Passion Fruit and Coconut Cream Parfaits

Active Time: 45 MIN Total Time: 3 HR Yield Serves: 6

Pastry chef Koa Duncan of Los Angeles’s Water Grill is incredibly creative. She’s also remarkably persistent: Working as a pastry chef in a town that loves to diet is an uphill battle. Her fantastic passion fruit and creamy coconut parfait, layered with crunchy bits of cashew praline, is good enough for Angelenos to forgive themselves the indulgence.


PASSION FRUIT CURD 8 large egg yolks 3 large eggs 1/3 cup sugar ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons passion fruit puree (7 ounces), see Note 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

COCONUT CREAM 2 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk 2/3 cup sugar 3 tablespoons butter 1.2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons water

POACHED PINEAPPLE 1 ½ cups sugar 2 cups water 10 think lemon slices, seeded ½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped One 3-pound pineapple–peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch cubes (4 cups)

CASHEW PRALINE ½ cup sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 2 tablespoon s water ¼ cup dark brown sugar 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest Salt and freshly ground pepper 3.4 cup salted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped (4 ounces)


Step 1 ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs with the sugar and passion fruit puree until smooth. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and whisk the egg mixture over moderate heat until very thick and an instant-read thermometer dipped in the mixture registers 165°, about 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and whisk in the butter. Scrape the curd into a shallow bowl, press plastic wrap directly on the curd and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Step 2 ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar, butter and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water; whisk the mixture into the coconut milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean. Pour the coconut cream into a shallow bowl, press plastic wrap directly on top of the cream and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Step 3 ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon slices and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple and cook over moderate heat until the fruit is translucent, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pineapple and its cooking liquid to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Step 4 ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS Line a large baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper or a silicone liner. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and boil until the syrup reaches 300° (hard crack) on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, honey, butter, orange zest and a pinch of salt and pepper. Off the heat, stir in the chopped cashews until coated. Pour the brittle onto the oiled parchment or silicone liner. Top with another sheet of oiled parchment or silicone liner and roll out the brittle as thinly as possible. Let cool completely, then crack into small pieces.

Step 5 ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS Spoon 1/2 cup of the coconut cream into the bottoms of 6 tall glasses, followed by 1/2 cup of the passion fruit curd. Using a slotted spoon, add a scant 1/2 cup of the pineapple to the glasses, followed by a sprinkle of the praline. Repeat the layering with the remaining cream, curd, pineapple and praline. Serve.

Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated for up to 2 days ahead. Store the cashew praline in an airtight container.

Notes Passion fruit puree is available in the freezer section at specialty markets. One brand worth seeking out is Vergers Boiron, available at

Fairy Note

I decided to omit pineapple and use strawberries already in my refrigerator. I made half the poaching syrup and 1-1/2 quarts of berries cubed and I only poached them for 3-4 minutes. I was clearly under the 4-cups of fruit the recipe calls for but still very delicious.

Those precious frozen golden passionfruit nuggets needed tending: thawed slightly and I pureed them in my food processor to equal the ¾ cup + 2TBLSP necessary.   

Regarding praline or brittle, as I called it, I substituted agave nectar for the corn syrup.

Praline fail: Perhaps due to the lack of corn syrup I needed to cook the sugar syrup past 300° but I am not sure. It turned out chewy and not crunchy so I placed 1/3 at a time on oiled foil and into the toaster oven @325°. Four minutes later + 10 minutes in the fridge…Voila! I read a microwave could help but I don’t have one.

No toasted cashews but raw only: I measured a heaping ¾ cup of raw cashews (equals ¾ cup chopped) by tossing them with ½ tsp olive oil and ¼ tsp sea salt and baking for 7-9 minutes at 325°.

Download the recipe here

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