Gizzada - Jamaican Coconut & Brown Sugar Tarts


Even after so many years cooking it is so lovely to keep learning new tricks and techniques. I was really impressed with the traditional Jamaican method of making these lovely stand alone tart shells, they save you needing to have lots of mini tart pans around the house - plus you don't have to wash up all the pans! They make such a lovely little star shaped tart and are so beautiful filled with this traditional Jamaican filling of coconut and brown sugar.


Gizzada - Jamaican Coconut and Brown Sugar Tarts

Ingredients
Pastry:
2 cups flour (I prefer wholemeal), + extra for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp margarine (or vegan butter)
2 cups iced water

Filling:
1 coconut, flesh grated (makes between 3 and 4 cups fresh grated coconut)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp margarine (or vegan butter)

To Make
1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl or food processor. Cut margarine into small pieces into the flour. Rub with fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (or, if using a food processor, simply pulse a few times until mixture resembles the same). 
2. Add ice water a little at a time while you mix (or process) until there is enough liquid for the dough to start to form into a ball. Once the dough is wet enough to stick together in a ball but not so sticky that it sticks to your fingers when you touch it, it is enough liquid. Once you've reached this stage form your dough into a nice smooth ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. While the pastry is in the fridge, make the filling. First, grate the coconut either using a special coconut grater or by cracking open the coconut into as many pieces as you can and then gently prising the pieces away from the skin (the flesh will have one brown edge, don't worry - that's fine). Once you have it in pieces you can grate it on a standard box or plane grater. 
4. Combine the sugar and water in a pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until it starts to thicken slightly (between 5 and 10 minutes). Once it has thickened a bit add the grated coconut, nutmeg and allspice. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes and then add the margarine. Continue to cook until the mixture has no more liquid and the margarine is dissolved and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Remove the pasty from the fridge and cut in half. Roll out half of the pastry until it is about 1/4 inch thick (don't make it too thin or the tarts wont be able to stand up by themselves). Cut circles using a 5-6 inch diameter cutter or bowl. Pinch each circle as in the pictures below to form the star shaped tart shells. Make sure you pinch firmly so the dough sticks together well and doesn't simply come apart.




7. Continue making the tart shells until you have used up all of the pastry. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper and prick the bottoms of each one with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the tray halfway to ensure even cooking. Remove and allow to cool slightly so you can fill them.
8. Fill each casing with plenty of the cooled coconut filling. The shells can hold quite a lot, so you shouldn't have any trouble using up all your filling. Return to the tray and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the pastry is just golden and the filling is slightly crispy on top. Remove and cool before eating. 

Makes about a baker's dozen gizzada (this can vary depending on how big your cutter is).




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