Sep 15, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Pineapple Seared with Thyme with Tapioca Parfait Wrapped in Pineapple Gelée and Coconut Sorbet

Pineapple Seared with Thyme with Tapioca Parfait Wrapped in Pineapple Gelée and Coconut Sorbet by François Payard.

"François Payard, Owner, François Payard Bakery & François Payard Patisserie in New York and Las Vegas, shares his Pineapple Seared with Thyme with Tapioca Parfait Wrapped in Pineapple Gelée and Coconut Sorbet recipe in the Dessert Trio column."


In's latest issue, the Dessert Trio column features three different dessert perspectives on coconut, from three top pastry chefs, François Payard, Michael Laiskonis and Elizabeth Falkner. Click the following to see recipes and notes by:
Michael Laiskonis | Elizabeth Falkner


Notes: This refreshing dessert was inspired by both Asian and Middle Eastern flavors. A pineapple square is dusted with a mixture of spices that includes thyme, sumac and sesame seeds (in the Middle East, za’atar, as this spice combination is called, is used to flavor a variety of dishes), and then pan-seared, which gives it a succulent, buttery flavor. A sweet, mellow Coconut Sorbet tops the parfait, and the whole thing is served with a pineapple chip and tapioca sauce made with grains of large pearl tapioca.

Yield: 8 servings

Coconut Sorbet:

  • 21 oz/600 g coconut milk
  • 12.34 oz/350 g whole milk
  • 11.6 oz/330 g granulated sugar
  • 3.2 oz/90 g unsweetened desiccated coconut

1. Half fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, whole milk and sugar and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the coconut. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and place the bowl into the prepared ice bath. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until completely cool. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

3. Process the base in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.

Pineapple Gelée:

  • 6 sheets (0.42 oz/12 g) gelatin (silver grade)
  • 15.8 oz/450 g pineapple puree

1. Line a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Half fill a medium bowl with cold water. Add the gelatin sheets and let them soak for 10 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan, heat half of the pineapple puree over medium heat until just hot. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the gelatin, squeezing it to remove the excess water. Add the gelatin to the hot puree and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining puree and stir until blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

Spice Mix:

  • 0.28 oz/8 g dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp ground sumac
  • 2 Tbsp    sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram

Process the spices together in spice grinder until finely ground.

Seared Pineapple:

  • 1 large pineapple
  • Spice Mix (from above)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 oz/85 g simple syrup

1. Cut the peel off the pineapple. Slice the pineapple lengthwise into ½” thick slabs. Cut the slabs into 2 ¼” squares (you will need 8). Sprinkle the squares on both sides with some of the Spice Mix.

2. Place a sauté pan over high heat and add the butter, swirling it until melted. Add the pineapple squares and cook until their bottom sides are well colored. Turn the squares over and add the simple syrup. Continue to cook until the syrup has begun to caramelize and the pineapple is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Tapioca Sauce:

  • 2.1 oz/60 g premium large pearl tapioca, such as Bob’s Red Mill brand
  • 8.8 oz/250 g coconut milk
  • 8.8 oz/250 g heavy cream
  • Seeds of ½ vanilla bean
  • 2.6 oz/75 g granulated sugar
  • 2.1 oz/60 g egg yolks

1. Put the tapioca in a medium bowl and cover it with cold water. Cover the bowl and allow to soak in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or overnight.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, cream, 1.3 oz/37 g of the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Drain the tapioca and set aside. Place the yolks and remaining 1.3 oz/37 g sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until pale. Whisk about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, then return the entire mixture to the saucepan. Add the tapioca and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the tapioca from scorching, for about 20 minutes, or until the tapioca is translucent. Remove the pan from the heat.

Tapioca Parfait:

  • 2 sheets (0.14 oz/4 g) gelatin (silver grade)
  • 10.5 oz/300 g Tapioca Sauce (from recipe above)     
  • 10.5 oz/300 g heavy cream

1. Half fill a medium bowl with cold water and add the gelatin sheets. Let soak for 10 minutes.

2. Place the measured amount of Tapioca Sauce in a small saucepan (reserve the remaining sauce for garnish) and heat over medium-low heat until warm (if it’s already warm, skip this step). Drain the gelatin, squeezing it to remove the excess water, and add it to the sauce. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Transfer the sauce to a medium bowl and cool completely.

3.  Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the tapioca mixture. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a ½” plain tip (Ateco #8). Pipe the parfait mixture onto the sheet pan into long tube shapes, spacing them ½” apart. Place the pan in the freezer until the parfait tubes are firm, at least 2 hours.

4. Cut 5-inch long logs from the tubes. You will need 8 of them. Freeze the logs, loosely covered, until ready to use.   


  • Passion fruit seeds
  • Pineapple Chips, curled around a dowel while warm

1. Using a mandolin or electric slicer, shave a very thin sheet from the frozen pineapple gelee (about a 4”x 8” rectangle) and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Starting with a long side, use the plastic to help roll the gelee around one of the frozen tapioca logs (defrosting it slightly will help the gelee stick). The bottom of the gelee roll should overlap slightly and should form a tight roll. Cut away the excess gelee on the bottom and ends. Use the plastic to wrap the log tightly and freeze again. Repeat with the remaining logs, and allow them to freeze for about 1 hour before serving.

2. Take a square of pineapple and place it in the center of the plate. Cut the frozen parfait logs by trimming the ends and cutting them crosswise in half. Each log should yield two 2 ¼” rolls. Place two logs on the pineapple square. Place a quenelle of Coconut Sorbet on the gelee and garnish with the Pineapple Chip. Decorate the plate with Tapioca Sauce and passion fruit seeds.

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