The bottom is a shortbread crust and the middle is a smooth custard with rum and coconut. It is all topped with chopped cashew nuts. In reviewing several recipes, they do use coconut milk in the custard, which is the accepted standard. For those of you looking for a blast of coconut, note that these bars have only a subtle flavor of coconut.
They are a tasty stack of layers. The sweet buttery pastry crust is a nice base for the silky custard. The custard has notes of rum and a bit of chew from the coconut. Also, regarding flavor and texture, the cashew crunch on top does so much more for the custard than the standard coconut topping that you get with a pie.
Also, please note that I will be on holiday from 11/22 thru 11/29. I have someone that will be releasing posts that I have in edit mode. However, since I will be unavailable to comment or answer any questions, my comments will be closed at noon CST on 11/22 and opened back up at noon CST on 11/29. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Coconut Custard Bars
adapted from The Good Cookie Cookbook
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 tsp cold water
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, cut into cubes
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan and line bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on each side.
Sift together flour and salt. Then whisk in sugar. Using a pastry cutter, blend in butter cubes until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dough and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat together water, egg yolk and vanilla extract until completely blended. Pour into dough and mix with a wooden spoon until dough forms a smooth clump and no dry streaks remain.
Press dough into bottom of pan, making sure it reaches all corners and has an even thickness. Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until it has a golden hue. Remove and let cool completely in pan before filling.
Ingredients/Filling & Topping
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 tbs dark rum
1 egg yolk
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs flour
pinch of salt
1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup toasted cashew nuts, chopped (salted or unsalted, your preference)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the shredded coconut of the cooled pastry crust.
Then place the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Using a wire whisk, blend the ingredients until smooth. Then add 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and blend with the wire wisk. Continue adding the coconut milk in 1/4 cup increments and whisking after each addition until no more milk remains. Then stir in the flour, vanilla extract, rum and salt.
Holding a sieve over the pan with the crust and coconut, pour the filling into the sieve. Move the sieve around so the filling falls in more than one area of the crust. You do not want all the coconut to float to the outer edges, so moving it keeps this from happening. The filling should cover the whole top of the crust. Lastly, sprinkle the cashews evenly over the top.
Bake for 25-40 minutes or until the filling is set. Mine took about 35 minutes. Remove pan and let cool completely. Then slide a knife between the bars and the pan on the sides without parchment. Lift bars out of pan and place on platter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting and serving. Bars should be refrigerated for storing.
**LAST YEAR: Whole Grain Mustard Rolls**