• Coconut heaven   (The Chefs' Line)Source: The Chefs' Line

Almost all the desserts in Vietnam use some form of coconut and this unique treat is exactly as it's named - coconut heaven. Coconut balls, a coconut buttercream frosting and passionfruit sauce to cut through it all. The Chefs' Line






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (26 votes)


  • 250 g caster sugar
  • edible purple flowers, to serve 

Coconut balls

  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g (2¼ cups) desiccated coconut, plus extra for coating 

Coconut buttercream frosting

  • 300 ml thickened cream 
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk 
  • 30 g (¼ cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Passionfruit sauce

  • 6 passionfruit, pulp removed
  • 110 g (½ cup) white sugar
  • 2 star anise

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the coconut balls, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whisk the egg white, sugar and vanilla extract until well combined. Add the desiccated coconut and stir to combine well. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, then place on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly coloured.

Meanwhile, for the coconut buttercream frosting, place all the ingredients in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.

For the passionfruit sauce, strain the passionfruit pulp through a fine sieve. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and star anise and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

For the caramel cage, melt the sugar in a saucepan over high heat until it reaches 150˚C on a sugar thermometer. Set aside to cool slightly. Using a spoon, drizzle the hot caramel in a zig-zag fashion over the base of a lightly oiled ladle. When hard, carefully remove the cage from the ladle and repeat with the remaining caramel to make 4 cages in total, warming it over the heat if necessary.

To serve, spread each coconut ball in the coconut buttercream frosting to coat well, then roll in the extra desiccated coconut to cover. Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag and pipe onto the centre of each plate. Top with a coconut ball and drizzle over the passionfruit syrup. Place a sugar cage on top and scatter with edible purple flowers.


This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!