If you’ve ever tried pandan kaya, you’ll know how delicious it is. It’s usually spread, along with butter, on toast (known as kaya toast, a traditional breakfast item in Malaysia and Singapore). You’ll also find kaya puffs, which are puff pastries filled with kaya. While I like both of these foods, I started wondering how I could get more creative with kaya. What other ways could I enjoy pandan kaya? Because it’s a coconut curd, I immediately thought about lemon curd and the delicious lemon tarts that I used to make. Why not pandan tarts? How about a pandan meringue tart?!
Obviously, I couldn’t just fill a tart shell with kaya, because it would just be too rich and sweet. Not to mention that it would be too runny. So I adjusted my pandan kaya recipe by decreasing the amount of sugar and adding cornstarch to make it more of a custard.
I was happy the tart turned out really well! The custard set nicely, and it was a lovely natural green. There’s definitely room for improvement though, since the “kaya” flavour wasn’t as pronounced as I’d expected. However, it was still really delicious. The combination of pandan custard and meringue definitely makes this a uniquely flavourful dessert!
Selamat Hari Merdeka to all my Malaysian readers!
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PANDAN CUSTARD MERINGUE TART
Yield: 1 – 8″ tart
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (pâte sucrée):
135g flour, sifted
90g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 small egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of lemon zest
300 ml coconut milk
15 pandan leaves, cut into 1″ sections
3 large eggs
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
1) Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on slow speed until well blended and no lumps remain. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2) Add in egg yolk, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix on low speed, scraping down the sides, until well blended.
3) Add in the flour. Continue to mix on low speed until just combined. Do not overwork.
4) Using your hands, bring the dough together to form a ball.
5) Shape dough into a flat, round disk. Wrap well with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
6) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F (190C).
7) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. To transfer, roll the dough carefully back onto the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over an 8″ tart tin with removable bottom. Shape the dough by pressing it into the tart tin. Use a knife to cut off the excess dough. Dock the pastry by pricking all over the base with a fork, then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
8) Bake the tart shell for 15-20 minutes until golden. Place on a wire rack to cool.
1) Place coconut milk and cut pandan leaves into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture through a strainer into a medium pot. You should get about 260 ml of pandan coconut milk.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
3) Heat the pandan coconut milk on medium low heat until simmering. Then pour roughly half of the hot mixture into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, while whisking constantly. Whisk well, then pour the mixture back into the pot. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Continue whisking, making sure there are no lumps remaining. The mixture will start to thicken. Once it thickens, continue whisking until the mixture bubbles.
4) Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Add a few small spoonfuls of softened butter at a time, and whisk to incorporate the melted butter. The custard should be smooth.
5) Pour the custard into the cooled tart shell. Spread it out evenly over the base of the tart and fill to just shy of the top of the crust. Smooth the top and set aside while you prepare the meringue.
1) Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
2) In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved (the mixture will be hot).
3) Pour the egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer). Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes, until glossy, stiff peaks form.
Assembling the tart:
1) Pipe or spread the meringue over the top of the custard. Make sure the meringue is spread/piped to the edges, touching the crust, to prevent shrinkage.
2) Use a blow torch to lightly caramelize the meringue. If you don’t have a blow torch, you can also broil the finished tart in the upper rack of a preheated oven for a couple of minutes (every oven is different, so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too brown or burnt).
3) Place tart in refrigerator to chill before serving.