These smaller twists on coconut cream pie have a delicious ginger-cookie crust and a coconut cream filling subtly spiked with ginger.
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25 to 30 large or 55 to 60 small ginger-snap cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups homogenized milk
1 cup canned coconut cream, shaken
3 egg yolks
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 of a vanilla bean
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cups coconut flakes, preferably toasted
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes for garnishing
To prepare tart shells, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Whirl enough cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs form and they measure about 2 cups (500 ml). Add butter. Pulse until evenly mixed. Press into greased 12-cup muffin tin. Bake for 5 minutes or until dry. Let cool completely.
To prepare filling, whisk sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Slowly whisk in milk and coconut cream. Whisk in eggs and yolks until evenly mixed. Using a small paring knife, carefully cut a small slit down side of vanilla bean. Run the blunt side of knife over bean, releasing the seeds. Add ginger and vanilla to mixture. Set over medium heat, whisking frequently in order to avoid scrambling, until the first bubble pops. This should take 5 to 8 minutes. Remove to a heatproof surface.
Using a sieve, strain coconut mixture into a bowl. Whisk in butter and salt. Fold in coconut flakes. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled. If making ahead, filling will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for at least 1 day.
Meanwhile, whisk or beat whipping cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in sugar and coconut extract.
Just before serving, spoon filling into cooled tart shells. Serve tarts with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with coconut flakes. If making ahead, tarts will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.