Reminiscences on the black Malay cookie

Reminiscences on the black Malay cookie

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

It was a figment of my imagination, perhaps, but the mysterious black cookie still occupies a space in my thoughts. This is a meditation on what that particular memory means to me.

For the orange blossom ice cream


Quantity Ingredient
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
100ml pouring cream
250ml orange blossom syrup, (see note)
250ml thick cream

For the sesame seed sweet

Quantity Ingredient
175g sesame or sunflower seed paste
140g sugar

For the coconut ash pastry

Quantity Ingredient
115g almond meal
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
40g tapioca flour, toasted in a pan until bone dr y but uncoloured
55g honey
1/2 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
35g unsalted butter, softened
coconut ash, (see note)

For the coconut sauce

Quantity Ingredient
50g palm sugar
2 pandan leaves, crushed and knotted
10g glutinous rice flour
70ml thick coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Make the orange blossom ice cream:
  2. In a bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Combine the pouring cream with the orange blossom syrup in a pan and bring to simmering point. Beat into the egg yolk mixture and pour into a clean saucepan. Cook over low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Strain into a bowl set over iced water and cool quickly. When cold, mix in the thick cream. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Make the sesame seed sweet:
  4. Place the sesame seed paste in a bowl and beat until the oil and the paste comes together again. Place the sugar and 50 ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until the syrup reaches 125°C. Beat into the sesame seed paste bit by bit. This mixture should be crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth. Set aside until required.
  5. Make the coconut ash pastry:
  6. In a food processor blend the almond meal and cocoa together as finely as possible. Add the tapioca #our. Combine the honey, egg, vanilla and butter and quickly process into the dry ingredients. With your hands, press the dough into a block 1 cm high. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the block of dough into 1.5 cm squares. Spread evenly on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150°C and leave the biscuits in the oven to dry out thoroughly for up to 30 minutes. If they start to blacken, reduce the temperature by 10°C. Cool on cake racks, then dust with coconut ash.
  7. Make the coconut sauce:
  8. Put the palm sugar and 125 ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Drop in the pandan leaves and remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes then strain out the leaves. Mix the glutinous rice flour, coconut milk and salt together in a saucepan. Stir in the palm sugar syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened. Serve warm.
  9. Assemble the dessert:
  10. Scatter some of the sesame seed sweet onto each plate and arrange a few coconut ash pastries around. Drizzle with a spoonful of the coconut sauce and then place a scoop of the ice cream amongst the arrangement.

To make orange blossom syrup

  • To make orange blossom syrup, bring 500 ml of water and 350 g of sugar to the boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and, when the temperature drops to 80°C, add 55 g of fresh orange blossoms. Store in sterilised preserving jars for at least 12 hours before use.

To make coconut ash

  • Dry the husk of a coconut in the sun for a few days. Set it alight and let it burn until black. Break up into smaller pieces and pass through a sieve to obtain a fine powder.
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