Biscuit Japonais a la coconut

March 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Gregoire Michaud in Daily life... | Recipes

During my apprenticeship (many moons ago) one very popular petit gateau was called Japonais, which literally translates in English as “Japanese”.

The other day, I was reading random tweets and found one speaking of that very same Japonais pastry. I was so surprised that someone actually still talks about it! I did a quick search and couldn’t find anything about this sort of pastries outside Switzerland. Maybe it’s just the name that is used in Switzerland. I also tried to look for the etymology of the word “Japonais” or “Japanese” in the pastry field, but to no avail – everything is related to the great art of traditional Japanese pastry.

The name and origin of biscuit Japonais will remain a mystery to me…

That pastry was made of light almond meringues, filled with a praline butter cream. Back then it was delicious and seen as a total delicacy, I still remember making dozens of them every day… but that brings us back 20 years ago! Today, I think there are still potential to work out something delicious with the biscuit Japonais, but not loaded with the partner in crime of cupcakes, the odd butter cream! This time around, I have been thinking about using toasted coconut instead of almonds and to prepare a light and fruity filling for the finish.

Before starting the biscuit, I worked on the filling. I wanted something exotic, something that could fit our upcoming afternoon tea selection and be fresh. Knowing I had to work with the coconut, I prepared a light coconut and lime cream as well as a mango and fresh coriander (yay!) filling.

To start, I prepared the mango filling using mango puree, fresh diced mangoes from the Philippines, some freshly chopped coriander and a bit of xanthan gum to obtain the right runny texture. That’s right, runny! I mixed it and froze it as a tray. Once hard, I cut little rings that were to be set in the coconut and lime cream.

The mango and coriander, frozen in a disc

Mango coriander filling

  • 120 gm mango dice
  • 300 gm mango puree
  • 3 gm fresh coriander
  • 2 gm xanthan gum


  • Mix the mango puree with the xanthan gum and blend until it thickens
  • Add the mango dices and the chopped coriander
  • Pour in a tray to obtain a 1 cm thick layer and freeze
  • Once set, cut little discs

The frozen mangoes cut into small discs


Next, I prepared the coconut and lime cream…

  • 200 gm coconut milk
  • 10 gm white sugar
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 160 gm whipped cream
  • 7 gm gelatin leaves


  • Soften the gelatin leaves in cold water
  • Melt the sugar in the coconut milk and add melt in the soften gelatin
  • Squeeze the lime juice in and fold into the whipped cream
  • Allow setting a little and pipe in round molds

The frozen mango placed in the coconut cream which will be covered by more cream to encase the mangoes

Finally, I prepared the famous coconut Japonais!

  • 250 grams of egg whites
  • 100 grams white sugar

> Whip as a meringue

  • 250 grams dried coconut
  • 300 grams white sugar

> Mix the dried coconut and the sugar and fold it in the whipped egg whites carefully

> Pipe in round shape on the paper drawn with circles

> Bake at 180C for about 15 minutes – note that it will gain color fairly fast

First, I draw circles on silicon paper and flip it up-side-down not to have ink on my biscuit.

The actual biscuit resemble what we call in pastry a dacquoise sponge, which is literally the same, yet, still no connection with Japonais Biscuit!

Whipping the egg whites

The texture before piping the mixture

Piped in the round circles


I used a round cutter to fit perfectly my coconut insert...


For the finishing, I took out the frozen coconut cream from the molds, made it a little flat using a knife and rolled it in dried coconut. Then I applied two pieces of the Japonais biscuit and left it to thaw.

It could even become a plated dessert with a bit more imagination!

Perfect surprise of a runny mango and coriander filling!

The biscuit could be done with other nuts, the cream and the filling other flavors and the only limit to create is just one’s own mind! :)

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  • Natnatf

    Wow Chef! I really like this summer creation!!!

    Will it be served in the afternoon tea at the Lounge in the summer time?

    Looking forward to trying it!

