"If anyone asks, it's only a coconut."
A few winters ago, we escaped the bitter cold and went on a two-week Caribbean cruise. The ship left from New Jersey, so it took a few days for us to actually reach warmer waters, but once we got there it was AMAZING. Our first stop was in Puerto Rico, and we were so excited to get off the boat and explore (and also eat some better food!). We ate lunch at a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant and then spent the day wandering around aimlessly. At one point, I saw a sign advertising aged rum served in coconut shells; I decided that I absolutely had to have one. We stopped at a courtyard bar and ordered one to share. Even though we fully intended on sitting at the bar with it, the bartender told us we could take it with us if we wanted. Her only warning? "If anyone asks, it's only a coconut." I guess a coconut shell is a little classier than a brown paper bag, but I'm not generally one to break the rules so we stayed in the courtyard. Luckily, open container laws don't apply to these coconut tartlets.
Toasted Coconut Tartlets
6 whole graham crackers
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 can coconut milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon rum extract
Heat oven to 400ºF.
Place the graham crackers in a large zip top bag. Beat with a heavy rolling pin until the crackers have broken down into fine crumbs. Mix with the butter (the mixture should hold together when you press it.) Press the dough into the bottoms and slightly up the sides of 20 muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk and coconut milk. Beat in the egg yolks one by one and then add the rum extract. Set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes).
Spoon the coconut custard into the tart shells. Top with toasted coconut.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.