Choux pastry is a delicate dough that can be used in many delights, cream puffs being of the most familiar ones. Their batter contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs, stuffed with a mouthful of cream inside them.
The recipe sounds simple enough, and the pastries come out as fluffy, golden brown puffs sprinkled with icing sugar on top. Golden Bites, an online durian dessert brand decided to take this humble puff a step further.
For durian season, it launched a Premium Organic Musang King Puff. The choux is black due to bamboo charcoal and sprinkled with gold flakes instead of powdered sugar. Stuffed with Musang King durian filling, they’re sold at RM12 each.
Black and gold, a classic colour combo
Shawne, co-founder of Golden Bites told Vulcan Post that the inception of their premium durian puffs actually came about accidentally.
Golden Bites’ pastry chef with 11 years of experience, Kelvin, had actually attempted creating a regular choux topped with a black layer of craquelin. In the french pastry world, craquelin is a cookie topping added to choux for a further sweet and crunchy texture.
The experiment failed as it didn’t turn out as appealing as the team hoped. They wondered, “Why not make the whole [choux] black and sprinkle gold dust on top, black and gold never go wrong anyway!”
Costing RM12 per puff, it implies that the business is looking to target a more premium market of people who find pleasure in the simplest desserts. The black and gold aesthetic also gives off a luxurious and expensive feel, which can work well in the gifting sector too.
Shawne was able to verify this, sharing that the primary target market for these puffs is durian enthusiasts willing to pay a premium price for the pastry. “We try to reach them by word of mouth, or also to those who love Insta-worthy products that are edible and of course, delicious,” she added.
Since the launch of the Premium Organic Musang King Puffs on August 1 this year, Shawne reported that they’ve sold over 100 6-piece boxes of it to date, bringing in approximately RM6,000 in revenue from that alone (following a buy 5, free 1 promo pricing).
Cream puffs aren’t even their main product
Of course, other than the black and gold durian pastry sold by the brand, they also have the more traditional golden-brown durian cream puffs as an option. You could say the brand name Golden Bites sums up what it has to offer.
However, Shawne clarified that durian puffs aren’t actually the business’s main product—cheesecakes are.
Kelvin spent a decade of his career as a Chief Baker in his Subang Jaya bakery, where its best-seller was the American Cheesecake. He decided to try incorporating durians into the cheesecakes and was surprised by his results, from its taste to texture.
Sharing the creation with close kin, he received enough positive feedback to pivot and solely focus on the durian niche instead. The pandemic’s strain on the bakery’s finances further validated his decision to close the shop and launch Golden Bites in October 2020.
“Our durian puffs became a crowd favourite maybe because of how light they are. Cheesecakes are denser, and usually chosen for festive seasons or birthdays, but puffs can be eaten at any time of the day,” Shawne explained to Vulcan Post.
Taking on a more premium branding
It’s worth noting that Golden Bites does face a couple of competitors in the durian cream puffs scene, namely Taste Better from Melaka, and the international Japanese chain, Beard Papa, not to mention smaller Instagram bakers who make them too.
Looking at the size of Golden Bites’ puffs, it would be most comparable to Beard Papa. This is because the Melakan brand’s choux are significantly smaller, meant to be eaten in a single bite, and therefore cheaper at RM2.30 per piece.
For a single D24 and Musang King durian puff, Golden Bites charges RM7 and RM9 respectively. Beard Papa’s durian cream puff costs RM7.90, based on its Zomato listing.
Shawne claims that Golden Bites’ puffs stand out as Kelvin has found a technique of his own to retain the texture of an actual durian in dessert form for consumers. The Japanese brand appears to blend durian paste into a cream form for a smoother texture, while Kelvin’s method differs.
Looking closely at Golden Bites’ puffs, you can certainly still see substantial durian pulp throughout the cream.
Golden Bites also sources D24 and Musang King durian pastes from a partner farm which Shawne disclaimed was a high cost on its own already. To add, the reason Musang King durians are so expensive is because they’re highly sought after despite the limited supply.
For the team to control costs, all products are made in batches on a pre-order basis, as baking the desserts in bulk to sell as on-demand orders may lead to more wastage if sales are low on any particular day.
Thus far, Golden Bites has sold over 8,000 D24 puffs since December 2020 and 3,000 Musang King puffs since June 2021. It’s not too surprising, as the demand from durian lovers never really ceases all year round.
Currently operating as an online brand from a central kitchen in Kelana Jaya, Shawne has shared her interest for Golden Bites to appear in food or pop-up events once it’s safe again.
She also shared that the Premium Organic Musang King Puffs will remain on the shop’s menu as long as the season permits for the organic fruits. Otherwise, the other desserts like burnt cheesecakes, regular choux puffs, and other seasonal items will continue to be sold.
- You can learn more about Golden Bites here.
- You can read other F&B-related pieces we’ve written here and ones on durians here.
Featured Image Credit: Golden Bites