Pumpkin Sangkaya (Thai Pumpkin Custard)

Thai coconut pumpkin custard

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
504 Calories
19g Fat
75g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 504
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 279mg 93%
Sodium 138mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 72g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 66mg 5%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 338mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This special Thai dessert is spectacular to look at and wonderful to eat. Makes a great Halloween or Thanksgiving dessert recipe and a nice alternative to pumpkin pie. Don't be put off by the long baking time—it's actually a really easy recipe to make!

A small pumpkin (or pumpkin-like squash) is filled with this easy version of sangkaya. This recipe happens to be a bit healthier and lower-calorie version than traditional custard. Serve warm with a splash of maple syrup or brandy and a cup of strong tea or coffee.


  • 1 pumpkin or winter squash, 6 to 7 in. tall by 8 to 9 in. wide

  • 9 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Maple syrup, for serving

  • Brandy, or liqueur, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gather the ingredients for Thai pumpkin custard
    The Spruce
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  3. Wash and dry the pumpkin or squash. Cut a "lid" in the top, as you would do in order to carve a jack-o-lantern. Slice off the seedy part, so that you're left with a clean lid or hat. Set aside.

    Cut a "lid" in the top
    The Spruce
  4. Scoop out the seeds and "guts" of the pumpkin. Save seeds to roast or discard.

    Scoop out the seeds and "guts" of the pumpkin
    The Spruce
  5. Break eggs into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or whisk, beat by hand until fluffy, about 1 minute.

    Break open eggs
    The Spruce
  6. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and half the sugar. Beat again for 1 minute, or until well mixed.

    Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and half the sugar
    The Spruce
  7. Add remaining sugar, stirring to dissolve into the egg mixture. Note: This may seem like too much sugar, but the custard does need to be sweet in order to compensate for the slightly bitter taste of the pumpkin.

    Add remaining sugar
    The Spruce
  8. Pour or ladle the egg mixture into the pumpkin. If you spill some on the outside of the pumpkin, wipe it away with a cloth. Fill to about 1/2 inch from the top of the rim. The egg mixture will rise a little out of the opening.

    Pour mixture into pumpkin
    The Spruce
  9. Set the pumpkin and the lid beside it in a roasting pan. Pour a little water (1/4 to 1/2 inch) into the bottom of the pan. Carefully place in oven. Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Set lid aside
    The Spruce
  10. After 45 minutes, the lid should be soft and cooked. Remove from oven and set aside.

    Lid should be soft
    The Spruce 
  11. After an hour, you should see the custard rising like a bubble out of the pumpkin. After 90 minutes, or when the custard appears firm, try inserting a long cake tester down into the custard—it should come out clean. If the custard hasn't set, or if the pumpkin/squash is still too firm to eat, return to oven and bake another 15 minutes.

    The Spruce
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes.

    Remove from oven
    The Spruce 
  13. Using your hands, lift the pumpkin out and place on a plate. The pumpkin can be sliced and eaten when cool enough. Note: The custard may "drop" a little—this is normal.

    Thai pumpkin custard
    The Spruce
  14. To serve, replace the lid of the pumpkin, or set it slightly askew so you can see the custard. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the pumpkin into slices and place them on serving plates (it is especially nice served warm). Pour a little maple syrup over each piece. If desired, you can also pour over a little brandy or other favorite liqueur. Another nice topping favorite of mine is caramel sauce.

Recipe Tags: