Pandan Cream Pie
When I was growing up in Malaysia, pies were not part of the local food culture. They were rarely, if ever made at home. Western style bakeries offered individual savory pies, also known as pot pies here in the US. The crust is usually made of puff pastry with a filling of minced beef or chicken and mixed vegetables. Spicy and curry fillings were also very popular. I did not remember ever tasting a dessert pie. Watching re-runs of old silent movies, one should be forgiven for forming the notion that the only reasonable use for a cream pie was to land it on someone else’s face.
When I moved here to the Midwest, I was amused to find out that the notion wasn’t too far from the truth. Cream pies do land on peoples’ faces!
Seriously though, after the many years of living here I have come to appreciate and love dessert pies. They are certainly better served at the table than on the face. Apple pie holds a special place in my heart as it was the first dessert pie I ever made. Pear pie and triple berry pie are also favorites. When it comes to cream pie though, this Pandan Cream Pie takes the prize. French silk pie and key lime pie are a close second and third.
This pie was originally posted in 2010 when Roti n Rice was a new kid on the blog. I have since made this pie many times, the most recent being for Thanksgiving in November. It is a fusion of a kuih talam, a Southeast Asian dessert and the American key lime pie. The star ingredient is pandan or screwpine, a tropical plant with long, narrow, blade like, very aromatic leaves. Its amazing fragrance is a mix of vanilla and tea rose which permeates the house when cooked. I used crushed McVitie’s Digestive biscuit this time for the crust. It is very similar in taste and texture to the Graham cracker crust we are so used to here. I have given the Graham cracker crust equivalent in the recipe notes.
- 8 to 10 pandan leaves
- ½ cup (120ml) water
- 9 pieces (5 oz/140g) Digestive biscuit**
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp (70g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp (28g) butter
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- ¾ cup (180ml) condensed milk
- ¾ cup (180ml) coconut milk
- ½ cup (120ml) pandan juice
- 3 drops green food coloring
- 1 pint (2 cups/480ml) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
Wash and trim the whitish ends off the pandan leaves. Cut the leaves with kitchen scissors cross wise into thin strips. Put into blender with ½ cup (120ml) water and blend well. Pandan leaves are very fibrous and you will have to blend for a while to get a nice green color in the water. Remove and strain. Squeeze pulp to extract all the juice. You should get ½ cup (120ml) pandan juice.
Place digestive biscuits in a large bowl. Crush biscuits into a fine crumb with a potato masher. Stir together crushed biscuits, sugar and butter until well combined.
Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of 8 inch (20-cm) pie plate to form a thin crust. Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.
In the mean time, work on the custard. When crust is ready, remove and cool on a rack. Leave oven on.
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks lightly. Set aside.
Heat butter in a pan and cook flour.
Pour in condensed milk, coconut milk, pandan juice, and green food coloring stirring over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.
Stir in egg yolks until well combined.
Pour warm filling into baked pie crust. It should fill up to about halfway the depth of pie crust. Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Cover with foil and chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
Chill bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for two hours. Pour cold cream and sugar into chilled bowl. Beat until it holds stiff peaks. Spread whipped cream over filling.
Slice and serve immediately.
1. Digestive biscuit may be substituted with ¼ cups (125g) finely crushed graham crackers.
2. If you have any leftovers, cover with foil and leave in the fridge. It is able to keep for a day.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!