My pancakes were too thick. I like the durian flesh and cream separated although taste-wise it doesn't matter. The filling was mushy because the pillows were not chilled before the photo session.
Store-bought durian pillows were thin-skin and small enough for only one mouthful or two dainty bites.
Hub and I were at a dinner last Saturday and the host served durian and mango 'pillows', thin crepes stuffed with durian or mango and cream, folded into the shape of a puffy rectangle pillow. The dainty durian pillows cost RM8.90 for 3 (RM5.90 for mango pillows) and were so small that one of them can fit nicely into a Chinese soup spoon. The cream and durian were blended together, a clever way of scrimping on the durian. Durian is so strongly flavored that a little bit of it can jazz up a large amount of cream. In Hong Kong and Peninsular Malaysia, the cream and durian are in distinct layers of about 50:50.
I found the recipe for the pancakes here and was happy with it because the pancakes turned out very smooth. However, my pancakes were three times as thick as the store-bought ones, which was why the corners of my pillows broke and also why I couldn't get the pillows to look puffy without making them the size of an egg. I took one of the store-bought pillows apart and found that each pancake was half a pancake. Maybe the trick to getting a very thin pancake is to pour the batter into a cool non-stick pan, swirl the batter so that it spreads out thinly and then put it over a low fire and cut each pancake into half. I'll do that next time.
I thought I'd like the 50:50 ratio of durian to cream but found that the pillows taste smoother and better if there's more cream. The best durian for this is kampung (village) durian because they simply taste better. Also, I find that some of the new hybrids have a strong raw onion flavor. I used coconut milk as per the recipe but I've changed that to fresh milk in the recipe because I found that coconut milk messes up the durian flavor. The store-bought pillows didn't have any coconut flavor. With the replacement of rich coconut milk by the fresh milk, a bit of melted butter will keep the pancakes softer and tastier.I used organic eggs to give the pancakes a bit of color.
This dessert is simple and quick to make and you'll get plenty of "ooohhhs" and "yummms" especially when the pillows are served very chilled, with a good coffee. Allow at least 4 a person; the pillows are really that good.
For making durian cakes and desserts, boxed durian will work out a lot cheaper. Get them late at night when the vendors slash their prices.
Durian Pillows (makes 16 x 12 cm diameter or 8 to 9 large ones)
160 gm plain flour (some recipes use Hong Kong flour)
350 ml fresh milk (coconut milk will tone down the durian flavor)
1/2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
pinch of salt
2 organic eggs*
*as advised by Zurin, an extra yolk will make the pancakes softer and easier to fold.
1. Mix the pancake ingredients together. Pour batter over a sieve into a bowl to get a fine and smooth batter.
2. Lightly grease a non-stick frying pan with melted butter and pour in a small ladle (you'll have to find which size is best; try making a large pancake and cut that into half) of batter and swirl the batter around to get a very thin pancake. Cook over a low fire until the pancake is done. It takes less than 30 seconds. No need to turn over but if you do, turn over for two to three seconds only. Repeat until all the batter is done. Cool. If like, you can grease the frying pan before every ladle of batter is poured.
note: as advised by Sonia, to get thin pancakes, pour more than enough batter into the frying pan, swirl the batter to cover the whole pan and then pour the extra batter back into the bowl of batter.
300 gm fresh dairy cream (estimated)
1 tbsp caster sugar (to taste)
2 cups durian flesh* (estimated)
* or pieces of mango or other soft, flavorful fruits
1. Whip the cream with the sugar until stiff. Chill
2. You can blend the durian flesh or mash it with a fork. I think I prefer to mash with a fork because the blended durian was too mushy and the fibers were all cut up.
3. You can mix the cream with the durian or leave separate.
Put a heaped tablespoon of whipped cream onto the center of the pancake (smooth/unfried side facing plate), top with a level half tablespoon of durian flesh, and fold into a small, puffed rectangular pillow. If you have mixed the cream and durian, just plop a large tablespoon onto the middle of the pancake and fold. Chill very well before serving.