Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams

A Sri Lankan dessert classic! A delicious and creamy Baked Cardamom Spiced Coconut Custard and sweetened with unrefined Jaggery or sugar!
What makes this dessert so special is the use of Kithul Jaggery. This special jaggery comes from the fishtail palm in Sri Lanka. This brown like sugar has an amazing caramel-like taste, which is floral, smoky, woody, and slightly savoury. So here is the Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams.

Ingredients for the Wattalappam (Coconut Custard)

  • 1 tbsp softened butter, to grease moulds
  • 2 tbsp rapadura sugar, to line moulds
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cm piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole clove
  • 100g kithul jaggery
  • 2 jumbo eggs
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp blood orange zest

Ingredients For Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour

Ingredients For Coconut Tuile

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 42g desiccated coconut
  • 42g icing sugar
  • 12g plain flour
  • 1 egg white

Ingredients For Spiced Cashew Crumbs

  • 1-liter vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raw cashew kernels
  • 1/4 cup unrefined rapadura sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp blood orange zest Salt
  • Toasted Coconut
  • 1/4 fresh coconut

Ingredients For Garnishing

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Blood orange segments and zest
  • Culinary lavender petals
  • Lemon balm leaves (Micro Herbs)
  • Kithul treacle

Procedure to prepare Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 4 x 130ml capacity metal dariole moulds with butter and sprinkle with rapadura sugar. Shake to remove excess sugar and set aside.
  2. For the Whipped Coconut Cream, place the unopened can of coconut cream into the freezer for 1 hour. Place the bowl of an electric mixer into the fridge to chill.
  3. Remove the coconut cream from the freezer without shaking or tipping the can and spoon out the thick cream from the top of the can and place it into the chilled mixing bowl. Discard the liquid.
  4. Whisk the coconut cream using an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until creamy, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and mix until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in a little tapioca flour until the whipped cream holds its shape. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside in the fridge.

Continue …..

  1. For the Wattalappam, half fill a wok with water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Place the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and clove into a small frypan and toast over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Grate the kithul jaggery into a small saucepan and add 1/3 cup water. Place over low- medium heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Place eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until thick and pale, about 5-8 minutes. Gradually add the cooled jaggery syrup and whisk until incorporated. Reduce the speed to medium and add the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla essence, blood orange zest and ground spices and whisk until mixture is pale and slightly thickened.
  5. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a jug and discard solids. Divide the Wattalappam mixture between the prepared moulds. Cover each mould tightly with aluminum foil and place it into a bamboo steamer. Set over the wok of simmering water for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center. Remove from the steamer basket and set aside to cool slightly.


  1. For the Coconut Tuile, line a large baking tray with a Silpat mat and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool slightly. Place the desiccated coconut into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground, but not powdery. Add the icing sugar and flour and process briefly to combine then add egg whites and cooled melted butter. Process until the mixture is a smooth and slightly runny paste.
  3. Using an offset spatula spread the tuile mixture very thinly over the tray. Bake until pale golden and slightly browned around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and using a 7cm round cutter, cut out 4 rounds. Carefully lift each tuile from the tray and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Set aside.
  4. For the Spiced Cashew Crumb, heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan or wok over medium heat to 170C. Fry the cashew nuts until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove cashews from oil and set aside on a paper towel. Allow cooling.


  1. Place cooled cashews into a bowl and toss with the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and blood orange zest and a pinch of salt. Crush to a coarse crumb with a mortar and pestle.
  2. For the Toasted Coconut, clean the fresh coconut, using the cleaver break the coconut into two. Using a coconut grater, scrape out a quarter of the fresh coconut. Place about ¾ into a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the flakes are lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer coconut to a tray to cool. Reserve remaining grated coconut for garnish.
Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams - Chatty Bear Recipe
Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams


To serve, carefully turn out Wattalappams into the center of each plate. Scatter some spiced cashew crumbs and toasted coconut on each side and add some freshly grated coconut. Break each coconut tuile into 2 shards and add to the plates. Add some blood orange segments and garnish with lavender petals and lemon balm leaves. Lightly drizzle kithul treacle over the top of each Wattalappam and top with a half of a cashew kernel and some Toasted Coconut. Pipe Whipped Coconut Cream on the plate and top with some finely grated some blood orange zest.

So, let us know if you tried this Wattalappam (Coconut Custard) Recipe By Chef Dhayanie (Dee) Williams at home. Share your photos with us.

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Meet the judge and mentor for a sri lankan cooking show, supreme chef, chef dhayanie williams. In 2019, she became the first Sri Lankan female to get selected for masterchef australia. Born in Sri Lanka, she moved to Australia in 2007 to complete her bachelor's degree in hotel management, graduating in 2011. At the age of 10 or 12 years, she started learning cooking from her mum and grandma. Being a very passionate cook herself, her mum encouraged her to cook and read cookbooks. Whilst living in australia she was inspired by the variety of cuisines and cooking cultures on offer and she found her strengths in the kitchen were Asian and Sri Lankan.