This decorative tart goes well with ice cream and makes a good dinner party dessert. The coconut is naturally oily, which helps to preserve the tart for a few days.
Make the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, recipe follows, leaving to chill for 30 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch tart pan with the pastry dough, and bake 'blind'.
Cook's Note: Blind Baking. To pre-bake a pastry shell before adding filling, first chill the pastry, and then line your pan. Line the pastry with foil, parchment or greaseproof paper, leaving plenty to come up the sides. Fill with baking beans (alternatively, for a really smooth finish use plastic wrap to line the pastry: place 2 sheets over the pastry, add the beans and bring the edges into the center.) Whichever method you choose, bake 'blind' in a 350 degree F, oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry feels dry.
Remove the paper and beans, brush with a little leftover beaten egg and return to the oven for 2 minutes. If there are any little holes or cracks in the pastry, just patch it up with any leftover raw pastry before you return it to the oven. Remove from the oven and set aside in the tin while you make the filling. The pastry can be baked a day in advance and kept covered until you need it.
For the filling: whisk the eggs, caster sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the desiccated coconut and the melted butter, and mix well. Pour the filling into the cooked pastry crust, and bake in the oven until it is golden brown and just set in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cook's Note: Sometimes I turn the oven down to 325 degrees F, after about 30 minutes, if it has already turned a good golden brown and I don't want it any darker.
Remove the tart from the oven, and let stand in the pan for about 10 minutes before carefully removing and allowing to cool on a wire rack. Dust the tart with icing sugar to serve.
Coconut and raspberry tart: As an alternative to the ground cinnamon in this recipe, I sometimes spread 1 generous tablespoon of raspberry jam onto the baked pastry base before pouring in the coconut filling.
Place the flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor and whiz or pulse briefly. Add half the beaten egg and continue to whiz. You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together.
If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring the dough together. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough, until it is about 3/4-inch thick, and then wrap in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag, and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Makes 1 crust (about 14 ounces).