The latest MacTweets challenge asked for a combination of fruit and spice in a macaron. I had been thinking of testing out a pandan (screwpine) mac for a while now. I love the smell and flavor of pandan, even though I've never actually seen or tried the leaves, and only purchased the bright green paste at Asian stores.
It's very similar to vanilla but more grassy--that's about the only way I can really describe it. It's commonly grown in Asian countries and very often paired with coconut. It can be made sweet or savory, and I really enjoy a delicious pandan chiffon cake. If you can get your hands on the paste or the leaves, I highly recommend it!
Pandan reminds me of my Thai roommate in college who was the first to introduce me to the paste. This is a very Thai macaron in tribute to her!
Although I'm not a huge fan of coconut in desserts, it tastes so much better to me when combined with pandan. Or it may be more the texture of coconut in desserts that I dislike, I'm not sure...
I made a ginger cream cheese filling that turned out rather delicious. The combination of the three flavors really worked well! I also swapped the almond and the powdered sugar ratio to make it slightly less sweet.
Pandan Coconut Macarons w/Ginger Filling
Makes about 15
2 large egg whites
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pandan paste
5 tbs granulated sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbs ground coconut
Beat the egg whites with the 5 tbs of granulated sugar and the pinch of salt for about 10 minutes, until it gets glossy and sticky. You should be able to hold the bowl over your head without the egg whites moving an inch!
Pour the batter into a piping bag with a round tip. Lay out a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Hold the bag perpendicular to the mat a couple inches above and pipe out circles. Leave space between each to allow the macaron to spread!
Leave the mat out for at least 20 minutes and then bake at 280 degrees F for 16 minutes.
Let cool before taking off the sheets and filling.
8 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ginger (add more according to taste)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Beat the heavy whipping cream in a bowl till you achieve stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, beat all the other ingredients till well combined. Then fold in the heavy whipping cream till it's all combined.