I am the type who loves the salted egg yolk in mooncakes, flaky Chinese pastries and well you get the drift - so it was only fitting that I make one of my favourite Chinese pastries at home at least once right? I was very happy with the results today as the skin was perfectly flaky and light as feather while the filling was just the right amount of sweetness from the red bean paste and savoury from the salted egg yolk. I can't really say that these are 'easy' to make at home as everyone has a different measure of what is 'easy' or 'difficult' but I can say that this will take some time although not as long as say making classic French puff pastry. There is only one turn involved and although this pastry involves a lamination of sorts, it is much easier as all you need to do is wrap the oil dough which will be shaped into a ball with the outer oil 'skin' instead of perfectly laminating it. Both the oil dough and the oil 'skin' are relatively easy to handle even in humid weather like Malaysian weather but if this is your first time working with shortening, the texture may take a little getting used-to.
For a photo tutorial for the dough, please refer my Chinese Flaky Pastries with Lotus Paste.
3. Be gentle while rolling out the dough as the dough will crack if you exert too much force.4. Using shortening makes the skin flakier while butter will be more fragrant but please note I have yet to try this recipe substituting with butter.
Makes 10 pastries
45g bread flour or high protein flour
75g cake or low protein flour (or superfine flour)
1 tsp sugar
45g warm water (45 ml)
37g shortening (room temperature)
120g cake flour (low protein/ superfine)
2 drops of red food colouring (optional or use other colour of your choice)
1/3 cup of red bean paste (store-bought)
10 raw salted egg yolks
Sift bread and cake flour together. Add the sugar to warm water and stir till sugar dissolves. Add syrup to flour mixture and mix well.
Add shortening and knead with your hands until a smooth dough forms. Set aside to rest for about 20 minutes (no need to place in fridge). Note: setting aside allows the gluten in the dough to rest and this will give us a smoother dough with less 'breakage'.
Sift cake flour into a large bowl. Add shortening, food colouring if using and knead into a soft dough. Shape into a ball.
Flatten dough from (A) with a rolling pin and use it to wrap (B). Seal opening and flatten with a rolling pin into a rectangle of about 1/4 inch thick.
Fold the dough like a business letter, imagine the dough as 3 parts, fold the top towards the middle portion, then the bottom portion on top of that. Try to align the corners with a bit of dough stretching but not too much as it is not necessary to have the corners aligned perfectly.
Roll out dough again (just like doing a turn in French puff pastry), then roll flattened dough to form a roll (like rolling temaki sushi).
Slice the roll into ten roughly equal portions. Set the slices face down.
Flatten each slice either with a small rolling pin or with your palms.
Bake the egg yolks in a pre-heated oven at 160C (320F) for about 2 minutes. (Note: you can use cooked salted egg yolks if you really can't find raw ones, if so skip this step). There is no need to turn off the oven as you will bake the pastries at the same temperature once they are wrapped.
Wrap the egg yolk with a layer of red bean paste. How much or how little of red bean paste you use depends on your preference. I made some with more egg yolk than red bean paste as that is how I like it so please adjust accordingly. A rough guide is about 2 teaspoons of red bean paste to one salted egg yolk.
Wrap the pastry by bringing the edges together and sealing. There should be no need to use eggwash or water to seal the edges as the dough should be relatively sticky (but it should be smooth). Place the wrapped pastry onto a baking tray, flattening the bottom lightly. Repeat with remaining pastry dough.
Bake on middle rack for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool a little, serve or allow to cool completely and store in air-tight container. These should be good for at least another day.