Spiced Custard

Spiced Coconut Custard (Wattalappan Dessert)

Recently, we were introduced to a delightful dessert called Wattalappan milk by a popular Sri Lankan restaurant in London (Hoppers). The menu shows the ingredients as coconut, treacle, malt, salted cashews and cinnamon. It was very delicious. When researching this dessert, I found that Wattalappan spiced coconut custard is popular in Sri Lanka but is believed to be Malay in orgin! They use kitul jaggery (a form of palm sugar) which is very similar in taste to Gula Melaka. The spice used is cardamon but I have seen recipes using other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

I’m made mine with Gula Melaka and ground cumin. It’s yummy! Will try with cardamon seeds next time.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/eQGtPhRTT2A


4 eggs (lightly beaten)

2/3 cup of Gula Melaka syrup

3/4 cup of coconut milk

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 tsp cardamon seeds (crushed)

(optional) 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground cinnamon or pinch of ground clove

For serving:

Handful of salted roasted cashews (chopped) – I use whole salted roasted mixed nuts

Gula Melaka syrup


1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C.

2. Boil one block of Gula Melaka in 200 ml of water until fully dissolved and thickened. Cool and set aside 2/3 cup of the syrup for the custard and another 1/3 cup for serving.

3. Whisk eggs lightly and add coconut milk, vanilla essence and cardamon seeds. Whisk until fully combined.

4. When the syrup is cool enough to handle, add to the egg mixture, a little at a time. Stir well to mix thoroughly.54. Strain into a jug to remove any froth and solids. Pour into ramekins or a bowl or deep plate.

5. Place ramekins or bowl into a roasting pan of boiling water – with water level halfway up the mould. Cover with foil and bake in water bath at 160°C for 50 mins. The custard should set with the middle slightly wobbly. If it is not set, remove the foil, increase the oven temp to 175°C and bake for 15 more mins.

6. When cool enough to handle, remove from roasting pan, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.

7.  Serve with chopped cashews and Gula Melaka syrup.



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