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Butter dreams and sweet passion: a home baker's diary

Romel Lapay


Words by: Mye Mulingtapang

Slovenia—Romel Lapay doesn’t consider himself a pastry chef but rather a hobbyist and a home baker. He still recalls how he was always mesmerized when the host opens a packet of butter although he didn’t have any idea of what it was back then.

"Ang naiisip ko lang lage is, may butter ang mayayaman at makakabili din ako n'yan balang araw! Funny right?"

rommel lapay

Fast forward to today, he has loads of butter in his fridge at home.

Romel did not have formal training and has never attended pastry school. His first exposure to baking was in 2002 working in a school canteen in the capital of Bohol. He learned how to make basic bread and chiffon cake out of curiosity. A few months after he found himself making a wedding cake. When he discovered the internet, he watched YouTube videos to get ideas. He read recipes in books and magazines. He even collected milk and pineapple can labels containing recipes. But he went on a baking hiatus for almost 10 years due to his work abroad and only reconnected with what he loves most in the spring of 2019.

malunggay pandesal
naked ube cake

Pastry is precision, but also inventiveness and creativity. After moving to Slovenia, he learned to incorporate the basic way of making well-loved Filipino bread with the European touch, think of brioche making, precise and meticulous, elegant and chic.


Certainly it is important to know the basics of pastry and to study how these have been used differently from country to country, from region to region even in Slovenia. In the kitchen, his greatest passion has always been to create and experiment with something new, especially in the confectionery sector improving his techniques and methods with practice.

"I am very traditional in most ways. I love Pan de Sal from plain to ube flavored with cheese filling. I love Pan de Coco and ensaymada too!"

Over the years he has developed and continuously improved his signature carrot cake and pan de coco recipes.

Romel has a vision board and sketch of his dream bakery,  a tiny but very homey feel with a wide glass window that will showcase his great passion for decorated cakes, sweets, and everything related to the world of baking.

With a pinch of pride and satisfaction, his cakes and bread are the results of a lot of effort, time, tests, and many hours of practice. All this allowed him to obtain good self-taught results.

Buko Pandan Pie

Author: Romel Lapay


Flaky Crust

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • tspn fine slat
  • 250 grams unsalted and cold butter, cut into small cubes or 1 block
  • 5-7 tbsp cold water

Buko Pandan Pie Filling

  • 540 grams fresh young coconut meat, cut into bite sizes (or 2 cans young coconut meat, drained)*
  • 150 grams light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 pcs large eggs
  • ½ tspn fine salt
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 330 ml coconu water
  • tspn Buco Pandanness
  • 76 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 pc beaten egg for eggwash


Flaky Pie Crust Dough

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Do a little mixing using your hand. Add in the cubed butter and toss until all butter pieces are coated with flour. 
  • Gently rub the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of walnut halves. 
  • Make a well in the center and gradually add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix just until the dough comes together. Be careful not to add too much water.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 1/8 inch thick using a rolling pin. Transfer to a 10-inches pie plate, trim the excess using a scissor but leave an inch overlap around the edge of the pie dish. Poke the bottom with a fork. Place the prepared pie dish in the fridge while making the filling. Wrap again the remaining pastry dough, chill.


  • In a medium pot, combine sugar, cornstarch, eggs, salt, and whisk. Pour in the coconut water and the heavy cream. Whisk again until well incorporated and smooth. Add in the Buco Pandanness extract. Whisk again.
  • Bring to the stove and cook the mixture using medium heat until lightly thicken only with constant mixing or stirring using a whisk. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and continue whisking until the butter has fully melted into the mixture. Then mix in the young coconut meat (see NOTES***). Switch into a rubber scraper or spatula to properly fold the coconut meat and the custard mixture. Set aside to cool completely.


  • Take out the prepared pie dish.
  • Pour the coconut filling into the pie shell. Level off. Place in the fridge while making the top crust.
  • Roll the remaining dough with one (1) inch overlapping of your pie dish. Place over the filling, trim, tuck, and seal. Crimp the edges. Chill for a few minutes. You can pre-heat your oven at this point.
  • Beat an egg. Take out the pie dish, brush the egg wash over the crust. Cut slits on top. Ready for baking.


  • Bake the pie in a pre-heated oven at 175° Celsius with the fan on for 40-45 minutes. Actual baking time may vary depending on the pie dish you will be using.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely in a wire rack. Cut into slices and serve. Share and enjoy!



1.) COCONUT MEAT – I strongly suggest using fresh and young coconut meat to maximize the flavor and better texture of your pie filling. If you are like me who doesn't have access, you can use those canned young coconut meat.
2.) CANNED COCONUT – They are on the firmer side. If you want to soften them a bit, double the amount of your coconut water to cook your canned coconut meat for a few minutes. Let it cool first then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the stove again to slowly cook the custard just until lightly thickened.
3.) BUTTER – For making the pie crust, make sure that it is cold. You can cut it into small squares in advance and place it again in the fridge. Take it out only when ready to start making the pie dough.
4.) HEAVY CREAM – If not available, you can use evaporated milk instead.
Recipe made with
Buco Pandanness
buco pandanness 20ml
Have you tried this?

or directly send an email to customerservice@pamanafoods.com

Tip! Our flavorings are highly concentrated, enjoy more by shaking them before use and storing them at normal room temperature. (Do not store in a refrigerator nor in a cold place. )

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