From your first bite, you’ll be addicted to these coconut tartlets. Perfect crisp pastry with a soft, sweet and utterly delicious filling, these make such a gorgeous picnic, potluck or afternoon tea dessert.

If you love these, I just know you’ll love these jam tarts and coconut jam drops too.

A stack of coconut tartlets on a small wire rack.

Why you’ll love them

Almost like a mini coconut bakewell tart, these are made from scratch but it’s super simple stuff.

  • Perfect buttery, flaky pastry that practically melts in your mouth.
  • Strawberry jam (or choose your favourite).
  • Sweet and soft coconut frangipane topping.
  • Can be made ahead.
  • Perfectly portable.

These really are as delicious as they are adorable. The crisp pastry and soft filling are such a great textural contrast. Then the buttery flavour of the best pastry you’ll ever make works a treat with the sweet coconut filling.

Ready to make ‘em?

Tools you’ll need

Ingredients for coconut tartlets

These mini coconut tarts use just 8 ingredients and they’re all everyday things.

Ingredients for coconut tartlets on a marble surface.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Coconut: Fine desiccated coconut works best for these. It gives good coconut flavour and some texture but also keeps each bite of filling smoother than shredded coconut would.
  • Flour: Just plain flour / all-purpose flour is all you need here. It’s used mainly in the pastry but the filling also has a touch.
  • Jam: I use strawberry jam which works beautifully with coconut and is nice and sweet but use whatever you have on hand. Raspberry jam is another that goes really well with coconut.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter for these so the salt doesn’t overpower the filling.
  • Icing sugar: Icing sugar / powdered sugar is used in the pastry to keep it crisp.
  • White sugar: I use caster sugar, but you can also use regular white granulated sugar for the filling here.
  • Vanilla: I love to add a little pure vanilla extract to almost anything. It actually intensifies flavours and adds balance.
  • Eggs: Use large eggs, free-range if you can.

How to make them

If you’ve never made shortcrust pastry from scratch, here’s your chance to see just how simple it is and how much better it tastes. The filling takes about 1 minute to make.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make shortcrust pastry.

Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Make the pastry dough: Start by blitzing flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the butter is just very small pieces – almost like breadcrumbs. Add an egg yolk (photo 1) then slowly drizzle in water while blitzing until it starts clumping (photo 2).
  2. Roll the pastry: Roll the dough out to about 3mm thick between 2 sheets of baking paper (photo 3). Chill, then remove and cut out circles just slightly larger than the tops of your muffin tin holes (photo 4).

This homemade shortcrust pastry is adapted from my shortcrust pastry recipe and perfect for these tartlet shells. It’s crisp, flaky and super buttery – it practically melts in your mouth and tastes so much better than store bought. I urge you to make it from scratch and taste the difference.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make coconut tartlets.
  1. Form the tartlets shells: Press the pastry rounds gently into your muffin tin holes, making sure to press them into the corners (photo 5). Chill again, then prick the bases with a fork. Add cupcake cases into each of the tartlets shells and fill with rice (photo 6), then bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Make the filling: Beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, then add the desiccated coconut and flour (photo 7).
  3. Fill the tartlet shells: Add about 2 teaspoons of jam to the bottom of each tartlet shell, then top with the coconut mixture. Bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden.

That’s it. They really are simple to make and the hardest part is waiting for the chilling (which is very important).

A coconut tartlet broken in half and stacked one of top of the other.

