Buko pandan is a sweet and refreshing Filipino dessert made of coconut, pandan-infused gelatine and sweetened cream. Comes together easily, served cold, perfect for special occasions or on a sweltering summer day.
Add pandan leaves to a pot filled with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the pandan leaves then add the gelatine. Stir to dissolve and bring the mixture to a boil again. Follow package instructions.
Pour gelatine into an 8x8 baking pan or dish and allow to cool and set. When ready, cut into ½-1 inch cubes.
In a small bowl, stir condensed milk and table cream until combined.
In a larger bowl, add the rest of the ingredients: shredded coconut, tapioca pearls and your cubed gelatine. Pour half of your milk mixture and stir. At this point, you'll want to taste your buko pandan to see how much more milk and cream you want to add. Add in small increments until you get the sweetness and consistency you desire.
Chill at least an hour before serving (see notes). Optional: top with ice cream!
If you can’t find fresh pandan leaves, you can use frozen. You just need to thaw and wash thoroughly before using. Also, you can opt to use pandan extract. Just add a few drops to the water you're using to make gelatine. Adjust to taste. You can use both leaves and extract as well, for a stronger pandan flavour.
I usually buy green gelatine (like the one below) because buko pandan dessert is traditionally green but you can buy whatever colour and brand you like.
Coconut meat is sold typically frozen too so you’d need to thaw, wash and drain. When buying these, note that the weight printed on the package won’t be the actual amount of coconut meat you’re going to get in the end. So it’s best to buy extra.
You can certainly cook your own tapioca but I always buy prepared ones sold in bottles (like below). I just make sure to drain the syrup thoroughly.
Buko pandan will be ready to eat once it's cold, so an hour in the fridge should be fine. However, we prefer to chill it overnight. I guess it depends on how much time you have in advance to prepare it.