Piña Colada Custard Tarts (or Pies)

The fifth signature of Bake Off 2019 was to make 4 elaborately decorated custard pies. We saw David impress with his simple but perfect custard pies which saw him earn the second Hollywood Handshake of the series meanwhile Helena and Michelle left the tent in a highly controversial decision. I decided to combine the showstopper challenge with the signature challenge and came up with my Piña Colada Custard Pies (or Tarts).

The showstopper challenge saw the bakers make a two-tiered cocktail cake and four of the bakers chose to take inspiration from the piña colada cocktail, which is made from rum, coconut cream or milk and pineapple juice. I also took inspiration from this cocktail and came up with this recipe. My tarts have a coconut shortcrust pastry filled with coconut and rum custard and topped with caramelised rum pineapple and toasted desiccated coconut. And yes I have called them a tart; the official challenge name is custard pies but to me, a custard pie would be completely covered such as a lemon meringue pie whereas these are open-topped so they are tarts to me!

The custard contains coconut milk as you would expect but also condensed milk which adds extra sweetness and creaminess, leaving a super smooth and silky custard filling. I add the rum just before the custard is ready to go into the blind baked tart shells just to prevent the alcohol ‘cooking’ the eggs which would make the custard lumpy. Another tip is to pull the oven rack out slightly and rest the baking tray on it and to pour the custard into the tart cases on the tray so you don’t have to move the whole tray into the oven and risk spilling the custard.

Check out my video guide on making my Piña Colada Custard Tarts below:

For the coconut shortcrust pastry:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 20g granulated sugar
  • 10g desiccated coconut
  • 85g margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tsp cold water

For the coconut and rum custard:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 240ml coconut milk
  • 60g condensed milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

For the caramelised rum pineapple:

  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 150g fresh pineapple, soaked in salt water and cut into thin slices
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

For the decoration:

  • 25g desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry frying pan
  • 25g dark chocolate, melted
  • Cacao nibs

For the pastry, combine the plain flour, sugar and desiccated coconut in a bowl. Rub the margarine with the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and bring together the pastry into a dough. Flatten out into a disc and cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin on a lightly floured surface. Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces and line 4 loose-bottomed fluted tart tins with the pastry, making sure they take the shape of the tin. Run the rolling pin over the flutes to trim off the excess pastry. Press the sides of the pastry up slightly so that they are thinner. Repeat with all the pastry. If you are using straight-edged tart tins, place 2 strips of baking parchment in a cross shape so that the tart lifts out easily. Chill the tarts for 15 minutes to relax the pastry.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, coconut milk, condensed milk and vanilla extract, whisking until it is just combined, avoiding frothing up the mixture. When the custard is ready to go into the tart, then add the dark rum. You can transfer to a measuring jug to make the pouring into the tart cases easier.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Place the tart tins on a baking tray and use a fork to prick holes in the pastry on the base. Then line the inside of the tart shells with foil squares and fill with with rice or lentils or baking beans to weight it down. Blind bake the tarts for about 12 minutes. Then carefully remove the foil and rice before returning the tarts to the oven for 10 minutes until the top edges are golden and the base is cooked through.

Open the oven door, pull out the rack and tray slightly and turn the oven down to 150˚C. Fill the baked tart cases with the custard mixture, going as high as possible without spilling over. Carefully push the oven rack back into the oven, avoiding spilling the custard and bake the custard tarts for about 25 to 30 minutes until the tarts have a small about of wobble in the centre. Leave the tarts to cool in the tins for about 20 minutes before lifting out the tins to a cooling rack.

For the caramelised rum pineapple, melt the margarine in a frying pan over a medium heat and add in the sliced pineapple. After a few minutes, add the sugar and the rum and continue cooking the pineapple until it is soft and has begun to take on some colour. Set aside on a plate to cool down.

To assemble the tarts, place the melted dark chocolate in a piping bag and cut off a small hole from the end. Drizzle multiple lines of chocolate backwards and forwards slightly off centre. Sprinkle on some cacao nibs and the toasted desiccated coconut on top of the chocolate. Place 3 of the pineapple slices perpendicular to the chocolate and sprinkle the whole tart with more desiccated coconut – see photos for some guidance! Serve the tarts on their own or with a scoop of ice cream for a great dessert.

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