2%)
1g (6%)
3g (4%)
0mg (2%)

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