    Thx so much for sharing this recipe with us :P

    • Gregoire Michaud

      You’re welcome! And yes, we will make it in small size for our afternoon tea soon! :)
      You can try to make it at home, it’s very easy and nice to make for friends and family!

  • Vivianlam1007

    Um..looks yummy! Thai Mango basil would be a nice combination too =)

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Nice idea Vivian! :) I might do that for a Thai themed dessert! *Boggling mind* ;)

  • Celu

    It’s summer, yo!
    Can I substitute xanthan gum with wheat flour?

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Yay!! Summer time is coming soon! :)
      I think if your mango puree is thick enough, you don’t even need to add anything!
      Happy baking! 

  • Thelittleloaf

    Wow! One of these days I’m going to try to recreate one of your recipes…until then I’ll just look on in amazement :-)

    • Gregoire Michaud

       Merci! That one is actually easy to reproduce at home… never mind the xanthan gum! ;)

  • Casperjaarsma

    Coconut? What kind of french-speaker are you? :D Looks good though!

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Casper! I was just practicing my Frenglish here ;)
      Somhow coconut sounded better than Noix de coco.

  • Jessica Leung

    yay! so gonna make this next week!
    Thank you! 

    • Gregoire Michaud

       woot woot! I hope you’ll like it – very easy and super cool to do! :)

  • Azelia Torres

    Like the concept Gregoire, and you’re making me feel old because I remember japonais from my first French pastry books!  You’ve made me think about the similarly of them and the now ubiquitous macarons.

    • Gregoire Michaud

      ahahah! So it implies I’m old too! Or at least I feel like that when I remember the Japonais!
      And yes, very much agree on the macarons ;)

  • Swee San

    Gosh! I want to make this (oh even better if I can just score a plate of it:P )
    I think I’ve learned about Japonaise from pastry school a few years ago, or maybe not. I have goldfish memories lately, I need to check back my notes… 

    • Gregoire Michaud

      They’re easy to make…. and to eat!! ;)
      It seems that Japonais is a legacy of Swiss pastry, but it’s known in other countries (France eheheh) as dacquoise. It will remain a mystery! lol

  • Daisy

    Wow this is so unique! I’ve never heard of japanais before hehe but I’d love to try one~ Are you going to put it on the FS menu? :) 

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Thanks Daisy and yes, it will be featured on our upcoming afternoon tea in small bite size. I think it will bring a clean and fresh touch to the selection. If you drop by, you must try it! :)

  • Hkepicurus

    Is this available on the menu by any chance?   I could so do with this dessert nowadays..  

    • Gregoire Michaud

      It will be soon on our afternoon tea! But not quite yet…
      Will post news when it’s live and sorry to keep you waiting! :)

  • Jeremy

    Bloody genius that!

    • Gregoire Michaud

       ahah!! Thanks Jeremy! ;)

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  • Bob Moss

    They look fantastic! Some lovely photography there.

    I think it may have been me Tweeting about Japonaise Pastry (or Jap Cakes) that set you off!

    • Gregoire Michaud

      YESSSS! Thanks a lot Bob! You’ve awaken years of pastry memory by setting me off down that path! I loved it! :)

  • Anita

    I’m from Switzerland and I miss the japonais of my youth….. Do you have a recipe ?.
    I would love it many thanks

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Hi Anita, Basically, you can use the above coconut japonais recipe and change the coconut by almond powder. Then, the filling of traditional japonais is praline butter cream – that’s it! :)

  • fadila beaufilz

    Je suis tombée sur votre réalisation en parcourant pinterest et j’avoue que je suis bluffée , j’adore . j’ai envie de tester la recette mais je me pose une question, les cercles font quel diamètre ? mercii

    • Gregoire Michaud

      Bonjour Fadila,

      Merci beaucoup pour vos commentaires! :)
      Ce sont de petit cercles d’environ 5 centimetres de diametre. Et pour l’interieur mangue, il faut utiliser un diametre un petit peu plus petit. Voila! :)

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