Pandan chiffon is one of those bake stuff that gives you the huge satisfaction when it is homemade. Huge. Doesn’t matter if it cost very little in the market. It is a head-inflating moment when I watched it rose to a big fat fluffy cake.
Since I have abundant access to pandan leaves (or screwpine leaves), I used fresh pandan as flavoring and coloring agent. They grow wild, almost too wild at home and at the office. I choose to use medium-sized pandan leaves. The young ones smell great but the leaves aren’t green enough. The old, bigger leaves have great deep yet vibrant green hues, but the fragrance is not the best. So I settled with the ones in the middle of both. Grab a bunch of leaves and cut them up into smaller pieces. Add a bit of water and process the pandan in blender. Strain pandan pulp in fine muslin cloth or strainer. The water that comes out of it is good for coloring and flavoring.
I have to admit that I was a bit worried about using fresh leaves, as I wasn’t sure it would be green enough. The first batch I made I choose to use instant pandan paste. I went overboard and the batter turned into scary green liquid. That batch met its destiny in the trash right away. Then I made second batch with the real pandan. It was not bright green, and it was quite subtly pandan scented. At least it didn’t look like Shrek’s food.
We also use the pandan for other stuff too. Chop up a bunch of them finely, arrange them in a decorative bowl and leave them in bedroom or living room. The vanilla-like scent brightens the rooms. Mother likes to fill up these little muslin bags with chopped pandan leaves and keeps the bags under car seats. Artificial car fresheners make her sick and she prefers pandan flavors in the car. My friends say our cars smell like dessert all the time!