When I was in culinary school, I learned how to make puff pastry and dough lamination. Pastry terms like detrempe and beurrage are not unfamiliar to me. However, the Chinese flaky pastry, or more precisely the Huaiyang-style pastry, is something that I have not attempted before, but its concept is very similar to the western puff pastry. To make the Chinese flaky pastry, we need to make two doughs: the water dough and the shortened dough, which is equivalent to the detrempe and beurrage respectively.
What’s interesting here is the way the dough lamination is done. I will demonstrate to you the small-scale method to lock in the shorted dough and to achieve the hidden layering, known as An-Su in Mandarin. The reason it is called “hidden layering” is because the layers can only be seen from the cross section once the pastry is cut open. This is the easiest type of layering for the beginners as well.
Ingredients: (yield 10 pieces)
(A) Salted egg yolk filling
Salted egg yolk 10 no.
Chinese cooking wine, as needed
Lotus paste 300g
(B) Water dough
Plain flour 100g
Icing sugar 15g
Dry butter 35g
Water 40 – 50g
(C) Shortened dough (fat-based dough)
Cake flour 100g
Dry butter 50g
(D) Egg wash
Egg yolk 1no.
Milk 1/4 tsp
- To prepare the filling: Spray some Chinese cooking wine on the salted egg yolks. Bake the salted egg yolks at 150 degrees Celcius for 10 minutes, and let cool. Meanwhile, divide the lotus paste into 10 portions, 30g each. Once the salted egg yolks are cooled, wrap each salted egg yolk with the lotus paste. Round the filling, and set aside.
- To prepare the water dough: In a mixing bowl, put in the plain flour, icing sugar and butter. Rub the mixture with finger tips until they resemble coarse bread crumb. Pour in the water, and combine all ingredients to form a dough.
- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes.
- To prepare the shortened dough: Combine the cake flour and dry butter in a mixing bowl. Knead until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Cover and rest at room temperature for later use.
- Small-scale lamination method: After 40 minutes of resting, the water dough is now ready for portioning. Divide it into 10 smaller portions of about 20 – 25g each. Round the water dough, cover and rest for another 15 minutes.
- While resting the water dough, divide the shortened dough into 10 smaller portions as well, 15g each. Round each of the shortened dough and set aside.
- Now, take one piece of the water dough and gently flattened it with hand. Take a piece of the shortened dough, place it at the centre of the water dough, and wrap it up. Pinch and seal the edges. Round the dough and set aside. Repeat this step for all the water dough and shortened dough. Cover and rest for 10 minutes. (Please watch the video for demonstration)
- Then, take a piece of the rounded dough, with the seam-side facing up. Roll it into oblong shape, measuring about 10 – 15cm in length.
- Roll it up from the top. Cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat steps 8 and 9 for all the rounded dough.
- After resting for 10 minutes, turn the dough 90 degrees and with the seam-side facing up.
- Using the rolling pin, flatten the dough. Roll it out into 15cm long.
- Again, roll up the dough from the top. Repeat steps 10 – 12 for the rest of the dough. Cover and rest for another 10 minutes.
- Now the dough is ready for filling and shaping. With the seam-side facing up, press down at the centre of the dough with your thumb. Pinch both ends, and roll to flatten the dough into rough shape.
- Place filling at the centre. Gather the outer edges of the dough circle and wrap up the filling. Pinch and seal the edges tightly. Flip it over so that the sealed end is underneath. Repeat steps 13 and 14, and wrap all the fillings with the laminated dough.
- Brush a thin layer of egg wash on the top of the pastries. Sprinkle some black sesames on top.
- Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 25 minutes, or more until the pastries are cooked and golden brown.
- Serve warm. The pastries can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.