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Gizzada (Coconut Pastry)

I was out shopping with a friend a few weeks ago, when she stopped at a Jamaican restaurant in her neighborhood (more about that later) to pick up patties. A little take-away place, it had the standard Jamaican fare on the menu – rice and peas, curried chicken, brown stewed fish, etc.

I wasn’t very hungry but the pastries caught my attention, well one in particular: the gizzada, an open tart with a grated, spiced and sweetened coconut filling.


Pinch me round or gizzada

Also known as “pinch-me-round,” for the characteristic wavy look of the edges of the shell, the gizzada came to Jamaica from Portugal, where there’s a similar pastry, called guisada.

Portuguese Jews began arriving in Jamaica in 1530. They were fleeing religious persecution under the Inquisition, which ordered them to convert to Christianity. Jamaica became a refuge for Jews from Spain and Portugual, and by the mid to late 1880s, there were more than 2,000 Jews on the island. The gizzada is one of their contributions to Jamaican cuisine.

Gizzadas are pretty popular with Jamaicans. I remember eating them as a child, and there were always available at the cafeteria at school. They are also popular with Jamaicans abroad so I wasn’t surprised to see them at the restaurant.

I love gizzadas because of the combination of the textures and flavors – crunchy (shell) and soft (filling), the pungent taste of nutmeg and the spiciness vanilla, the sweetness of the filling against the plain tasting shell. Some recipes also use ginger.

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  1. 1 cup baking flour
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1 1/4 oz. butter or margarine
  4. 1/4 cup ice water
  1. 1 small coconut, grated
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  4. 1/2 vanilla
  5. 1/2 tbsp water
  6. 1/2 tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Mix together flour and salt then cut in butter and shortening.
  2. Add ice water to form dough.
  3. Use fingers to blend mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Shape into a ball before wrapping in waxed paper and refrigerate for half an hour.
  5. Divide crust into 4 balls.
  6. Use a rolling pin to flatten balls into 3" circles of 1/4" thickness.
  7. Pinch edges to form a ridge to hold in coconut and sugar mixture.
  8. Put on greased cookie sheets and partly bake crust.
  1. Combine all ingredients except butter and cook over a low flame for about 20 minutes.
  2. Add butter then fill shells with coconut mixture and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
  3. Makes 4 gizzadas.

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Nov 10, 2013 – Linking up with Monika Fuchs’ foodie carnival at Travel World Online.

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  1. sounds delicious Marcia. Do I need to grate a coconut – or can I cheat and use \”dessicated\” coconut – you know processed coconut from the supermarket? I don\’t know if you have it over there. Thanks for the invite to join Foodie Tuesday – I will need to write a foodie blogpost!Have a great week.

  2. You’re welcome, Jill. You can use regular dessicated coconut to make this. Tastes just the same, I think.
    Thanks, hope you have a great week too!

  3. This mouth-watering treat looks similar to the coconut macaroons that are sold in Jewish bakeries in NY.
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..The new Air New Zealand in-flight safety video that made me cringeMy Profile

  4. I love coconut – this looks delicious!!
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..City Break at the Eaton Chelsea in TorontoMy Profile

  5. That looks like a delicious pastry!
    Jennifer recently posted..Combai Chestnut FestivalMy Profile

  6. This is definitely something I want to make, Marcia! Am I really thinking now about all of the different fillings that could be put into the crust too. Sounds so yummy as always! 🙂
    Mike recently posted..How To Make Your First Roast Duck A Delicious SuccessMy Profile

  7. Looks yummy! I’d like to taste one with ginger.
    Sonja recently posted..Pirates, Mermaids and KouzzinaMy Profile

  8. Besides looking like a super delicious pastry, the gizzada has quite a history. At first, the name didn’t sound too appetizing to me, but the photo and description sold me.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Into the Vineyards at Tenuta MasselinaMy Profile

  9. Looks delicious, thank you Marcia 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted..The Tanuki-mon from Kencho-ji, KamakuraMy Profile

  10. My oh my… this just brings me back to my youth. Loved everything with coconut, especially the sweet ones.
    Marlys recently posted..Caving In for Gran CanariaMy Profile

  11. Sounds delicious. I might try the recipe one day, but I have a problem finding pure vanilla in my local supermarkets . Can one use substitute vanilla?
    Rachel M recently posted..North Horr – Desert OasisMy Profile

  12. Hi Marcia, I wasn’t hungry too until I saw picture of gizzada. It looks and sounds delicious. I like coconut-y pastries. And I like how you always trace the history of food.
    Marisol recently posted..Thimphu, Bhutan (Part 1): The Festival, the Big Buddha and the CityMy Profile

  13. Looks delicious, Marcia 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Fukuyama Masaharu – DearMy Profile

  14. I’ll take two dozen please. ; ) Once again, I am drooling over your delicious posts! This sounds positively scrumptious!!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Top 5 Reasons to go on a European Christmas Market River CruiseMy Profile

  15. Is there a way to cheat? I’m referring to grating the coconut. Is fresh the only way to go?

    How about Jamiacan Totos – is that the right word? It’s a treat I’ve had from the Kensington Market in Toronto and I would love an authentic recipe for it.
    Leigh recently posted..Cycling the Banff Legacy Trail from Canmore to BanffMy Profile

  16. I’m not sure what to substitute. Maple syrup or almond extract according to the Internet.

  17. It sure is a long way from home, isn’t it?

  18. They might be related, Irene. I’ll have to check them out.

  19. I love coconut and can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks for the interesting history on this food.
    Neva Fels recently posted..German Chocolate Cake is AmericanMy Profile

  20. You’re welcome, Neva!
    Let me know how it turns out.

  21. You can use the packaged shredded coconut, Leigh.
    Yes, that’s the right word. It’s a coconut cake. Geez, haven’t had that in a while!

  22. Two dozen gizzadas coming up so your drooling can stop, Jeff.

  23. Thanks, Marisol. Sorry it made you hungry though.


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