Pastry, that is - chinese flaky pastry to be exact.
Mum had given me a stack of her old recipe books, and as I thumbed through them one afternoon, the recipe for Flaky Coconut Patty caught my eye. I wasn’t too fussed about the snack itself but I really wanted to give the pastry a try. There are many variations of this pastry, and I’d attempted a couple of different ones without much success, until I followed this recipe.
Mum wrote all her recipes in exercise books and I’m not sure where this exact recipe came from. She compiled them from magazines, newspapers, books, friends, acquaintances and sometimes hastily copied them down from TV cooking shows (before the age of the internet).
This pastry can be used for either sweet or savoury snacks. I made up a batch and filled half with a sweet peanut and sesame seed filling, and used the other half to make curry puffs or karipap pusing. (“pusing” is the Malay word for spin or turn, and refers to the spirals formed in the pastry).
Without further ado:
Step by step Chinese flaky pastry.
Make and cool desired filling first - feel free to experiment. Anything that would work in a pie would probably work in this. Just make sure it’s not too liquid.
Step 1: Make up the two dough recipes (to follow). One will be referred to as the Oil dough, and the other the Butter dough (it was meant to be made with lard, but I substituted with butter instead).
Step 2: Roll each batch of dough into a long thin log and cut each log into the same number of portions(I made about 30 each). Roll each portion into a ball. Alternatively, pinch out walnut sized balls from each batch of dough and try to make each ball roughly the same size. The butter dough balls will end up being slightly smaller than the oil dough balls.
Step 3: Take one Oil dough ball and one Butter dough ball. Flatten the Oil dough ball, place the Butter dough ball on it, then wrap the Oil dough up and around the Butter dough ball, completely encasing it.
Step 4: Roll the ball into a cigar shape then use a rolling pin to gently flatten the cigar into a long rectangular shape. Starting from the end closest to you, roll up the dough until you get a little “snail”. Give the dough a quarter turn so the spiral part is facing you. Roll it flat again with the rolling pin. Repeat the step of rolling up the dough into a “snail”, turning then flattening, twice more.
Step 5: You’ll end up with a longish rectangle of dough. If making the coconut patty, slice the dough in half vertically (don’t do this if intending to make curry puffs instead) and roll each half up so you end up with two “snails”. This time, turn the snail so that it sits on the spiral. Flatten gently then roll to get a circle. You should be able to see the circular patterns in the dough at this stage. I tried very hard, but it was difficult to keep the spirals perfectly round, mine kept skewing off into all directions. The edges also looked very raggedy so I used pie cutters to cut out perfect shapes (cheating is allowed).
Step 6: Hold one of the flattened (and perfectly cut ☺ ) circles in your hand, spoon filling in (not too much or it will leak), cover with the other circle and pinch the edges together all round. Then fold/crimp the pinched parts over and overlap them slightly to get a nice finish (see pic).
Step 5 (part 2) : If intending to make curry puffs, roll up the whole dough then flatten and cut out circle. This circle will be larger than the coconut patty circles. Hold circle in one hand, spoon filling into the middle, then fold the pastry in half. Pinch edges to seal and crimp with fingers.
Traditionally, these pastries are deep fried. I fried the peanut versions, and this gives a lovely crisp yet flaky pastry. Alternatively you can brush with oil then bake in a hot oven. The pastry still ends up flaky, but not as crisp.
Thumbs up from the critics and Mr. Kitchen Hand. Will have to try this again and see if I can get proper circles without cheating next time :P
Outer Pastry (Oil dough)
10oz plain flour
2 ½ oz oil
Sift flour onto table, make a well in the center. Pour in the oil and water and gently mix together, then knead until a soft dough forms. Cover and set aside. (Not too sure if it’s suitable for refrigerating. I refrigerated it in an airtight container but the oil seeped out and needed to be reworked into the dough. Didn’t seem to affect the final outcome too much though.)
Inner pastry (Butter dough)
6oz plain flour
3 ½ oz butter (or lard)
Rub the butter into the flour (like making shortcrust pastry), then knead gently to form a dough. Flatten into disc and wrap with clingwrap.
½ cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup peanuts (crushed)
2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
1 cup sugar
Mix filling ingredients together in bowl. (The recipe doesn’t say to cook the ingredients and I assume it will cook with the pastry. I did cook the filling however - I omitted coconut and used about ½ cup peanuts and ½ cup sugar instead. I caramelised the peanut and sugar together then stirred in the sesame seeds).
(If using meat etc for filling, then it will need to be pre-cooked)
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