puff pastry Tag

Failproof flakey pastry stuffed with mochi and chocolate

Listen, I’ve made this flakey pastry about four times now.  And each time, no matter how every single signs along the way was pointing towards an inevitable heartbreaking disaster, somehow, miraculously, it always turned out amazing.  I’ve stuffed them with jam and cheese, with fruits and nuts, and this time, with bittersweet chocolate blended together with dark brown sugar and peanut butter plus a good chewy padding of sticky rice mochi on the bottom, and still I couldn’t manage to fuck it up.  More crispy and shards-like than puff pastry, but more defined and layered than pie crust, comes together fast and relatively easy, and goes down even more so.

So, as someone with a very unlucky track record in the baking arena, I pass this recipe onto you.  I’d say good luck, but something tells me you won’t need very much of it.

READ MORE

Continue Reading

ZERO-FOLDING PASTEL DE NATA, A HYBRID

Ever since I came back from Lisbon, the question haunts me.

What is a perfect pastel de nata?

Well for me, now more than ever, that depends on who you’re asking.

If you were from the Asian parts of the world as I am, growing up, this wildly popular pastry since the 90’s actually came from, and have always been, more as a Macao thing.  Sure it’s known as the Portuguese-style egg tarts from Macao, the former Portugal colony famed for its many Portugal-influenced hybrid foods, but notice that it is NOT called pastel de nada, not even Portuguese egg tart, but ambiguously, “Portugese-STYLE” egg tart.  Style?  The name itself oozes deniability, suggesting that on one level or another, these tarts can’t be expected as a 100% identical replica of the originals, but a mere adaptation of some sort.  Therefore with time, as the popularity of these tarts swept through every bakeries in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even KFC (yes, they sell these at KFC here…), the Portuguese association sort of fell irrelevant, and the gold standard on what is a great pastel de nata, in Asia at least, is set on however it is made in Macao.  And really, most people don’t have a clue on what the real thing is like.

But I’ve always wondered about this.  I mean is “Portuguese-style egg tart” even a thing in Portugal?  Do people even actually eat this stuff there or is it another freaky fortune cookie-phenomenon?  And if they do, the question isn’t if it was the same from Macao, because I know there was no chance in hell that they’re the same.  But the question is, how different?

So a couple months ago when I finally visited Lisbon for the first time, I was on a quest for truth.  I didn’t know what to expect, but almost as immediately as we landed at the airport, truth no 1 revealed itself.  Pastel de nada is definitely a thing in Portugal.  I mean, they were everywhere, as common as bagels in NY or surfers in L.A.  Well great, fantastic, because it allowed me to conduct an in-depth and thoroughly tasted investigation on truth no 2, which is, how different are the real things from Macao’s?  Well, this was where the troubles began.  They are, as expected, quite different on many textural levels, and now…

I’m completely torn.

I ASSURE YOU THAT THIS CONCLUSION, WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH IT OR NOT, CAME AFTER MUCH TORMENTS, SELF-REFLECTIONS AND EVEN SOME SOUL-SEARCHING ON WHO I AM AS A SENTIENT PASTRY EATER… (BUT THE ANSWER TO) WHAT IS ULTIMATELY A PERFECT PASTEL DE NATA?

WELL, A HYBRID

pastel-de-nata15
pastel-de-nata16
READ MORE

Continue Reading

PROSCIUTTO AND DATES SU-STYLE MOONCAKE

prosciutto-and-date-mooncake20

DECEIVINGLY EASY…

IT WILL SHATTER YOUR DOUBT-SYSTEM AS THE LAYERS CRACK LIKE THE WINGS OF BUTTERFLIES AND FALL ON YOUR JAW-DROPPED COUNTERTOP

– XOXO

OK, I know that mooncakes are generally sweet and not savoury (like the ones on https://www.emicakes.com.sg/mooncake-delivery-singapore for example, which look amazing) but I have decided to mix things up a bit here and BOY am I glad that I did. I don’t have much time today to elaborate much, in fact, not even enough time to say what I’m about to say but I gotta say it anyways because it’s just too damn important which is – PLEASE, don’t let the intimidating display of these lacy, delicate, flakey pastry filled mooncakes with salty prosciutto and sweet dates and honey… fool you. They are deceivingly easy, forgiving even, and I got them down with smashing success right at the first try (I’ve had more tears shed on making pancakes, let me just tell you that). This waffer-thin layered dough actually DOES NOT require any chilling (even though I still gave them a 30-min nap in the fridge just because I was insecure), believe it or not, and it will shatter your doubt-system as the layers crack like the wings of butterflies and falls on your jaw-dropped countertop. And then the filling… oh my god I don’t even have time to talk about this filling but I gotta say it anyways because it’s just too damn good! Part-crispy and part-fresh prosciuttos, mashed with finely minced dates and honey with a dash of black rum. It is the most fruitful reward you can expect out of the eternal conflict between salty and sweet. And then, these two things together… these two buttery, lacy, porky, salty, sweet things together! I don’t have time for this! Do you get me?! Just go do it and believe.

– XOXO.


I copied/pasted the instructions below to correspond with the photos so it’s easier to understand, but serious, you’ll probably have something great at the first try, then nail it at the second, tops. There’s also another su-style mooncake variation by Betty on Food52. Check it out.

 

prosciutto-and-date-mooncake03

Combine cake flour, water, unsalted butter and sugar in a large bowl, and mix it with your hands until it comes into a dough.

prosciutto-and-date-mooncake04

Transfer to a working surface and knead for a couple min until the dough is smooth and soft. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, then set aside to rest.

prosciutto-and-date-mooncake02

Meanwhile, combine cake flour and unsalted butter in the same bowl for the oil-dough.

READ MORE

Continue Reading