Cooking with… Rachel of The Pleasure Monger

The first time I had chendol, a South East Asian dessert, was late last year, when I was treated to dinner at Empire Café at the Raffles Hotel. This delicious shaved ice/coconut milk/palm sugar/green jelly concoction is a heady mix of flavors and textures and unlike anything I’ve tasted before. Die die must try, indeed.

Today, I am so excited to have Rachel from The Pleasure Monger share her brilliant recipe for chendol macarons with you! Rachel is a Singaporean, now based in London, and we “met” over a few Tweets. Our 140 character missives turned into longer emails and we quickly discovered quite a bit in common, including our love for a certain French confection.

Over to Rachel…

o o o o o

I’ve just returned from a short trip back to Singapore. In those few weeks, I did the hawker circuit and blazed an eating trail ’round anywhere and everywhere on the island. Above all, I tucked into desserts whose authenticity can’t be vouched for in the Singaporean/Malaysian restaurants that have sprouted all over London.

One of the prized sweets that love very much is chendol, a traditional dessert that is made of shaved ice and chendol (a type of jelly made of green bean flour), flavoured with pandan and drenched in palm sugar and coconut milk. My absolute favourite chendol can be found at the famous Penang Road in Pulau Pinang, the Malaysian island that my mum grew up on. Since I am feeling rather homesick, it seems befitting to work up chendol macarons for notabilia.

I am by no means an expert in making chendol. Truth be told, I’ve never made it before. What I did here was infuse the flavours of chendol into the macaron filling. To mimic the texture of the chendol jelly and flavours of the dessert, I made a coconut milk, pandan and palm sugar jelly, cut it into cubes and carried them in the macaron with a coconut buttercream. I also added a touch of salt to bring out the unique flavour of this traditional dessert. The smooth and light coconut buttercream gave way to sudden bursts of chendol flavours, which was playful and quite seductive on the palette. They certainly cured my homesickness for as long as the macarons existed.

Chendol Macarons

For the macaron shells (makes 50 shells) (adapted from heavenwildfleur):
100g egg white, aged
3g egg white powder
90g caster sugar
140g almond flour
160g icing sugar
Edible gold lustre (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder until soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.
4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Then fold the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.
5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking.
6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.
7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.
8. Lightly brush the shells with a little bit of edible gold lustre to give it a nice sheen.

For the coconut buttercream:
200g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
70ml coconut cream (the part that settles on top of the can when can of coconut milk is left to stand for a few days in the fridge)
2/3 tablespoons caster sugar

1. Beat butter and icing sugar until creamy.
2. Whip coconut cream and caster sugar until cream turns slightly frothy, and add this to the buttercream form Step 1. Beat until smooth.

For the chendol-flavoured jelly:
60ml water
20g palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon pandan extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons coconut cream
1 tablespoon gelatin

1. Heat water, palm sugar, pandan extract and salt in a saucepan until sugar dissolves.
2. Add coconut cream to saucepan, followed by gelatin and stir until gelatin is dissolved
3. Pour into suitably sized containers (I used 2 ramekins with 5-cm diameter) to create jellies that are slightly less than 1 cm thick. Cool, then refrigerate to set.

Assembling the macarons:
1. Butter two shells with a thin layer of the coconut buttercream
2. Add 4-5 cubes of chendol-flavoured jelly to one filled shell.
3. Sandwich, and you’re done!

o o o o o

Rachel has many more incredibly inventive macaron recipes on her blog. Don’t miss her Lime and Coconut Macarons, Lychee Mascarpone and Emperor’s Seven Treasures Macarons, and Matcha and Adzuki Bean Macarons. Watch out, Pierre Hermé!

I welcome recipes from Singapore and beyond for Cooking with…. Priority is given to original recipes that have not yet appeared online. Please indicate if your recipe has already appeared online or has been submitted elsewhere. Please email all recipes, including high-quality .jpgs, to me with the subject line ‘Recipes.’

(Additional credits: Photographs by Rachel of The Pleasure Monger; geometric watercolor pattern via August Empress.)

11 responses

  1. Delicious sounding and mouth watering photos. I will have to walk this recipe over to Silver Moon Bakery and put in a special request. Yum, yum, yummy.

    Have you ever tried making macarons, notabilia? The very thought intimidates me.

  2. @literarysafari, no. At least not yet. Though @pleasure_monger assures me that it’s not that difficult. I agree with you. Macarons seem so… temperamental.

  3. @notabilia: Thanks for inviting me to pen this post! It was really fun to come up with a new recipe and to see it come to fruition. To answer your question on aged egg whites, these are just egg whites that have been left uncovered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

    @literarysafari: Glad you like the recipe and photos!

  4. The blogsphere will be horrified at this, but I tried macarons for the first time only yesterday…while I was running some errands in Hong Kong. I must have picked up a good place though since after having two I kept craving for more and more, it’s been a long time I haven’t tasted such a delicious sweet. And these look yummy too! I hope I’ll learn how to make them one day…

  5. I’m so envious that your macarons turned out so pretty. I’ve only been successful maybe two times out of like, nine. I need to keep trying! I bet your chendol ones taste delicious!

  6. @bookjunkie: Thank you! It’s my dream to get featured in a coffee table book one day…

    @yixiao: Thanks!

    @Mariella: Glad you tried them, I hope you will make them one day too!

    @tabithaong Thank you, just keep practising! You will get there.

    @Trudi: Thanks! Nothing like being homesick to inspire such creations =)

  7. This is amazing. I am searching for Asian favoured macarons. So far, I have tasted macarons with salted eye, macarons with kaya, sesame macarons, pandan macarons. I heard someone is trying out macarons with durian. Wow.