Sunday, April 19, 2009

Red Bean Pastry

Using beans to make desserts and pastries is very common in Asia. The Japanese is more into adzuki or red beans while in Hong Kong and the rest of South East Asia, green, black, soy, split peas and root vegetables like yam and sweet potato are turned into sweet fillings for steamed desserts and baked pastries.
This red bean pastry is one of the most common pastry that you can find in any Malaysian coffeeshop. I never liked it when I was a kid, partly because I had another more tempting choice of the rich cookies made of lard which is conspicuously displayed in a huge see through jar that stands tempting on the cashier counter. But now, with me all grown up and living in a Western country with plenty choices of cookies, nostalgia kicks in and I tend to prefer these types of Asian pastries which is less sweet nor rich.

I did saw tubs of lard in my local grocery store, which is mainly used in the making of these pastries back in Hong Kong for a flakier crust and although I believe the phrase that some of us 'Live to Eat' but I believe also that we can 'Eat to death' if we go overboard and ignoring the health warnings of some ingredients. Hence, I opted for vegetable shortening instead, not that I agree it is totally healthy with the concerns of trans-fat and hydrogenated oil content but it is definitely not as harmful as the saturated fat content in pork fat.

I made the red bean filling earlier by soaking the red beans overnight to soften them a bit and cooked them for 1 hour with water before going on to process and blend it and re-cooked it with sugar and vegetable oil for another 25 mins, till the liquid is almost evaporated. My advice is that if there is no food processor or blender, making this filling smooth is a very difficult task. Now that I have tried making it, I think I will never go back to buying canned prepared red bean filling as it definitely taste fresher and you can control the amount of sugar added to it. The only thing in making this filling is that, during the second time cooking, a watchful eye is needed for the 25 mins and constant stirring is required to avoid burning. It was then let cool to room temperature and covering the bowl with cling film avoids the drying and forming of a crust on top of the filling.

I used the same recipe as the Sweet Meat Pastry, with a little variation by omitting the addition of egg into the water pastry and using cold water instead. Perhaps the egg really does better in the end result as I find that this pastry did not turned out as flaky as the Sweet Meat pastry one and neither did it have as much layers because I was a bit lazy on the folding and rolling part. However said, the taste is similar and crispy on the outside and soft crumbly in the inside. The best time to serve these pastries is when they are just out of the oven when the outer layer crust gives a crisp bite and the inside filling is slightly moist and warm.

Ingredients :

Filling:
1 cup dried adzuki red beans
3 cup water
4 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (personal choice)

Pastry:
Water dough
1-1/2 cup flour
5 tbsp vegetable shortening (80gm)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water

Oil Dough
1-3/4 cup flour
5 tbsp vegetable shortening (80gm)


Method:
Filling :
1)Soak the red bean overnight.
2)Rinse the red bean and boil with the 3 cups water. Turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir and check water content so that it doesn't dry up. Turn off heat.
3)Pour all the bean content into the blender and puree for continuous 1 min till smooth paste. Empty back into the pot and turn on low heat.
4)Stir in the vegetable oil till combined. Add in the sugar and stir to mix. Cook for 25 mins till the liquid starts to evaporate and the filling starts to lump. Continue to stir every 5 mins to avoid burning. Remove from heat and let cool in a bowl, covered with cling film.

Water Dough:
1)Beat the shortening with the sugar till combined. Add in the water and continue to mix.
2)Fold in the flour and the dough will form. Knead with hands till combined evenly.
3)Form into 50gm ball each. (Makes 8)

Oil Dough :
1)Rub the shortening into the flour, as in making pastry tarts.
2)The dough will be crumbly and sticky. Dust hands with extra flour when dividing and forming into balls.Form into 50gm ball each (Makes 8)

To make the pastries:
1)Roll out each ball of water dough to a square. Put a ball of oil dough on top of it and gently squish with your fingers so the oil dough sticks to the water dough. Gently roll out to the same size as the water dough.
2)Fold the dough 2 times and turn it vertical and fold twice again. Roll out to a square again.
3)Repeat the folding part and turn it vertical again and fold twice again. Roll out to square again.
4)Scoop 2 teaspoons of the red bean paste to fill the middle part of the dough and gather up the rim to join up. Pinch to enclose any openings. Turn the filled dough downside up and put in your palm, cupping it to form a round patty. Put it down on a floured surface and with a rolling pin, gently apply pressure from the middle towards out to flatten the patty a little.
5)Place the patties on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
6)Repeat with all the remaining balls of water and oil dough.
7)Preheat oven to 400F.
8)Beat one egg and brush on top of each pastry. Poke the patties with fork.
9)Bake for 25 mins. After the first 10 mins, turn down the heat to 375F and apply more egg wash and rotate the pan when baking. Check at the last 5 mins if the pastry has brown perfectly, if not, apply more egg wash.
10)Remove from heat and cool on racks. Serve warm.

Makes : 8 (measuring 2.5 to 3 inches)

1 comment:

terri@adailyobsession said...

ur red bean pastries look better (n taste much much better) than those we get in the shops now :(

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