Simple ingredients come together to create magical pineapple coconut bars. These bars have a buttery coconut crust with a sweet pineapple lime filling and are finished with toasted coconut for a fun summer treat.
Pineapple Coconut Bars
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (180 grams)
- ½ cup butter, cold (113 grams)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
- ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut (60 grams)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon (58 grams)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups fresh pineapple puree (500 ml)
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- ¼ cup lime juice (62 ml)
- toasted coconut flakes for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- Make the coconut crust. Pulse the shredded coconut in a food processor until it becomes small crumbs. Add all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and pulse until combined. Slowly add water while the food processor is running and mix just until combined. Press the crust into the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Make the pineapple filling. Whisk together sugar with flour, 4 eggs, 1 egg yolk, pineapple juice, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges have set and the center is slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Garnish the pineapple coconut bars with toasted coconut and cut them into 15 bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Watch how to make this:
Did you ever notice how much our palates change as we get older? When I was younger, I was not too fond of Brussels sprouts, disliked cauliflower, and didn't care for anything sour. Now, I enjoy all things tart, love Brussels sprouts, and eat cauliflower on a weekly basis. When it comes to desserts, I now steer away from chocolate and go for more fruity sweets like these pineapple coconut bars. These bars are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Think of them as lemon bars but with pineapple and lime and a coconut crust. Sounds good, right?
- Sweetened coconut flakes: You can use either sweetened coconut flakes or shredded sweetened coconut. The difference between the two types is the size of the coconut but since we're pulsing the coconut in the food processor, it doesn't matter which one you use. You can also use unsweetened coconut if you prefer a less sweet crust.
- All-purpose flour: We use all-purpose flour for the crust and the filling. The flour acts as a thickener for the filling.
- Pineapple puree: Use fresh pineapple for the best results. You can also use frozen pineapple or canned drained pineapple but the level of sweetness will differ according to which pineapple you use. Do not use pineapple juice, which is too thin in consistency.
- Lime juice: For best results, use fresh lime juice and not bottled.
- Lime zest: To enhance the lime flavor, use lime zest in addition to lime juice.
- Eggs: The combination of whole eggs and egg yolk yields the ideal texture for the pineapple coconut bars.
How to Make Pineapple Coconut Bars
Step 1: Make the Crust
Just like lemon bars, this tropical version is just as easy to make. First, make the crust. Pulse the coconut flakes in a food processor until it becomes small crumbs. I found it easier to eat the coconut when it's in crumb form rather than keeping it shredded.
Then, add the flour, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and pulse until combined. Slowly add the water while pulsing the food processor, mixing just until combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press the mixture into an even layer.
Since the dough is on the softer side, you can place it between two sheets of wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin instead of using your hands. Roll the dough until it's 9x13 inches and transfer it to the prepared baking dish. If your kitchen is very warm, you can also chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge, then roll it when firm. Pop the crust in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Step 2: Prepare the Filling
Meanwhile, make the pineapple filling. If you're making these pineapple coconut bars during the summer, I strongly advise using fresh pineapple. Canned pineapple or frozen pineapple would work just fine but there's just something about fresh pineapple that makes it taste...fresher. Also, canned pineapple tends to be very sweet so the final result will differ slightly from the original recipe.
Blend up enough pineapple to yield 2 cups. Then, whisk it with some sugar, flour, eggs, lime zest, and lime juice.
Step 3: Bake
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the center is set, about 30 minutes. If you're making these dessert bars for an event and want to save a step, you can bake the crust the day before and let it cool overnight. Then, make the filling the following day and proceed with the recipe.
Once the center is set, remove the pineapple coconut bars from the oven and let them cool completely.
And that's it, folks! Serve the bars just as is or top them with toasted coconut for that extra something special. The bars may look thin but the ratio of coconut crust and filling is just right. These bars almost remind me of Taiwanese pineapple cakes, which are possibly one of the best desserts in Taiwan. Give this a try and let me know what you think!
Do I need to cool the crust before adding the filling?
Yes, if you pour the filling over a warm crust, the crust will soak up all the liquid and become mush.
Can I omit coconut in the crust?
Yes, if you're not a fan of coconut, you can omit it.
What's the best way to store the pineapple coconut bars?
Keep the bars in air-tight containers and they should keep for 3-5 days.
For more dessert bars inspiration, check out these strawberry key lime pie bars!