I have been out of commission the last several days with what would politely be called a stomach bug but was most probably some form of particularly nasty food poisoning. I have very bad luck with getting sick - I'd point out at this stage that it has never before been from my own doing - and am usually the one in the group who gets served the bad oyster or the contaminated sandwich. This latest round might or might not have been my doing, having tasted some uncooked batter in which I'd used eggs from chickens that hadn't been salmonella-protected. After that lick I realized it was risky, now I think it was plain stupid.
So woe is me, but now that I can look at food again, let's get back to the cooking (presuming you all still trust me around food).
The chocolate coconut tarts Marita Says chose for the last round of Hay Hay It's Donna Day made me sit up and say yes please. These seemed like a mature sort of coconut macaroon with the clever twist of turning the macaroon into the shell of the tart. I can never turn down, and often deliberately turn to, coconut macaroons, probably since it's one of the few things I remember my grandmother making for me. My mother spoke of her mother's macaroons in awe, telling me how my grandmother had learned the recipe in cooking school and that my mother was too intimidated to attempt them herself. It wasn't until I was older and thought of rectifying years of home-made macaroon deprivation that I realized how easy macaroons were to make and wondered why I had done without them for so long.
I made these as the dessert to please the kiddies when we played host to some toddlers a couple weeks back. The children absolutely loved them and did their best to consume the generous 5 mini-tarts I had placed on each of their plates (ignorant non-parent thinks: They'll never finish them all but let's give them some fun; in-the-know parents in the room think: Good god, this woman isn't fit to feed children).
It was, of course, wonderful to have the children be such eager consumers, particularly because these tarts were little buggers to make. The tip to wet your fingers with water in-between pressing the coconut into the muffin tins was essential: the egg-white coated coconut bits were indescribably sticky and the two dozen tarts took me the best part of an hour to make and did not leave me in a pleasant mood at the end. The threat of bad language continued once the baking of the tarts was done and I was supposed to remove the casing from them. All the extra moisture from pressing the coconut into the muffin paper sealed the paper layer and edible layer together in a horrible, anger-inducing immutable bond. After letting them set in the freezer and then relax in the fridge for several hours, the paper gave up its death grip on the tart and I was able to peel most of the casings away and feed it to small children without them accusing me of trying to poison them.
Once the agony was put aside, the tarts were excellent and an excellent new way to enjoy the simple pleasures of coconut and chocolate together - even if I did miss the submission date for the Donna Day event. For all the effort they took, though, I would be more tempted to enjoy some chocolate-dipped macaroons next time, and in fact plan on making some of those later this week.
Donna Hay Coconut Chocolate Tarts
For the shell:
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 cups dessicated coconut
For the filling:
- 1 and 1/4 cups cream (or soya cream)
- 300g dark chocolate, chopped
- (optional: 1 Tbs seedless raspberry jam)
- Preheat your oven to 180C /350F.
- Mix the egg whites, coconut and sugar well.
- Scoop the mixture into muffin tins and with wetted hands (works best this way) press it out to create a base and sides for a cup.
- Put into the oven at bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until it begins to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for one minute.
- Gently remove the cups from muffin tins and let it cool more.
- While this is happening, heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling.
- Remove from heat and throw in the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you have a decadent and rich looking chocolate liquid. If using jam, stir in at this point.
- Carefully, fill each cup with the liquid.
- Put the cups on a plate or tray in the freezer and leave it for 10 minutes or until set.
- When set, remove from the freezer.
- (If, as I did, you use paper muffin cups rather than tins and have trouble removing the paper from the shells, allow to sit in the freezer for longer and try to remove it after that)