Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Pandan Coconut Gula Melaka Woodland Choux Pastries

It is not often that I get requests for choux pastry bakes because somehow it doesn't seem as widely known in Singapore as macarons or cakes. So I took every chance to make this woodland themed birthday bake a magical one! 

Bunny, dog, raccoon and bear on top of a tree stump. Everything except the grass is made of choux pastry! 

Pandan coconut gula melaka flavoured filling was requested so I made a diplomat cream with this flavour. I even flavoured the royal icing grass with pandan paste to complement the whole set. The tree stump is a large pastry covered with gula melaka white chocolate frosting. 

The critters are so adorable I couldn't resist taking a shot of them as loose pieces before mounting them on the choux stump! 

I finally bought some tree stump display plates for photography from Daiso! 

I had to take a shot of one with cross-section cut to show the yummy filling. I made sure there are bits of gula melaka interspersed in the diplomat cream for that extra burst of flavour. 

If this woodland themed design looks somewhat familiar to you, it is because I made something similar for an entry in my Deco Choux Pastries book. 

Detailed recipe for the craquelin and choux pastry batter can be found in this blog post. I will share the detailed recipe for the stump frosting and new pandan coconut gula melaka diplomat cream. 

Just to share some photos of the process... 

Craquelin cutouts for the animals and mushroom caps

Choux batter with craquelin before and after baking

Piped batter for the ears and arms of the animals

Freshly baked small parts! 

Notice that I use perforated mat for the larger pieces and parchment paper for the smaller pieces. Perforated mat with the holes help to anchor the pastry cases in place, helping it to retain its shape better. 

Piping a large pastry case for the stump. This needs to bake for a long time, about an hour, and then cut open to bake some more at lower temperature of 130C to thoroughly dry it out.

The large pastry case is still moist inside even after baking for an hour. It needs to be cut open for a more thorough bake 

I like to bake my cases till totally dry as they have a longer shelf life that way. You can bake these in advance, up to a week and store in airtight container at room temperature. If you prefer softer pastries, simply fill then in advance to soften before consuming. I prefer mine crispy. 

The stump is frosted with white chocolate base thar has a milk gula melaka caramel flavour. 

Stump frosting


90g white chocolate

10g bitter dark chocolate

20g shortening

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp caramel flavouring

10g gula melaka melted in a little water, cooled to room temperature


1. Place all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the contents together using 10 second bursts of heating at low power and stirring after each round of heating. Alternatively, you may use double-boiling method. 

2. Let the melted chocolate mixture sit at room temperature to firm up to toothpaste consistency. 

3. Use a spatula to coat the sides of the pastry case with the frosting. Use a fork to draw lines on the stump resembling tree bark patterns. 

Pandan coconut gula melaka diplomat cream


3 egg yolks

60g gula melaka finely chopped

1/3 tsp salt

30g cornflour 

2 tsp pandan paste

300g coconut milk

25g unsalted butter

80g non-dairy whipping cream*

20g heavy cream*

40g gula melaka, coarsely chopped


1. Heat coconut milk with pandan paste and 60g finely chopped gula melaka in a saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming but not boiling. Stir now and then to help the gula melaka dissolve. 

2. In the mean time, whisk egg yolks with salt and cornflour until a smooth thick paste forms in a glass measuring jug or heavy bowl. 

3. Pour heated coconut milk mixture in a thin stream slowly while whisking the egg yolk mixture. Pour everything back into saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat while whisking continuously until mixture starts to thicken. Take it off the heat and whisk until smooth. Put it back on heat and whisk until custard is cooked to desired consistency. Some prefer it thicker and some prefer it runnier. For thicker consistency, cook longer. 

4. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and add butter. Whisk until smooth. Press cling wrap onto surface of pastry cream and refrogerate for at least an hour iuntil firm. You may prepare this a day in advance. 

5. Whip whipping cream until firm peaks form. I use a mixture of dairy and non-dairy cream. You may use either or use a different ratio for both. Keeping in mind that dairy doesnt hold up well in hot climate but non-dairy doesn't taste as good and comes pre-sweetened. 

6. Briefly beat chilled pastry cream with spatula to lighten texture. Fold whipped cream into pastry cream. 

7. Fold in coarsely chopped gula melaka. You may add more if you prefer. Transfer into piping bag to fill the pastry cases. 

I recommend filling choux pastries just before or shortly before you eat so that you can enjoy it crisp. I cut a hole at the base of the cases about 10 or 20 cent coin in size so that it is easy to fill the cases. 

Thank God it was very well received in terms of looks and taste! 

With love, 

Phay Shing

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