Coconut and Berry Passover Tart

With Passover around the corner I was, of course, in charge of dessert.  My standby Passover dessert has always been matzoh candy but I wanted to step it up a little this year.  I’m pretty picky with Passover desserts (shocking, I know), and wanted to find something that didn’t taste “matzoh-y” and that I’d want to eat all year round – if you are not familiar with the holiday, this is not an easy feat.

Enter my work trip to the Martha Stewart Show last week.  Thankfully, because of a little drama prior to the taping, we received extra-large goody bags, including the new cookbook – “Martha Stewart’s  Pies & Tarts Cookbook.”  According to her producer, pies and tarts are going to be the next cupcakes, and I was intrigued.  To my surprise, the first page I opened to was the Coconut Berry Passover tart!  It was Jewish-dessert fate.

I was a bit nervous because the tart looked a little more “impressive” than most of my creations, but it was surprisingly easy to make (taking it out of the pie pan was another story, but I won’t go into that).  It was a big hit at the seder, and I’d definitely eat it all year.  The almond/coconut/fruit combination made it seem very light and summery.

Coconut and Berry Passover Tart (makes one 9-inch tart, fed an 11-person seder)

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

For the crust

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch (true Passover enthusiasts can substitute arrowroot)
  • 2 tablespoons almond paste
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup soy cream cheese (Tofutti works best)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 4 cups mixed fresh berries; I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
1.  Make the crust: Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine coconut, sugar, egg whites, vanilla and salt.  Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round fluted tart pan. 
2. Make the filling: Scrape vanilla seeds into a small saucepan, and add pod.  Stir in almond milk and 2 tablespoons sugar, and bring to a boil.  In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.  Add hot almond milk mixture in a slow, steady stream whisking until combined.  Return to pan, and whisk over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes.   Return to pan, and whisk over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Discard vanilla pod.

3.  With an electric mixer on medium, beat almond milk mixture and almond paste 5 minutes.  Beat in almond flour and soy cream cheese.  With an offset spatula spread mixture evenly over crust.  Bake 15 minutes.  Cover edges with a foil ring (see below for more on this).  Bake until set, 15-25 minutes more.

4. Let tart cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Unmold.  In a small saucepan, heat jam until loose.  With an offset spatula, spread jam evenly over tart.  Arrange berries on top, and serve.

What is a foil ring? A foil ring protects a crust’s edges from browning too quickly.  Press a piece of foil onto an empty pie plate to shape; trim the outer edge and cut out the center to make a ring that’s about 2 inches wide.

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