In my native South Africa, Afrikaans is one of the eleven official languages and is derived from the Dutch spoken by colonists who established a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope in the seventeenth century. Afrikaans is not merely a watered-down version of Dutch, but has evolved under the influence of other languages such as French, English, Portuguese, native African languages, and the Indonesian language spoken by slaves at the Cape. Many Indonesian words snuck into the Dutch language spoken by those inhabiting the Cape colony and were inherited into Afrikaans as “Dutch” words, even though their roots lie in Indonesia. An example of this is coconut which in Afrikaans is called klapper – derived from the Indonesian word for coconut kalapa (or kalepa).
This is a family coconut tart recipe – of Cape Malay descent. Typically, this recipe calls for the use of desiccated coconut, however, you could use fresh coconut shavings instead. An alternative tart you could also prepare is a typical South African apricot jam tart. The tart is best served warm, straight from the oven with a chewy golden crust on top, but can also be kept in an airtight container for a couple of days, or even frozen.
The coconut is the most important part of a coconut tart. To prepare it you will gently simmer together on a medium to high heat, the desiccated coconut, granulated sugar, water, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and salt in a small saucepan. The mixture needs to come to a boil, stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated and the coconut becomes glazed and sticky. This sticky coconut is so delicious you could eat it just like this on its own or as a crepe filling.
Sweet & Sticky Coconut Tart
- one cup of desiccated coconut (or fresh coconut shavings)
- one cup of granulated sugar
- three quarters of a cup of water
- three cardamom pods, dried (or one teaspoon of ground cardamom)
- two sticks of cinnamon, dried (or one teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
- a pinch of salt
- one portion of puff pastry
- egg, beaten for egg wash
In a small saucepan, gently simmer together on a medium to high heat, the desiccated coconut, granulated sugar, water, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until you the water has evaporated and the coconut becomes glazed and sticky. The coconut mixture should be dry, not watery.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool - stirring occasionally to keep the coconut from sticking to the pan . Before using the mixture remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks.
Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface and from the edges cut roughly eight strips, about one centimeter wide, leaving a square piece of pastry left to fit in a round pie or tart greased dish.
Fill the pastry with the coconut mixture and place four strips down and four strips across the coconut mixture, pressing down the edges of the pastry.
Brush the pastry generously with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at two hundred degrees celsius for twenty five to thirty minutes, or until the coconut filling has set in the center and is turning golden brown.
Alternatively, fill the pastry with the marmalade of your choice and decorate with strips of pastry.