No, I haven’t abandoned this blog so early on though friends have been lamenting the apparent short lifespans of blogs I have started previously. The past month (of pregnancy) went past in a haze as I rushed for days in a row to complete a number of larger orders of macarons. Though thankful for the support, I’m also aware that I had overexerted myself. I’m grateful to slow down now and start preparing for the arrival of the little tiger girl.
The adrenalin rush that accompanied the incredulous amount of macaron baking has inspired me to toy around with flavours once again. Missing home from a few thousand kilometres away, simply smelling something familiar brings about smiles.
Pandan has always been a favourite flavour of mine. Wherever pandan appears as a flavour, it’ll be the default choice. The most memorable fusion dessert I have tasted was at Town Cafe (Fullerton Hotel). They served a divine pandan panna cotta. With that in mind, I set out to create a pandan coconut macaron.
Forget pandan paste or flavour from bakery supply shops. I have tried all that they have to offer and sadly, I have yet to find one which is anywhere close to the original flavour from pandan leaves.
The critical task, then, is to produce a suitable flavour paste for the buttercream. Pandan leaves were ground with water in a blender. Using a disposable soup bag, the juice was then extracted and heated. In order to thicken the juice, I added cornstarch. The resulting paste was potent – full flavoured but bitter. I thought that since the buttercream is sweet, I wouldn’t add sugar to the pandan paste lest the filling becomes unbearably sweet. Regretably, the bitterness couldn’t be disguised.
Another portion of pandan paste was made again, this time, with sugar. The resulting buttercream filling tasted much better. The pandan fragrance is however light and lacking. I recall at this point that nyonya kueh recipes always pair pandan and coconut. They must complement each other in a special way. So, into the buttercream went a couple spoonfuls of dessicated coconut. Indeed, now the pandan flavour is more discernible.
Having tasted Ladurée macarons recently, I’m further inspired to create a pandan coconut ganache the next time round. Their coconut macaron is full of bite and flavour; reminds me of coconut tarts from old-time bakeries.
I can’t wait to experiment further with local flavours. Next on my mind – a mix reminiscent of chendol. Let’s see… pandan, coconut, gula melaka. Mmmm….