Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mango Puffs with Lemongrass-Coconut Pudding and Black Sesame

I tend to like Asian-inspired desserts with mango and coconut. I made Thai mango with coconut sticky rice not too long ago, but this recipe from Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious was fabulous. I couldn’t find black sesame paste anywhere, so I ordered instant black sesame paste powder online and followed the directions, adding 1 cup of water to 1 packet of powder. I would say that it turned out way too liquid; if you go that route, only add boiling water to the powder by the tablespoonful until you get the desired consistency. I thought all the tastes went very well together, though the Engineer then revealed he’s not actually that fond of mangos. He enjoyed the coconut pudding and sesame paste in puff shells, though! I loved the whole thing. The pictures aren’t too great, because it was dark when I took them, but trust me when I say that this is good!

For the shells
1 (17-oz. to 20-oz.) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large eggs beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

For the coconut pudding
1 stick lemongrass
1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
kosher salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

To assemble
2 Tbsp. black sesame paste (I used way more and loved it!)
1 ripe mango, peeled and finely diced
toasted black sesame seeds

For the shells
Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Unroll the puff pastry, allow to defrost for about 5 minutes, and cut out twelve 2 ½-inch circles (I made fifteen). You may need one or two sheets of the puff pastry, depending on the brand. Wrap any remaining puff pastry tightly in plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer for another use. Place the pastry circles on the baking sheet and brush them with the egg wash. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the coconut pudding
Cut off and discard all but the bottom 3 inches of the lemongrass. Remove and discard the outer layer. Pound the lemongrass stalk to release the flavors, then chop it finely. Put the lemongrass, coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl. When the mixture is near a simmer, take a few tablespoons of it and whisk it into the cornstarch to form a slurry, then whisk that slurry into the saucepan. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a bare simmer and keep it there for 1 minute (you should see the pudding start to thicken, which was quick in my case). Remove from the heat and strain into a shallow bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until cooled and thickened.

To assemble
Take one pastry shell and use a sharp paring knife to cut a circle out the top, leaving a 3/8-inch rim all the way around. Carefully lift the “lid” and reserve. Spoon in 1 tablespoon of the chilled pudding. Put ½ teaspoon of black sesame paste in the center of the pudding. Spoon on 2 tablespoons of the mango and sprinkle with the black sesame seeds. Repeat for the remaining shells (only before serving them, though, so they don’t get soggy). Top with the reserved lids and serve immediately.

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