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A lemon tart on a green cake stand. Stack of pink plates, dried leaves, a grey surface.

Coconut Lemon Tart with Dulce de Leche

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5 from 1 review

A gorgeous tart with a coconut crust, a layer of sweet dulce de leche and a lemon pastry cream made in the microwave.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings



For the crust:

  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (60g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, in pieces and cold
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

For the lemon cream:

  • 1/3 cup (65g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (240g) cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature

To assemble:

  • 1 cup dulce de leche (see note)
  • Extra dulce de leche or coconut flakes for decoration


For the crust:

  1. Food processor: in the bowl of a food processor mix flour with coconut and sugar.
  2. Add cold butter and pulse a few times until the butter is the size of peas.
  3. Add yolk and pulse just until it starts to come together. Don’t let it become a ball of dough.
  4. If the dough is too dry add a tablespoon of water, but only if necessary.
  5. By hand: in a large bowl mix flour, coconut, and sugar.
  6. Add butter and mix with a dough cutter or with your hands, breaking the butter pieces until they are the size of peas. Be careful not to let the butter start to melt. If that happens, pop the bowl for ten minutes in the fridge before continuing.
  7. Add yolk and mix with a fork until it starts to come together.
  8. If the dough is too dry add a tablespoon of water, but only if necessary.
  9. For both methods: either way, you mix it, turn the dough onto the clean counter.
  10. Gather it together and give it some turns until no dry spots are left. It should be soft but don’t overdo it. Just until you have a ball.
  11. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  12. You will use an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Rolling the dough:

  1. On a clean counter, roll it to about 1/3 inch thick and a few inches wider than the pan. Add some flour if the dough is too wet to roll, but you probably won't need it.
  2. Gently line the pan with the dough, being careful not to stretch it but making sure you cover the whole surface, bottom, and sides.
  3. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the oven to 350ºF /180º C.
  5. Cover the frozen dough with a large piece of aluminum foil and add some weight (uncooked rice, beans, flour, pie weights) and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the foil and bake until dry and golden.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the lemon cream:

  1. Mix sugar, cornstarch, yolks and cream in a glass bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and whisk well. Nothing will appear to happen.
  3. Repeat another 30 seconds and whisk.
  4. Repeat once more if necessary, until you see that it has thickened in some areas.
  5. Whisk vigorously until creamy and heat in 10-second spurts until you whisk it and it thickens uniformly.
  6. Add the butter and lemon juice and whisk until it is creamy.
  7. Be careful not to burn it.
  8. Immediately put a piece of plastic wrap or similar touching the whole hot surface. This will prevent it from developing a thick crust.
  9. Can be made 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge.

To assemble:

  1. Put the baked coconut crust on the serving plate.
  2. Add a layer of dulce de leche, spreading carefully.
  3. Add the lemon cream on top at the last minute.
  4. Drizzle with some heated dulce de leche or decorate with toasted coconut flakes.


  • Organization: read the recipe first and make sure you have ingredients at the right temperatures, equipment needed, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
  • Make ahead: the pie dough can be made up to 3 days before and kept refrigerated. The crust can be baked the day before and kept at room temperature. The lemon cream can be made 2 days before and kept, well covered, in the refrigerator.
  • Dulce de leche: you can easily buy it online. I use dulce de leche repostero Vacalin. 
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Pie crust making: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Pies and Tarts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International