Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pumpkin Dumplings

Source: The Sweet Dynasty Dainty Desserts (Hong Kong SCMP Publication)
Preparation Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Autumn/Fall is the season for pumpkins and squash and the beautiful colors of bronze, orange, yellow and green are a spectacular sight for anyone who enjoys this season. Instead of the usual pumpkin pie, I opted to use the squash for this dessert dumpling, which is equally sweet and delectable.

This dessert cookbook is an old publication from Hong Kong and it contains alot of recipes that showcases the many possibilities of making desserts and sweets with simple ingredients and mostly of an Asian flair.

Any squash will do for this dessert and I simply picked up a cut up piece from the grocery store, all cut up, cleaned and ready to be used. As with most Asian sweets, this dumpling is made with glutinous rice flour which gives a chewy result to the end product. The squash must firstly be steamed to a very soft texture and then mash to paste texture. The glutinous rice flour is added into the mashed squash when it is still hot and incorporates beautifully. Sugar is also added as the sweetness of the squash itself is not very apparent after the steaming. The kneading and blending in this process is to be done patiently till a yellowish soft dough is formed. The bronze orange color will not be outstanding until the dumplings are already cooked.

I chose lotus nut paste for the filling and other choices may be substituted as long as that it is in the dry paste form and not watery. The dough is quite soft and malleable and indeed very easy to roll into shape. The dough is divided into balls of 50gm each and pinched out flat to contain a 25gm paste ball of the filling. The trick to an easy wrapping is to shape the filling into a round ball shape, placing it in the middle of the flatten dough and slowly bring the edges of the pumpkin dough by gathering in an anti-clockwise directions till the edges all gather to the centre and start rolling the complete pumpkin ball in your palms with a little pressure from the bottom hand palm, forming a slightly flat bottom. The lines that shapes the pumpkin sections are indented with the back of a knife by slowly applying pressure from top to bottom. When making anything with glutinous rice flour and steaming it, always line the steaming plate with waxed paper or else it will stick to the plate after cooking.

The stalk was made from melted chocolate. To give it a bark rough appearance, I used a toothpick to pull streaks in the piped out chocolate sticks and I let them harden in the freezer. Possibly the dumplings were still a bit warm when I attached the chocolate stalks, they soften a little. The dumplings tend to be sticky when they are just out of the steaming pan but once cooled down to room temperature, they are more easier to pick up. Throughout the whole process, I would say the most time consuming and effort goes into the wrapping part and the scoring part to shape the pumpkins. Other than that, these dumplings are very pretty and will surely be a sweet ending to any Autumn dinner gathering.


crazymommy said...

They look so cute and thanks for sharing this tasty treat with me today! :)

Ling said...

They're so pretty. Seems almost a pity to eat them.

dolly's fav said...

jeanette, i m making this now... really need alot of time to do it.. hmm.. but its quite tasteless.. cos i dun dare to put too much sugar.. hehe

Johnathan Oh said...

My my, this looked really beautiful!