Monday, September 16, 2013

Macadamia-Coconut-Lime Tartlets

It's official: I have tartlet fever.

If you read my recent Chocolate, Pistachio, and Mascarpone Tartlets post, you saw my attempt at a semi-healthy dessert, perfectly portioned for those who crave moderation, and rich and delicious for those who crave decadence. 

In addition to moderation and decadence, Hoosband and I have been craving desserts we actually feel good about sharing with our two-year-old. These particular tartlets are made from nuts, coconut, coconut oil, lime juice, and a modest combo of unrefined sweeteners. I feel pretty good about that. 

Their coconut-lime flavor profile is inspired by a frozen drink Hoosband and I had years ago on our honeymoon in Mexico called a white sand--something else I've been craving. 

Macadamia nuts pair well with the flavors of coconut and lime, while adding creaminess and body to the filling and structure and crunch to the crust. 

Like the chocolate-pistachio tartlets, today's tartlets are no-bake and grain/gluten free. With the subtraction of the mascarpone, however, these tartlets are also dairy-free, though still not technically raw or vegan, due to the coconut palm sugar in the crust and the honey in the filling, respectively.

It is important to use virgin coconut oil in this recipe, as refined coconut oil lacks the essential coconut flavor and aroma. 

Due to their high coconut-oil content, these tartlets require at least 8 hours in the fridge to set up and should be stored in the fridge right up until consumption for best results. When the filling is set, the texture should be like a cross between lime curd and custard, similar to a key lime pie, and firm enough to slice if desired.

The tartlets can also be frozen overnight, resulting in a much firmer, more ice-cream-like texture.

Macadamia-Coconut-Lime Tartlets

for the crust
2/3 cups grated coconut (raw and unsweetened)
3 T coconut palm sugar (substitute with brown sugar if desired)
1/4 tsp fine salt
2/3 cups raw macadamia nuts
2 T virgin coconut oil

for the filling
2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp freshly grated lime zest (try to avoid using any of the white pith)
3 T honey (I used Texas brush honey)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

Place muffin liners in each of six large muffin cups. I use regular-sized muffin liners in large cups--the larger cups just allow the liners to lay out a little wider. If you do not have a large-cup muffin pan, just use six cups in a standard-size muffin pan.

Place 1/3 cup grated coconut, the coconut palm sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process till very finely ground. Add 2/3 cup macadamia nuts, the coconut oil, and remaining grated coconut, and process just until the nuts are ground to very small pieces and the mixture looks like very coarse, damp sand. 

Be sure not to over-process the mixture, as it will become nut butter and be too goopy to work with. If this does happen accidentally, add a an extra 3-4 tablespoons of grated coconut and pulse just enough to combine. The coconut will absorb some of the excess liquid and add more structure.

Divide the mixture evenly among the six prepared cups (1 1/2-2 T per cup). 

Use your fingers to press the mixture firmly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of each cup.

Chill while you prepare the filling. 

Rinse and dry the food processor bowl, blade, and lid. Place 2/3 cup macadamia nuts in the processor and process until very smooth, the consistency of freshly ground peanut butter. 

Add the remaining filling ingredients and process until completely smooth. 

Pour the filling into the tart shells, dividing it evenly among the six cups. 

Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours or till set. 

Store the set tartlets in airtight containers in the fridge until ready to serve, up to one week. 

If desired, garnish with some finely chopped macadamia nuts and fresh lime zest, or try a dollop of Whipped Coconut Cream.

Makes 6 tartlets.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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