Pastel de Coco y Calabaza

Coconut and Pumpkin Tart

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    8 to 10

Appears in

Eating Cuban

Eating Cuban

By Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs

Published 2006

  • About

Calabaza (West Indian pumpkin) is an orange-fleshed squash with an orange, green, or striped skin. The best—and most widely available—substitutes for calabaza in the United States are New England sweet pie pumpkins and butternut or acorn squash.

This is one of the best pumpkin desserts I’ve ever tasted. The crust is crisp, tender, and flavorful, and the addition of coconut milk makes the filling light, creamy, and delicate.


For the Crust

  • ¾ cup ( sticks) good-quality unsalted butter
  • tablespoons almond oil or mild cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 to 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups cooked, pureed calabaza or pie pumpkin, or 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Shredded toasted coconut


Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the butter, oil, cup water, the sugar, and salt. Microwave at high power until the butter is melted and the mixture is boiling. Stir in the crystallized ginger. Using a fork, gradually stir in the flour, stirring just until the dough reaches a soft but workable consistency. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- to 10-inch springform cake pan. Prick the bottom in a few places with the fork. Gently press a sheet of baking parchment or aluminum foil into the shell and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Carefully lift out the parchment and beans. If the bottom crust has puffed up, prick it with a fork and gently press it down. Return the crust to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until it just begins to firm up and turn golden. Set aside until ready to fill; leave the oven on.

Make the filling: While the crust is baking, in a small bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until pale yellow. Gradually beat in the sugar mixture and the pureed calabaza.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the coconut milk just to a simmer. With the mixer running, gradually add the hot coconut milk to the calabaza mixture. Pour the calabaza mixture into the saucepan and cook gently, stirring constantly, over medium-low to low heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a pourable custard, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour the custard into the partially baked crust. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake the tart on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until the filling is set and slightly firm to the touch. Let the tart cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the rim. Place the tart on a rack and let it cool completely. Don’t attempt to remove the bottom of the pan before serving, as you may break the crust. Decorate the top of the pie with swirls of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted coconut.