Easy Holiday Recipe: Pan de Coco Variations

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I'm really glad so many of you have tried out my original Pan de Coco recipe. If you've seen my Instagram, you know that I did a couple of variations and I want to share those with you here. These variations are PERFECT for your holiday dessert plans!

I made a couple of slight changes to this dough build to compensate for the additional flavors that are going to be included. Since I'm adding some sweetened custard and caramelized pineapple, I decided to decrease the sugar content in the dough mix as well as increasing the amount of coconut milk and decreasing the amount of water. I have also had success with using coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, so I made a note that any of these options are fine to use.


The first variation is shaped into a ball and baked in muffin tins or on a sheet pan. The second variation is shaped into six balls but placed together in a tin loaf. The caramelized pineapple filling is piped into the crevices before baking as well as spread over the top.


What You'll Need For levain build. (This will build extra levain)

85 grams Mature Sourdough Starter

50 grams King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour

150 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour

170 grams Warm Water


What You'll Need (for Custard)

4 Egg Yolks

3/4 Can Coconut Milk

100 grams powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Dark Rum


What You'll Need (for caramelized pineapple)

100 Grams Brown Sugar

1/2 Whole Pineapple, cubed



What You'll Need (Final Mix)

225 grams King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour

225 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour

100 grams Water

200 grams Organic Coconut Milk (canned is fine)

200 grams levain from the build above

60 grams Shredded Coconut

28 grams Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or Unsalted Butter (softened)

14 grams Sugar

10 grams Kosher Salt

Semi-Sweet Chocolate bits for topping

Toasted Coconut flakes for topping


Mixing Process

  1. Warm the coconut milk and the water slightly, on the stovetop or in the microwave is fine. Combine into a bowl.

  2. Add the levain and dissolve into the warm coconut and water mixture.

  3. Use your hands to mix in all other ingredients until incorporated. Turn it out onto the countertop and knead with your palm until it is smooth.

  4. Let this mixture ferment in the bowl for 5 or 6 hours. You don't need to stretch and fold this dough. Instead, you are looking for an increase in volume and a nice, smooth surface. If you don't want to bake on the same day, you can put the bowl in the fridge and let it continue to ferment in a cold environment for up to 12 hours and then move on to the next step.

  5. After you're done with your initial fermentation, it's time to shape and proof. Flour your work surface and dump out your dough.

  6. Divide into 6 pieces and shape them into balls. You can put these into a tin loaf squeezed together in three rows of two, or you can put them each into their own sections of a muffin tin. You can grease your tins with coconut oil or butter. Let this proof for about 3-4 hours.

  7. Use this time to make the custard and caramelized pineapple filling.

  8. For the custard: Start by putting the coconut milk to simmer in a pan on low heat. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. When the milk is slightly bubbling at the sides, remove from heat and pour a splash into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously. Now, slowly transfer the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the coconut milk and whisk for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Once it's thick, add as much rum as your heart desires, and whisk a bit more. I don't like to cook off too much of the alcohol, to be honest. Let this cool until it's time to pipe it into the dough.

  9. For the caramelized pineapple: In a pan, add the cubed half pineapple and brown sugar on medium heat. Stir this for a while until it begins to bubble and thicken. It will take about 10-15 minutes. I prefer mine borderline burnt, so feel free to push it to the limit.

  10. 30 Minutes before the proof is complete, preheat your oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

  11. Once the loaf is done proofing, baste with coconut oil and put your fillings into a piping bag. Don't worry, I used a ziplock bag and cut the corner to improvise because I don't care to have piping bags. Top with a liberal amount of shredded coconut.

  12. You can choose to keep the two fillings separate or mix them together. I opted to pipe the custard into the separate muffin tin balls before and after baking. That way there is a texture of baked custard as well as a bit more creamy. For the tin loaf, I opted to combine the fillings and pipe it into the crevices and spread some over the top.

  13. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. You may need to rotate your pan halfway through the bake.

  14. Top your loaf with more shredded coconut and chocolate as desired. you can also pipe some extra custard.

  15. Remember this bread is BEST when eaten hot out of the oven. Enjoy.