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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Traditional Chinese Pastries Class

I took another class with Agnes Chiu (趙太). Her class was a Traditional Chinese Pastry (中式糕餅班). It was a good class since I had the chance to learn pastry techniques, which I've been wanting to learn.

We made Almond Tofu (杏仁豆腐) using Chinese almond (南杏). I always thought the almond that we snack on is used to make this. As well in other recipes that I've seen, they used almond extract only. This almond tofu was quite refreshing.

We made Thousand Year Old Egg Pastry. Thousand Year Old Egg or Century Egg (皮蛋) is a Chinese delicacy that is an acquired taste. It isn't really a 1000 year old but a duck egg preserved in lime, ash, clay, salt and rice husk. Here's a picture.

With the Thousand Year Old Pastry (皮蛋酥), I've never been crazy about it and this is no different. The only thing I liked was the Ginger mixed in the filling. Whenever I ate this at dim sum, I thought it had coconut but now I know it's ginger. The pastry shell was good though.

Here's how it looked inside.

That same night we made one of my favourite Chinese Traditional Pastry called Wife Cake (the literal translation) or also known as Winter Melon Pastry (老婆鉼). I think it's called Wife Cake because when a daughter gets married, the bride's family give out cakes and this cake is part of the mix.

The pastry has less fat or lard than bakery. Agnes (趙太) said that if you want it flaky, then add more lard but if you don't want to eat too much lard, this is the minimum amount of lard to make this dough successful. Anything less will not taste good and one should not bother making this.

I like this quite a bit that this Chinese New Year, I'm going to buy sugared winter melon to make this.

On Day 2, we made Custard Crystal Cake (奶皇水晶餅). The custard was pretty easy to make and now I can make custard bun (奶皇飽) with the same custard. Taste was ok. I might improve it by buying a different type of custard powder that has stronger custard taste.

The cakes look quite pretty. I bought the mould so I can make it again.

Agnes had different moulds so here are some variety.

We made flaky crust egg tart
(酥皮蛋撻). There are 2 types of egg tart crust - flaky crust and cookie crust. I personally like flaky crust.

I will definitely try making this again. I didn't like the filling though. I think my mom has a nicer recipe which I will use next time. I was in charge of the crust for this batch and it worked out well.

We also made bubble waffle (雞蛋仔烘餅). The batter needed to sit for four hours. It makes a difference!! The batter that sat for 4 hours was chewy. However both batter tasted the same.

Taste was good. Too bad it didn't work out. I don't think I'll make this, I'll just go out and buy. I don't have the pan and I'm not going to buy just to make this once. Second, I've been to many bubble waffle places and few succeed so I know it's hard to make!

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed the recipes very much. I will make the wife cake, almond tofu, crystal cake and egg tart. When I make them, you'll get to see them.

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