Francis Kuijk has a well-known and beloved face in the Dutch food scene since she made it to the season 4 finale of Heel Holland Bakt (Dutch Bake Off). She has large online following, makes regular TV appearances and has released four cookbooks in the Netherlands up to date.
Her new book, Manis (Indonesian for ‘sweet’), is coming out this week and I had the pleasure of having a look before it hit stores. Like me, Francis is of Dutch-Indonesian descent so after her tomes on the foundations of Indisch and Indonesian cooking it was time for a book on Indisch and Indonesian sweets and baking.
Pandan all the things!
Manis offers a nice combination of nostalgic Indisch and Indonesian recipes alongside more modern concoctions that Francis came up with herself. Though her editor told her that maybe that was enough pandan for one book, personally I can never get enough pandan so I was quite happy to see so much of it (and gula djawa) in one book.
If you don’t know what pandan is, it’s often called ‘the vanilla of South East Asia’ but I never know if this is because it is so widely used or because people need to come up with useless comparisons. Flavorwise, except for the subtlety, it is nothing like vanilla in my opinion. All you need to know is that pandan is good, makes everything sweet more delicious and that it turns everything green (including my nose when I was making this fudge).
While we can now get fresh or frozen pandan in Europe, I remember the first pandan I ever had coming from Indonesian pandan chiffon cake mixes my grandmother brought over in the 90’s. This is probably why I prefer artificial pandan over ‘real’ pandan which is too mild for my tastes. I recommend the Koepoe Kopoe brand of pandan paste. I’ve tried those extracts in small brown bottles but suffer from a bitter note that is really gross and drowns out subtle pandan. Furthermore, as Francis points out in her book, extract ads more liquid to your bakes, which tends to cause problems.
The recipes I was most eager to cook were the pandan and gula djawa fudge (Javanese palm sugar, my other favorite Indonesian sweet ingredient – more on that that some other time) as they seemed the easiest to tackle. I’d wanted to combine them with one a swirl to the other, but as I’m a shit baker and they are made with two different techniques, Francis warned against it. I got the ingredients for both though, so I guess I’ll be eating fudge for the next month or so.
If you want to make pandan fudge yourself just follow the recipe below, for the gula djawa fudge I’m afraid you’re going to have to hope Francis will one day share it in English, or get the book and figure out the translations for yourself.
Other recipes that caught my eye are rose syrup marshmallows, kue putu mayang (fresh made noodles in a gula djawa sauce), rotikukus vanila cokelat (this is a steamed Indonesian cake I used to get for all my birthdays but I have yet to replicate my grandmother’s recipe) and brownies with a kue lapis crumble (hello?!).
Manis is unfortunately only available in Dutch right now, if you’re looking for an Indonesian cookbook recommendation Sri Owen’s Indonesian Food (UK) or The Indonesian Kitchen (US) is your best bet in English.
Francis Kuijk's recipe for Pandan Fudge
- Baking tray the lower wider kind, that you'd use for brownies
- parchment or baking paper
- heavy bottomed large saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- 3/4 c - 170 g unsalted butter roomtemperature + extra for greasing, see note in recipe and below
- 2 c - 500 g white caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt leave this out if you only have salted butter
- 2/3 c - 150 ml unsweetened evaporated milk
- 1 tsp pandan aroma I prefer Koepoe Koepoe paste, see blogpost above
- 7 oz - 200 g white marshmallows see note
- 8.5 oz - 240 g white chocolate callets, but you can also just coarsely chop up a bar
- Grease your baking tray and line it with parchment. Set aside.
- Place the 3/4 c - 170 g of butter, 2 c - 500 g of sugar, 1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter) and 2/3 c - 150 ml of unsweetened evaporated milk in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Place on a medium low heat and allow to melt and bring to a gentle boil while stirring continously.
- Leave to simmer at a light boil for 4 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary, and keep stirring.
- Once the 4 minutes have passed, add 1 tsp of pandan aroma before you add 7 oz - 200 gr of white marshmallows (see note). Keep stirring until the marshmallows have dissolved completely.
- Turn the heat down and stir in 8.5 oz - 240 g of white chocolate callets or coarsely chopped chunks, stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Pour your mixture out into your pre-greased and parchmented baking tray and leave to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Place in the fridge and leave to cool for at least 2 hours. I set mine on some trivets as the baking tray was still very hot and I didn't want to accidentally shatter my fridge shelves.
- For best results, leave to cool overnight before cutting into even squares and tucking in.
- I picked out all the white marshmallows from the bag and then used the pinks to reach 200 grams, it turned out fine.
- The original recipe was written in grams, milliliters and teaspoons. Follow those measurements for the best results.
- The fudge keeps for 2 weeks in an airtight container. Be sure to separate the fudge by placing layers of parchment in between each layer.
- If well packed, you can also keep this in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- This recipe is very sweet, if I make it again I would drizzle dark chocolate over the top.
Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor pandan fudge uit Francis Kuijk’s Manis.