Caramelised pineapple + coconut frangipane tart

I created this tart for my own birthday lunch this year. A classic frangipane is one of my favourite desserts, but one of our guests is allergic to eggs and nuts, so my usual recipe needed some serious tweaking!

I was curious to see how coconut would behave in a frangipane context, though I couldn’t decide whether to go down the desiccated route or use finer-milled coconut flour. In the end I used a bit of both, though next time I would be tempted to use the frozen freshly grated coconut you can buy from Asian supermarkets for peak moistness. The finished filling was tasty, but a little on the dry side, as dried coconut is so thirsty for moisture.

To get around the egg issue, I used aquafaba (or tinned chickpea liquor, as it’s less poetically known). I weighed the liquid from one 400 g can of chickpeas (which gave me 130 g this time) and used the same weight of sugar, butter and coconut. If you want to make your tart vegan, use a plant-based butter alternative – coconut butter would be the obvious choice.

I made a basic shortcrust pastry with a 2:1 ratio of flour to fat, with the fat being half butter and half lard, partly for crispness and partly because one of my friend’s pet peeves is that all the egg-free recipes offered to him are unnecessarily vegan!

If I’m making an almond frangipane, stone fruits like cherries and apricots are my favourite fruit pairing, but with my filling taking a turn for the tropical, pineapple was the obvious choice. I loved Tomasina Myers’s pineapple tarte tatin when I made it last year, so I decided to caramelise the fruit with a splash of rum.

To accompany the tart, I made a no-churn lime and ginger ice cream, which nearly escaped the camera (dessert didn’t make an appearance until the end of a long and slightly boozy lunch!), but which I can highly recommend, even if you don’t get round to making the frangipane. Like the tart, it is egg-free and it’s so easy to make and utterly delicious that you may never bother making a custard-based ice cream ever again! A bold claim, but try it and tell me I’m wrong…

Caramelised pineapple + coconut frangipane tart (egg-free + nut-free)

Serves 8 – 10

For the pastry:

  • 65 g salted butter
  • 65 g lard
  • 250 g plain flour

For the frangipane: (amounts are approximate – see method)

  • 125 ml aquafaba (the liquor from a 400 g tin of chickpeas)
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g softened butter
  • 125 g grated coconut (defrosted if frozen, or you can use desiccated or coconut flour)

For the pineapple:

  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 35 g butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 35 ml rum (dark, white or spiced, whatever you have)

For the no-churn ice cream:

  • 500 ml double cream
  • 397 g (1 can) condensed milk
  • 2 limes, juiced and zest finely grated
  • 75 g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
  1. It’s best to make the ice cream the day before. Put the cream, condensed milk and lime juice in a bowl and whip with an electric whisk until it will hold its shape for a few seconds before relaxing back down. Fold in the lime zest and crystallised ginger, then scrape the mixture into a plastic tub and put on the lid. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
  2. To make the pastry, rub the butter and lard into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water to bring it together into a pliable dough, but don’t over-knead.
  3. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a deep 23 cm (9-inch) round loose-bottomed tart tin. Press the pastry into the sides and let the excess overhang. Prick the base with a fork, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180° fan) / 400F / gas 6. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill it with baking beans or rice (I reuse an elderly batch of dried chickpeas every time). Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper and return the case to the oven for 5 minutes or until the pastry is crisp. Use a vegetable peeler to shave off the excess pastry and create a neat edge.
  5. Meanwhile, weigh the liquor from the tin of chickpeas into a mixing bowl and add the same weight of sugar, butter and coconut. Whip with an electric whisk for 4 minutes.
  6. Scrape the coconut frangipane into the pastry case and bake for 20 minutes or until set in the centre. Leave to cool.
  7. To prepare the pineapple, cut off the top and bottom, then stand it up and slice away the tough skin from the sides. Remove any remaining ‘eyes’ from the sides with a small sharp knife. Cut the pineapple into quarters, then cut away the woody core from each wedge. Cut the pineapple into 5 mm slices.
  8. It’s best to caramelise the pineapple in two batches unless you have an extremely large frying pan. Heat half the butter in a frying pan. Toss half the pineapple with half of the sugar and cloves, then arrange the slices in a single layer in the frying pan. Fry without disturbing for 3 minutes or until the underneath is starting to colour. Turn the slices and caramelise on the other side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the butter, pineapple, sugar and cloves. When all of the pineapple is attractively seared, put it all back in the frying pan, then pour over the rum and let the liquid reduce to a syrupy glaze.
  9. Arrange the pineapple slices in concentric circles on top of the tart and drizzle over any juices left in the pan. Leave to cool.
  10. The tart is best served at room temperature or warmed in the oven (it doesn’t need to be chilled). Remove the ice cream from the freezer 15 minutes ahead of time if you have a particularly cold freezer or if you’ve made it more than a day in advance.

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