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Recipe courtesy of Rosa Ross

Coqueira (Coconut Tartlets)

These tiny coconut tarts were an integral part of every party, particularly at birthdays and weddings. The Macanese embraced the fruit of the East, coconut, and used it in many ways. It plays a starring role in many desserts. The tarts were always made in a small and dainty size, which added to their elegance. It is best to use small tart pans, measuring about 2 inches in diameter. Disposable aluminum tart molds also work well, but remember, the tarts are best small and dainty, so get the smallest you can find, around 1 1/2-inch diameter.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 24 tartlets
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Ingredients

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon sugar 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 stick unsweetened butter 

1 whole egg 

Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water 

A few drops fresh lemon juice 

2 cups shredded coconut, fresh or packaged (such as Angel Flake)

2 egg yolks, reserving egg whites 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Special equipment:
twenty-four 1 1/2-to-2-inch tart molds
  1. For the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the egg and pulse until the mixture is just wet. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead with the palm of your hand until the pastry just holds together. Do not overwork or the dough will toughen. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer, until the dough is well chilled. Dough may be refrigerated for several days, or frozen for later use.
  2. For the filling: Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is melted and the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut. Add the yolks and vanilla, blending well. Set aside to cool.
  3. Dust a clean work surface with flour. Divide the dough in half. One half at a time, roll out the dough as thinly as possible. Cut 12 rounds. Line 12 tartlet molds. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the molds on a baking sheet and chill at least 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If available, place an empty tartlet mold on top of each dough-lined mold. Or top with parchment and add pie weights.
  5. Bake until the dough shells are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. While hot, remove the weights and brush the shells with the reserved egg whites. Fill each shell with coconut filling, mounding slightly. Bake until the top of the filling is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. 

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