Pandan and coconut macaron recipe

Posted on June 6, 2011

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 2 years, you would know that the nation’s love affair for the little French confectionery is near fever pitch. They’re even more fashionable than cupcakes. People will line up for these delicious little sweets! I think it’s fair to say that we can all blame Masterchef. Ever since this ratings monster showcased the macaron, we have been won over. But with these treats costing up to $4 each, I can only justify my indulgence once in a blue moon. Unless of course, I make my own…

I know what most of you are thinking, is it worth the effort? Yes, it is. Again, thanks to Masterchef, the making of a macaron seems like an insurmountable task. How many of those top 20 amateur chefs have been booted out of the competition from a macaron challenge (a la Adriano Zumbo’s macaron tower)? The judges talking up the difficulty of the task surely doesn’t help. I too, was fearful of attempting these formidable sweets. Luckily for me, I had the guidance of a dear friend who’d trialled a few recipes before. And now, having come through the baking experience with yummy macarons to munch on, I urge you to give it a go.

It really isn’t half as hard as they make it out to be on tv. Of course, if you want picture perfect macarons for retail purposes, that would be a different story…but for the average home cook, slight imperfections in presentation should be the battle wounds we’re proud of!

The great thing about macarons is that the flavour combinations can be up to your imagination. We opted for pandan and coconut and its inside out counterpart for our two batches. This flavour combination is much loved across South East Asia. For those unaware, pandan (aka screwpine in North America) is tropical plant based flavouring. Its use in SE Asia is akin to how vanilla is typically used.

The following recipes has been adapted from various sources on the net and follows the French method. We found that online recipes tended to make far too much filling, so we halved the quantity and it’s reflected in the below recipe. Making the batter is the tricky bit, because you need to have decent folding skills in order to combine the ingredients without knocking out too much air from the egg whites. Also, it’s a test of patience, there’s quite a lot of waiting around for things to settle and cool. Otherwise, it really is just a matter of perfecting your piping techniques to get your macarons as pretty as a picture. Quite evidently, I’m not there yet.

RECIPE – Coconut casing with pandan filling macarons

Coconut macaron batter:

  • 1 cup pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dessicated coconut (I’m not sure if it’s a big no no to introduce a coarse ingredient into the batter, but whatever the case, it worked out well for me. I’ve made coconut meringue before and that’s why I decided to use dessicated coconut instead of coconut essence. Just be careful of the coconut burning, ours turned a rather golden brown.)
  1. Combine icing sugar and almond meal. Get rid of any lumps (I used a mini food processor for this, but sifting the ingredients a couple of times will also work). Then mix in the coconut.
  2. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form then start adding in white sugar one tablespoon at a time until whites are firm and glossy.
  3. Add half the dry mixture to whites and gently fold with spatula. Fold in the rest of the dry mixture.
  4. You should have a sticky paste to work with. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out little rounds (~3-4cm discs) on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 160°C while the batter is resting.
  6. Bake in oven for 10 minutes on 160°C. (Nb. most recipes recommend 12-15 minutes on 180°C, but this over cooked my first batch. You might need to play around a bit before you find the perfect heat and time combination for your oven.)
  7. Leave to cool. When completely cooled, you can fill them.

Pandan filling:

  • 1/4 cup of thickened cream
  • 60grams white chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon of pandan paste (Pandan paste is thicker than pandan essence and is generally regarded as having a more superior flavour. You can find bottles in Asian grocers. The one I was using has a very bright green colour – think slime green.)
  1. Heat cream in small saucepan until near boiling.
  2. Add white chocolate into the hot cream to melt. (I had to hold the saucepan a bit above the flame to keep it warm enough to melt all the chocolate. Don’t leave the pan on direct heat though as it may burn your mixture.)
  3. Add in pandan paste.
  4. Leave to cool and thicken.

And now the inverse…

RECIPE – Pandan casing with coconut filling macarons

Pandan macaron batter:

  • 1 cup pure icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons white sugar
  • Up to 1 tablespoon of pandan paste (Adjust flavouring to your own tastes, we preferred a strong flavour. If using pandan essence you’ll probably need to use more as the flavour isn’t as intense as the paste.)
  1. Combine icing sugar and almond meal. Get rid of any lumps (I used a mini food processor for this, but sifting the ingredients a couple of times will also work).
  2. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form then start adding in white sugar one tablespoon at a time until whites are firm and glossy. Add the pandan paste with the last tablespoon of sugar.
  3. Add half the dry mixture to whites and gently fold with spatula. Fold in the rest of the dry mixture.
  4. You should have a sticky paste to work with. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out little rounds (~3-4cm discs) on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 160°C while the batter is resting.
  6. Bake in oven for 10 minutes on 160°C. (Nb. most recipes recommend 12-15 minutes on 180°C, but this over cooked my first batch. You might need to play around a bit before you find the perfect heat and time combination for your oven.)
  7. Leave to cool. When completely cooled, you can fill them.

Coconut filling:

  • 1/4 cup of thickened cream
  • 60grams white chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut essence (The filling didn’t turn out as coconutty as we’d hoped, next time I think I’ll substitute a bit of the cream for coconut cream instead.)
  1. Heat cream in small saucepan until near boiling.
  2. Add white chocolate into the hot cream to melt. (I had to hold the saucepan a bit above the flame to keep it warm enough to melt all the chocolate. Don’t leave the pan on direct heat though as it may burn your mixture.)
  3. Add in coconut essence.
  4. Leave to cool and thicken.

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