I love baked goods. I love Scotland and Highlanders. So, my newest historical romance series had to contain both. In A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS, Evelyn Worthington, an English woman determined to start a school for ladies in Scotland, uses her homemade tarts to win some help from the local Campbell clan.
Tarts are just as popular today as they were in the 17th century. Bakers used fruits, spices and sweetener to make them delicious. Today I am going to share a Scottish Coconut and Blackberry Jam Tartlet recipe that is easy to follow at home. From what I’ve read, these little “Coconut Tartlets” are well known to heroes and heroines in Scotland, even in this century.
This recipe makes a bit over 24 mini tartlets and can be easily doubled for a large tea party.
Scottish Coconut & Blackberry Tartlets
2 eggs (I set them out to come to room temperature)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
Pie dough – either conveniently store bought or homemade and rolled to about ¼ inch thickness
Whipped topping & berry for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease mini muffin cups.
- Make tartlet shells by rolling out dough and cutting circles of 2 ½ inch diameter to fit down inside each mini muffin cup.
- Place about ½ teaspoon jam in the bottom of each mini tartlet cup, I used blackberry, but you can use any flavor you think will complement the coconut.
- Beat eggs with electric mixer. Add sugar and vanilla. Add melted butter in a thin stream while the mixer is going. Stir in coconut.
- Fill each tartlet cup with coconut mixture about ¾ the way full. They will rise, and it is difficult to get them out of the mini muffin tin if they cook over.
- Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until top is lightly golden brown. Cool in the tins before removing by running a butter knife around the edge of each tartlet.
- Top with a dab of whipped cream and add a washed berry for decoration.
These are fun to serve with tea or as a tiny treat after lunch. Try different fillings. I think I will try apples and cinnamon next time since autumn is on its way. Below is an excerpt from my new book, where Grey and Evelyn sample some of her tarts (ahem…).
Grey rubbed the side of his face with his hand. “Bloody hell,” he whispered, lighting one wall sconce down the back corridor toward the kitchen. What he wouldn’t give to be warm and welcome next to Evelyn. Would you give up Finlarig?
“Mo chreach,” he muttered. He wanted Evelyn and Finlarig. You can’t have everything in life. His mother’s words haunted him as much as not knowing where her murdered body lay. Bloody foking hell.
His boots thudded along the descending stone ramp out the back of the keep, past the untended herb gardens, and into the dark kitchen. He strode directly to the glowing coals in the hearth and stirred them with the iron poker. Adding some dry peat, he blew on the catching fire and added some cut wood. Molly would likely want it soon enough. Standing, he looked around at the empty room, last year’s herbs still hanging in the windows. By now Gram would have replaced them, but she refused to return to Finlarig, and now her mind seemed to have snapped toward bloody retaliation.
Grey opened the stone larder and held his taper close to the opening. Evelyn’s tarts. He plucked one out and took a bite. Chewing, he paused to examine the dark fruit inside. Blaeberry. The lass had used blaeberries in her tarts.
“Shall I add tart thief to your offenses?” Evelyn’s voice whipped him around to face the door where she stepped inside. She was dressed as if for the day, her hair pulled back into her matronly knot. Without waiting for a reply, she walked across the room to take water from the copper in a small pot, setting it on an iron spider over the coals.
“Are the tarts not for your students and teachers?” he asked and took another bite of the sweetened berries housed in the light crust. Her spine looked very straight. “I was but breaking my fast for the day,” he said.
“’Tis barely day.” Evelyn straightened to look at him. “Could you not sleep?”
“Nay.” He couldn’t tell if she looked tired in the low light. Did dark circles plague the skin beneath her eyes? He’d seen his own in the mirror that still sat in his bedchamber. “And what brings ye here so early? Or do ye walk in your sleep?”
She crossed her arms over her breasts. “Why couldn’t you sleep?” Evelyn didn’t play games or spill words about like some lasses.
He grinned. She wanted the truth, but could she handle it? “My thoughts kept running,” he said and shoved the rest of the tart into his mouth.
“To where did they run?” Her eyes looked black in the shadows, even though he knew they were a gray-green like a mist-shrouded moor.
Grey leaned his arse against the table flanking the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. “To the lass lying in the bedchamber next to mine.”
“Oh. Were you planning her demise perhaps?”
“Nay.” She walked toward him. He held his breath until she veered off to fetch herself a tart. The sky was still black, and they were alone in the kitchen. Not even their maid would rise for an hour. Grey watched Evelyn take a bite of her tart, her gaze raising to his.
She swallowed. “What then were you planning for this lass next to you?” she asked. Evelyn, using the word “lass,” made him smile, and he reached forward to wipe a dab of blaeberry off her lower lip and lowered his fist to the high table beside him.
“I lay abed all night,” he said, his voice low as his grin faded to seriousness. “Imagining how I would make the lass scream out her pleasure, the two of us against each other, carnal and wild.”
Evelyn’s lips parted as she stared at him, her arched brows slowly rising toward her hairline. “And yet,” she whispered, rubbing her two lips together. “You didn’t knock.” Her tone, once clipped and sharp like jagged ice, was soft.
Had she waited for his knock? Did she toss and turn with pent-up passion? Grey raised his fist from the table beside him and softly rapped his knuckles down on the wood. Knock, knock, knock.
Englishwoman Evelyn Worthington is resolved to build a school for ladies in her brother’s newly purchased Scottish castle. But when she arrives, not only does she find the castle scorched by fire, but a brawny Highlander bars her entry.
Clan chief Grey Campbell would rather die than see his family home, Finlarig Castle, fall into English hands, so Grey must win the battle of wills with the beautiful Sassenach who flashes a bill of sale before him.
When the war between Evelyn and Grey escalates, passions flare. But outsiders have their own plans for Finlarig. After secrets are revealed, and muskets are lit, the fates of the Campbell Clan, the school, and a possible future for Grey and Evelyn are in as much jeopardy as their lives.
For more information about Heather and her historical romance series, you can find her here:
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.
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