Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake with Strawberries

This is the Pandan Chiffon Cake version made with home prepared fresh coconut cream and freshly squeezed pandan juice. I find this adventure as fun as Canneles de Bordeaux. Simple ingredients, yet the mixing technique or the baking temp can break the cake.
The recipe is the same as the last posting (from Seadragon). The photo shows the texture of the cake with larger pores than the 1st cake--very fine, pound cake like texture. I forgot to give it a quick snap tap before I put the pan in the oven. The moisture is just as great, however. Taste - great taste! Just the thought that you labored over squeezing the fresh coconuts cream and pandan juice really make the cake taste even better. If I have eggs from home raised chicken will add another plus to the taste bud, especially we are experiencing the Salmonella recalls on eggs.
The memorable part of producing fresh coconut cream and pandan juice this time will stay with me for a long time. Anytime I think about making my own fresh coconut milk/cream, I think about this metal bar coconut shredder tool of Viet-Nam. Well, that was back in the 70's. I don't have the shredder tool nor the time. It is already 8 pm on Thursday evening. I just got back from SF Supermarket in Sacramento after work. I luckily found Pandan leaves - "La Dau" is the descripton on the package. I also picked up Large Taro Root, and Wow! I found Drangon Fruits --- Wow! $3.99 a pound. But I can't possibly pass this chance. I bought two of them - $eleven Bucks!! I hope it will taste good when I try my hand on the Dragon fruit Sherbet bom bom I saw. So, where was I.... yes, the coconuts. I got one 'old' coconut and one 'young' coconut. I enclosed it in a plastic grocery bag and hammered down hard on the 'old' coconut's eyes. Yep! thick white coconut meat. Pour the juice into a bowl, filter it once through a strainer. Then, I used the pairing knife and remove the tough membrane-peel off the white meat. Cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Keep chunks in the juice to keep moist. Wash Pandan leaves thoroughly, cut the bottom steam - about 3 to 4 inches - ** this is my first time working with Pandan, and by 'touch' I find the stem to be quite tough. So I am guessing, like Broccoli or Asparagus to cut back some to the tender point? Cut the leaves into 1 to 2 inches. Add 1/2 C water + Cut Pandan leaves into food processor. Process it till it is .... wait, what's going on? I don't see any juice. It seems that the leaves have drank all the water. I barely see any juice or sqeezeable juice. So, what is going on here? I have the slightest clue because I have never seen this Pandan before nor how it is processed.
      Let me think about this. 
Back to the tool of choice to shred the coconut to produce coconut cream/milk... Of all the tools I have - 
Option 1: I could use the blender and puree it with some of its own juice, then squeeze. 
Option 2: Use the food processor. 
But after some thought, I decided on the "The Juiceman Jr." I might be able to produce the coconut cream and finely shreded coconuts that I can process further to get coconut milk. Bingo! I got the freshest and creamiest thick coconut cream. While it may be risky to use the Juiceman - as the coconut meat is quite hard, I was not sure if the Juiceman's fine shredder teeth could handle it. 
1 'old' coconut + 1/4 C coconut juice produced 175 ml coconut cream and 2 C finely shredded coconut. 
Back to the Pandan leaves. I was not about to give up on $5 worth of 15 Pandan leaves. The Juiceman is the answer. I processed the Pandan leaves with the Juiceman and I got 75 mil of Pandan juice. Whew! but wow! that's all? (I wonder how much do Pandan leaves cost in Malaysia or Singapore.)
Instead of oil, I used 2 oz of soft butter. Chill. The next day, I whip up a pint of heavy whip cream... it is not enough to cover the cake. I should have prepared the pastry cream, additionally. But I have to make a do with it. We enjoyed every bite of the fresh taste of this Chiffon cake.

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