Kitchen redemption at last: Coconut Custard Tart

Lack of inspiration. Unripened fruit. Overcooked cabbage. Boo-boo. Lumpy custard. Sunken cake. Misread recipes. Gritty rice. Burnt beans. Disaster. Why haven’t I blogged in so long, you ask?

I could tell you that I haven’t blogged in ages because I have my final exam for my final subject in my final semester in a week’s time, but that would be a lie. I haven’t posted because a) I haven’t had any culinary adventures worth sharing, and b) those that I anticipated would be bloggable were not. It’s humbling being reminded that I’m just as prone to kitchen catastrophe as anyone else, whether I take pretty pictures of my food and share my recipes or not. Thankfully, the bad luck gremlin has finally had his fill and has left my kitchen. Today I have a recipe for you that is so delicious, you’ll be making it again and again. Its theme song is Tubthumping; it’s name, Coconut Custard Tart.

Before we get to the recipe, do you remember when I said I would be buying something new and different each week from Redfern Fruit Market, and trying it? Well I have been. I’ve tried plaintains (yum!), taro (YUM!), yam (meh),  longan (yum!), white asparagus (meh), tamarillo (ick), fresh almonds (interesting), and now black sapote. Otherwise known as chocolate pudding fruit, this round squishy ball of goodness looks like a green tomato or persimmon. On the sticker it said “when soft, chill and eat”. I judged it as being ‘soft’ – by the standards of an avocado, so I sliced it up and added some honey to make it palatable, as it was tough and oddly sour tasting. It gave me a stomach ache all afternoon.

Then I Googled it. For future reference, a ripe black sapote is a deep khaki green, and so soft that you can’t even touch it without leaving imprints in the skin. To be honest, it looks like Shrek’s rotten cousin. So when I was picking up fruit’n’veg supplies on my way to work last week, I bought one that looked just so, and tried it. Kale almighty, it’s amazing. Creamy like avocado but lighter and subtly sweet. It didn’t taste like chocolate, but it looked very much like a dark chocolate pudding. Apparently its quite good for you, which isn’t surprising given it’s vivid colour (usually a good indicator of nutrient-packed produce). If you can get your hands on one, buy it. But don’t eat it until it’s so ripe that it looks scary.

Isn’t it exciting when the weather warms up and the shops fill up with luscious exotic fruit? It’s my favourite time of year. Aside from the weird and wonderful black sapote, cheap ripe stone fruits are appearing. And do you know what this means? MANGOS!

After a dinner of satay vegetable skewers (remember this sauce?) with a sesame soy Asian salad, we had these coconut custard tarts with sliced fresh mango. Crumbled on top was a vegan Anzac biscuit – Ash’s Mum baked a batch for us. Such a summery dinner!

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the tarts are low calorie or even particularly healthy. But as far as custard tarts go, they are better than most on the nutritional scale. And much more delicious, if I may say so myself. The crust is very simple – a classic vegan combination of processed nuts and dried fruit. Ash said that it reminded him both of his muesli bars and of the hedgehog slice I posted recently. We all agreed that it was good.

Coconut Custard Tarts  (serves 3-4, depending on the size of your ramekins)

I’ve used custard powder here, just the Homebrand one. It’s vegan, but if you don’t have any, substitute with cornflour and perhaps a dash of vanilla. It won’t have that yellow custard colour, but given that the colouring is fake anyway that’s probably a good thing. I just used it because I’ve had some sitting in the pantry since who-knows-when.

For those not in Australia or not familiar with Anzac biscuits, it’s a golden syrup, rolled oat biscuit that is similar to a butternut snap. It’s also the best biscuit you’ll ever taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nuts (I used half walnuts, half almonds)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I used half dates, half sultanas)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 tbsp custard powder
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar/honey/agave
  • fresh mango, sliced
  • 1 Anzac biscuit, optional

Method:

  1. Process the nuts and dried fruit in a food processor until it holds together when you pinch it. Press into ramekins lined with cling-wrap or baking paper. Refrigerate.
  2. Stir milks, custard powder and sugar together in a saucepan until the custard powder is dissolved (no lumps!), then stir over a medium heat until it starts to thicken. Keep stirring to stop it from turning lumpy until it’s quite thick. Remove from heat and immediately pour into tart crusts.
  3. Refrigerate until set and serve with sliced mango or any other fruit, and a little of the the Anzac biscuit crumbled on top.

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