4Despite how it may look, this dessert is not a wheel of cheese. Look closer and you will see this is the signature dish from renowned Pastry Chef Will Goldfarb, his cool and quirky Pandanbert. Served at Mejekawi, KU DE TA’s avant-garde tasting laboratory, the fun of this dessert begins before you even take a bite. It is served in a custom-printed container that makes it look like a round of cheese produced via panda – a conversation starter indeed. Unwrap the package and you’ll find a luscious panna cotta infused with pandan leaf and smoked vanilla.
As you might now have guessed, the clever name of this dessert represents its three key elements: pandan, panna cotta and its uncanny resemblance to camembert, complete with a cheesy rind. The panna cotta is appropriately rich without being too sweet, and the brightness of the pandan leaf is a great foil to the vanilla. Then, as a nod to Will’s love for sourcing the flavours of the region, it comes topped with poached nutmeg fruit, salak (snake fruit) and crumples of crispy mung bean. This unique dessert is both playful and profound at the same time, and incredibly delicious. (www.mejekawi.com)
Chef Story: Will Goldfarb
“The Pandanbert first came about with the basic idea that I wanted to introduce a cheese course to Mejekawi, one that would appeal to everyone despite the fact people don’t really eat cheese here in Indonesia. While I was mulling over this idea, I got a call from my friend. She was writing a dessert book and said she desperately needed to feature four new desserts within two days. I only had three available and our desserts here at Mejekawi usually take over a year to develop.
Normally I’d have declined the request, but we had already been experimenting with sustainable creams in Bali, to develop a cheese that is aged, smoked, and has a similar rind to a camembert. So we decided to run with it, with the clock ticking. We started out with the panna cotta, then added pandan. Then we decided to introduce the camembert twist, which is when it just kind of snowballed and we came up with the whole Pandanbert concept. In less than 72 hours we went from a simple idea to the finished product, complete with its unique label and box design. We were going to change it a bit before putting it on the menu at Mejekawi, but people just loved it and now it’s our signature.”