sample recipe

An example of some aspects of my food consulting work: a recipe that I have created, cooked, styled and photographed. Text and photo © Christopher Tan. Reproduction or use without permission is strictly forbidden.

Thai-style baked pumpkin with coconut custard
My adaptation of the traditional Thai dessert fak thong sankaya, coconut custard steamed in a whole hollowed-out pumpkin. I prefer to halve the pumpkin and steam-bake it instead, so that the custard ends up with a slightly caramelised top.


1 small Asian brown-skinned pumpkin, about 15 to 16 cm across

200 ml medium-thick coconut milk

125 g palm sugar, chopped up, or light brown sugar

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp salt


1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/ 320 degrees F. Set a cake tin filled with hot water on the bottom shelf.

2) Halve pumpkin horizontally. Scrape out seeds and fibres with a sharp-edged spoon, leaving walls about 2 cm thick. Place pumpkin halves in a roasting tin: if necessary, trim their undersides so that they sit firmly, without rocking.

3) Combine coconut milk, palm sugar and salt in a non-stick saucepan. Stir over medium heat until very hot and sugar has dissolved. Taste it: it should be just very slightly too sweet.

4) Combine eggs and egg yolk in a mixing bowl. Pour in hot coconut milk gradually, whisking constantly just until smooth. Strain mixture into pumpkin halves, filling them to the brim.

5) Bake pumpkin halves on the middle shelf for 45-55 minutes or until custards are just set - their surfaces should be lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into their centres should emerge damp but clean. Serve warm or chilled, cut into wedges. (Do not eat pumpkin skin.)