Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pandan Coconut Ice Cream

Pandan, have you ever heard of it? Growing up, I ate many sweets flavored with Pandan, although I didn't really learn what it was until my early 20s. It is a common flavor used in Southeast Asian desserts, similarly to how Vanilla is used in most American baked goods. If you have ever been into an Asian bakery and seen bright green cakes and such, that gorgeous green hue is attributable to Pandan. I ate many green desserts as a child but honestly never knew what that distinct flavor was and always just thought the green color was from food coloring to make things more exciting.

However, in my adult years I started to see trendy Asian restaurants serving Pandan flavored desserts, and not until then did I realize I had been eating Pandan my whole life. My sister and I started to become obsessed with ordering beignets with pandan ice cream at one of our local sushi restaurants in Houston. Now that I live in Austin, I don't get to enjoy those delicious pillowy beignets and ice cream. When my sister decided to pay me a visit last weekend, we decided to make our own pandan ice cream! Great decision!

Pandan Coconut Ice Cream, adapted from America's Test Kitchen
(makes approximately 1 quart)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3/4 cup whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, split
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. Pandan paste

Directions:
(1) Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set the bowl in a larger container of ice water. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar together until smooth. Set both bowls aside.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Art of Perfecting Macarons

Bright Pink Beauties!
Sometimes you fail, and it happens to everybody, don't let it get the best of you. Macarons are one of those things that I thought I would never get right... Two years and three attempts later, I finally have hope that maybe I can get it right. Yes, two years. Every time that I failed, it was a blow to my ego. I know that I said don't let it get the best of you, but it did steal a little from my motivation each time I failed. But then like everything, the feeling passed and I was ready to give it another go. I have to admit, I documented each journey of macaron failure with the thought that I would never get to share my progress.

I am extremely happy to say that I made such progress today with this batch of macarons that I just had to share the bad and ugly along with the good.

Attempt #1: Cracked shells, No feet, and Hollow

Attempt #2: No feet and Hollow (Yay, no cracks!)

Attempt #3: No cracks, with feet but Hollow (Yay, no cracks and WITH feet!!!)
1. Cracked, No feet and Hollow, 2. No feet and Hollow, 3. Hollow

Now, I must learn to battle the Hollows.
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