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Shared by Christina Whittaker

Gizzada (Coconut and Ginger Tarts)

Yield: 10 tartsTime: 2 ½ hours

Shared by Christina Whittaker

Gizzada tartlets served on light pink platter atop white floral tablecloth.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Jennifer Ophir. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Gizzada (Coconut and Ginger Tarts)

Yield: 10 tartsTime: 2 ½ hours

Family Journey

Old Harbour Bay, JamaicaBronx, NYDavie, Florida
Brooklyn, NY

When Christina Whittaker was growing up, her grandmother Gloria would buy her gizzada, sweet and sticky coconut tartlets, as a treat. “I loved going to the grocery store with her,” shares Christina, “because I knew I’d get gizzada afterwards.” These days, Christina makes homemade gizzada, spicing the filling for the tarts with a heady blend of fresh ginger, allspice, and cinnamon and sweetening it with caramelly dates and honey. Chewy and spicy with a flaky crust, these tarts, sometimes referred to as pinch-me-rounds due to their crimped edges, are nearly irresistible. 

Read more about Christina’s family in “Finding Identity at a Jamaican Shabbat Table” and try her recipes for steamed red snapper with pumpkin and okra, oxtail stew and sorrel (spiced hibiscus drink)


For the filling:

  • 4 oz. pitted dried Medjool dates, finely chopped
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 ½ oz. dried, unsweetened coconut 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated nutmeg 
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted vegan butter, frozen for 15 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • ½ cup ice cold water


  • Step 1

    Make the filling: Pour 5 tablespoons of water into a pan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, add the dates and honey and cook for 10 minutes, occasionally crushing the dates against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon, until very soft.

  • Step 2

    Stir in the dried coconut, vanilla, and spices until combined. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring the mixture to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until a thick paste forms. Mix in the coconut oil and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

  • Step 3

    Make the dough: Sift the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Use a grater to grate the butter into the flour. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the dough until the mixture clumps together and forms coarse pebbles. Add the ice water a few tablespoons at a time, and gently bring the dough together until no dry spots remain and a ball is formed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for an hour in the fridge.

  • Step 4

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Lightly dust your hands and a work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry until about ⅛” thick. Using a 4” diameter biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out 10 circles, re-rolling the dough as needed.

  • Step 5

    To shape the gizzada, take one pastry round and crimp or pinch the edge to make a pastry case with a slightly raised border. Repeat to make 10 in total. Place on a baking paper lined sheet tray and prick the bases of each tartlet with a fork. Bake the tart shells for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and light golden.

  • Step 6

    Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the filling into each pastry case and spread out to the edges (the tart shells should be filled to the brim). Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is cooked and the pastry is golden. If the filling begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil. Remove from the oven when fully baked and leave to cool on a wire rack.