Tips and tricks

  • Keep the pastry cold: When making pastry, it’s important to always keep it cold. When it warms, the butter melts and you won’t end up with flaky pastry.
    • Make sure the butter is cold before adding (I actually put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before).
    • Make sure the egg yolk is straight from the fridge and the water is cold (add ice if it’s from the tap but don’t add the ice to the dough).
  • Room temp filling: Different to the pastry, you want your filling ingredients at room temp. Take the butter and egg out of the fridge right before you start making anything.
  • Chill the dough: There are two steps where you’ll chill the dough for ½ an hour and I urge you not to skip this step. You won’t get crisp, flaky pastry without chilling it.
  • If you find the dough getting too sticky to work with, chill it a bit longer.
  • Adding pie weights: As these coconut tartlets shells are so small, I use rice instead of pie weights to weigh down the pastry on it’s first bake. Make sure to press the base of the cupcake case right down to the pastry. Filling with rice will stop the pastry from puffing up in the centre as it bakes.
  • Don’t overfill with jam: Tempting as it may be to add more jam, stick to 2-3 teaspoons. More than that and it will just bubble up the sides. Even if some does bubble up, don’t worry as it kind of caramelises and gets extra chewy and lovely.
  • Weigh the flour: I can’t say this enough, you’ll always get the best result from weighing your ingredients. The reason is, the amount of flour you’re adding will vary greatly depending on how you fill your cup measure. With weighing, it can’t go wrong. Kitchen scales are cheap, last a lifetime and save you washing up all your cup measures too.

How to store them

These coconut tartlets should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

They can also be frozen and are best wrapped individually. You can freeze them for up to 2 months.  

The shortcrust pastry can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen, wrapped well, for up to 2 months.

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Top down view of a stack of coconut tartlets on a small wire rack.

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A batch of coconut tartlets with one broken in half to show the jam centre.

Coconut Tartlets

5 from 1 vote
With a flaky, buttery pastry case, strawberry jam and sweet coconut filling, these coconut tartlets taste as beautiful as they look. The filling is soft and sweet and the perfect contrast to the buttery pastry. They’re a gorgeous tea-time dessert.

Ingredients

FOR THE PASTRY SHELL

  • 150 g plain (all purp) flour (1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons / 5.3oz)
  • 2 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar (25g / 0.9oz) (notes 1)
  • 85 g unsalted butter, cubed & chilled (¾ stick / 3oz)
  • 1 egg yolk, from a large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cold / iced water

FOR THE FILLING

  • cup strawberry jam
  • cup white granulated sugar (66g / 2.3oz)
  • 85 g unsalted butter, softened (¾ stick / 3oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup fine desiccated coconut (55g / 2oz)
  • 2 tablespoons plain (all purp) flour (30g / 1oz) (notes 1)

Equipment

Instructions
 

FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

  • Place the flour, icing sugar and chilled butter into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to a crumb-like texture. Pieces of butter should be visible but smaller than a grain of rice.
  • Add the egg yolk and blitz again until we’ll combined.
  • With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the water, just enough until it comes together into a dough.
  • Pull the pastry dough into a smooth ball. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick, then place on a tray or flat surface in the fridge to chill for ½ an hour. (Don't skip chilling)
  • Have a 12 hole muffin tin at the ready.
  • Using a circle cookie cutter just slightly larger than the opening of the muffin tin holes, cut out circles of dough. Carefully press each down into the muffin tin holes, gently pressing into the corners. Chill for another half an hour. (Don't skip chilling)
  • Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
  • Prick the bases of the tartlet shells a few times with a fork. Place a cupcake case or piece of baking paper into each, pressing it the pastry at the bottom, and fill with rice (or pie weights).
  • Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes then remove the cupcake cases and rice and set aside.

FOR THE FILLING

  • Spoon about 2 teaspoons of jam into the base of each tart shell.
  • In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric beater, beat together the granulated sugar, butter, egg and vanilla until creamy.
  • Beat in the coconut and flour until just combined.
  • Top the jam with the coconut filling, spreading it to the edges.
  • Bake a further 25-30 minutes until golden brown and dry on top. Turn the tray half way through baking.
  • Let them cool in the tin for ½ an hour before removing. To remove them, use your thumb and forefinger and pressing gently on opposite sides, slightly twist until you feel them start to spin. Now take an offset spatula or small knife to wedge down the side and lift.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens are different: The tart shells are ready when they are a light golden colour and dry to the touch. 
  4. Don’t skip the chilling time or you won’t get crisp, flaky pastry.
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