Nothing can be more thrilling than coming home with a bag of freshly harvested paw paw fruit. As soon as I picked them up, my creative juices started flowing. What recipe should I create to use these precious paw paws? Due to their rich custardy texture, I reasoned that they would make a fantastic choice for a light and fruity tart/pie filling. Tada! You’ll be amazed when you try these adorable mini coconut paw paw tarts.
The pleasant aroma of those green paw paws is a sweet reminder that the most colorful season in Michigan is here. Besides the aroma, its tropical taste is best enjoyed when eaten raw (cooked paw paw may cause nausea or stomach discomfort). My three-year-old son, Leo, announces each time we pass by our neighbor’s house: “This is the house where we picked up the bags of paw paws!” Thank you neighbor.
If you have noticed, I don’t have many pie and tart recipes on this blog. Why? Until now it’s been a challenge dealing with delicate pie dough. If you have also had this experience, you may find that it’s super easy to make these mini tarts. Almost no skill is required and no more frustration.
I found this gluten-free pie crust recipe from Nicole that uses vegan butter to make it vegan. After making the pie dough, I divided the dough into small portions. It fit my fluted mini tart tins perfectly. You can just use your fingers and push the dough to fit in the tins. It’s more like playing with play dough than pie crust. Fun!
When your preparing the paw paw filling, you want to be sure not to cook or bake it. First boil a can of full fat coconut milk with agar agar noodles (available in Asian grocery stores) and stevia. Then, cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap allowing it to touch the coconut milk filling surface. This will prevent it from forming a skin-like surface when it cools in refrigerator.
Last year, I made lots of delicious paw paw smoothies for the first time. This is where I gained the ability to easily separate the flesh from the skin and seeds of the paw paw fruit. I then blend the paw paw flesh with the completely cooled coconut milk filling and pipe it in the baked/cooled tart crusts. Now, you can add any topping to decorate these appealing coconut paw paw tarts.
I guarantee, you will want to grab a handful after trying just one. These mini coconut paw paw tarts are perfect bite-size desserts for parties. With all the alluring tropical flavors, no one can stop at eating just one. Better yet, they are vegan, gluten-free, and low in sugar.
- 2 cups All-purpose gluten-free flour (see note)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (112 grams) Smart Balance Dairy-free Butter, chilled
- ½ to ⅔ cup iced water
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full fat coconut milk
- 5 grams agar agar noodles (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut sugar
- 200 grams paw paw pulps
- 2 tablespoons vegan mini chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shredded organic coconut flakes, unsweetened
- Boil all ingredients except the paw paw pulps in a saucepan. Whisk continuously to dissolve the agar agar noodles. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the coconut filling into a clean glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap with the wrap touching the coconut milk filling surface. This will prevent it from forming a skin-like surface when it cools in refrigerator. Let the coconut filling cool completely in refrigerator for 1.5 hours.
- Whisk all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and break the butter into smaller pieces with your fingers. Gently incorporate the butter with the flour mix. Add water and mix. It should form a soft ball at this point.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Evenly divide the dough into 25 pieces. Approximately 15 grams for each piece. Place each piece into a mini tart tin and use your fingers to shape each piece that fits inside the tin. Use a fork to gently poke a few holes on the bottom of each piece of dough. Let the prepared tart tin chill for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Bake the prepared tart tins for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them completely cool to room temperature. Transfer tart crusts out from the tins and set aside.
- Bake the coconut flakes in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the chilled coconut filling into a blender. Blend with the paw paw pulps until smooth.
- Fill a pastry bag with the coconut paw paw filling and pipe into the cooled tart crusts. Sprinkle chocolate chips and coconut flakes to garnish.
- You can enjoy the mini tart at this point. Letting them set in refrigerator will make the filling stiffer.
2. The agar agar noodles may be available in Asian grocery stores.