Recently, I was approached by a local grocery retailer to create an international dish with a local twist. With the overwhelming amount of ideas, I finally settled on Pandan Kaya Crème Brûlée. Nothing screams more local than pandan and kaya.
This Asian cousin of French Crème Brûlée is loaded with just the right amount of sugar and that pinch of salt balances out the overall taste perfectly. The decadent crusty top and creamy custard pleases just about every sweet tooth.
The savoury notes of pandan and coconut reminds me of kaya (coconut jam) that permeates with every spoon.
A few tips to achieve the perfect crème brûlée:-
• Strain the custard (a couple times, if necessary) to remove air bubbles
• Baked until the custard has just set, but still jiggly in the centre
• Chill overnight in the fridge
4 pieces pandan leaves – washed and dried, cut into small pieces
4 large egg yolks
400 ml coconut milk
200 whipping cream
120g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fine sugar for caramelized sugar top
Preheat oven at 150°C.
Add pandan leaves and coconut milk to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Strain into a medium pot and add in whipping cream. There should be a fair amount of pandan fibre in the strainer.
Bring to boil and set aside.
Prepare egg yolk mixture by whisking egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl, until the sugar has just dissolved.
Slowly drizzle in about 1/4 of the warm pandan coconut milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
This process is call tempering, which is a process of warming up the eggs so the mixture will be smooth.
Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the pandan coconut milk, add in vanilla extract and mix well.
Transfer into a large measuring jug. Skim off excess foam.
Prepare 6 ramekins (4-inch size) and place them on a deep-dish tray.
Pour the custard into each ramekin, filling about ¾ of the ramekin.
Carefully transfer the tray of filled ramekins into the preheat oven.
Pour hot water into the tray, filling in halfway.
Bake for 45 mins, until the custard has just set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 mins before covering with cling wrap and refrigerating them for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, sprinkle 1 tsp sugar on top of the chilled custard. Tap the ramekin gently to distribute the sugar evenly.
Use a small blow torch to caramelize the sugar. Allow sugar to harden for a couple mins before serving.