The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flaky Mooncakes - 酥皮鹹蛋黃豆沙月餅

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Flaky Mooncakes - 酥皮鹹蛋黃豆沙月餅

Remember last time when I posted an egg bread because of too many eggs? I turned some of those into salted eggs to be used in some dishes. A month has passed and it's time to use them, and what is a better way than to use them in mooncakes! I didn't bother to boil some to be eaten as is because boiled ones are readily available; I made my own because there are no "raw" salted eggs available in the market and those are what I need for dishes I'm planning to make. This style of mooncake is not as popular as the Cantonese one but it is equally delicious. I made this as a preparation for my Cantonese mooncake not because it's easier to make but I want to taste the combination of my salted eggs and homemade bean paste before doing something I've never done before. This requires a totally different skill set than Cantonese ones and I have experience with these before so I made this first as a warm-up.



In our country, these are called Hopia (好餅) meaning good cake/pastry taken from Hokkien dialect introduced by Chinese immigrants from Fujian; they are often smaller, available year round in every bakery and are not considered mooncakes because the term "mooncakes" only refers to Cantonese ones (only obtainable in Chinatown) but in fact they are "mooncakes" in other parts of China. Hopia with salted egg yolks are released as "Hopia Supreme" by a famous Chinese bakery here, you can see the reputation salted eggs have for making something really special; because they are really expensive.These are made with Chinese spiral pastry similar to Suzhou and Teochew style mooncakes. Made with alternating layers of oil and water dough, it has lots of flaky layers earning them the moniker "Thousand Layer Mooncakes" in some areas. Although similar to those styles of mooncakes mentioned, hopia is made differently and I made mine differently too that's why they (other hopia and mine) look different compared to those. I used lard this time and the flavor was elevated several notches higher! Lard has a unique flavor that no shortening can match! I also used it my bean paste, my bean paste improved a lot from the last batch, not just the flavor but the texture too!





I left some plain in case the combination of red bean paste and salted egg yolks didn't work. They love it with salted eggs, and asked why hadn't I made all with salted eggs. Because of this I'm so excited for my Cantonese mooncakes, they will be even better because we consider them "special" here. I made these special hopia/mooncake larger than normal, molded them in my mini llaneras that's why they have this nice oval shape (sort of my signature) and grilled them on a dry pan for that lovely golden brown on both sides. I think they are really lovely especially because I did not measure any of the ingredients. I think I should have used more filling so they are thicker/taller and prettier!



When I say flaky, I mean really flaky! The spiral technique is really incredible! It is the hallmark of a good hopia; messy plate, messy face, and a messy lap all from the crust!





I just don't want to open this post with a sad news but this reminds me of it. A couple of weeks ago, we are having problems on how to store eggs because their laying has become out of control; now there are no more  eggs to be found and almost no more chickens to be heard. Our entire flock was almost swept by a recurrence of a pestilence that did the same two years ago. It was sad to see vigorous and healthy chickens become suddenly lethargic and die in just days. Remember this post last year when I said the new generation of our chickens is steadily growing? All of them are gone now, 4-6 died each day that my dad just made a mass grave for them. In a span of a week and a half, no more was left of the new generation. 

Even this cute tailless one was included. He's special because from all the years of chicken raising, he was the first and only naturally tailless one. Look at how much he has grown in less than a year? We simply call him Kurong because that's how these rare tailless ones are called.



Fortunately the plague has stopped and and left a few survivors just like before. Interestingly, they are the original survivors from the former plague. We have a theory that they carry a gene that is naturally immune from the plague. Aren't they like in "infection" movies where the naturally immune are the few survivors that run away and fight the infected while finding a cure for the infection and formulating a plan for repopulation?! :P I'll stop here. I have a vivid imagination and it's my most feared movie genre!

Ladies and gentlemen, the majestic rooster that made it all possible before and hopefully will make it again this time. He was quarantined for a while to ensure his survival because he is the only uninfected rooster in the flock. He was the father of the entire second generation of the bantams and he outlived all of his children. He is left with four of his original hens and hopefully they will have chicks to raise a new (third) generation of chickens the second time around.



His one eye is even blind! That's how resilient he is!



Okay, back to good food again and salted eggs. I saved the best shot for last! Enjoy!



With the salted eggs I have, I also made Cantonese rice dumplings (Joong). Dried bamboo leaves are only available in Chinatown which is three hours away form where I live and we only go there once or twice a year; I used banana leaves because it's abundant in our backyard. This is not as authentic because of the different leaf used but this a variant and my take on the Cantonese style.

With all the banana leaves, dad made a nostalgic treat for him. Rice wrapped in banana leaves. He said that's what he brings to school back in the days prepared by my grandmother. Warm rice is wrapped in banana leaves sprinkled with a little salt; when opened, the aroma of banana leaf that perfumed the rice perfumes the air. He paired it with stuffed steamed milk fish in guess what.... of course, banana leaf!



Glutinous rice, peeled split mung beans, salted pork and salted egg yolks. No peeled split mung beans available here so I peeled and split them myself; soak them in water overnight then rub vigorously in batches to peel and split them. I used pork shoulder (it should be pork belly but there is no fine belly during that day in the market) and cured it in salt for 4 days. Cantonese Joong does not stir-fry its rice and there is no soy sauce so the dumpling is pearly white and soft.



Wrapping in banana leaf is difficult and needs a different technique than using bamboo leaves and this is just my "REAL" first try at wrapping rice dumplings. Tying is "anything goes until sealed" and is even more difficult than the wrapping. They are then boiled for 4 hours,



The result, one opened and spilled its contents in the boiling water so I ended up with only 3 dumpling in the end.



The rice was properly seasoned and soft, the mung beans are slightly sweet, the salted egg yolk is rich with the right saltiness but the pork is slightly saltier than preferred; I should have soaked it longer.



I grew up eating the Hokkien variety of rice dumplings so this one is good but different. Dad didn't like it very much unlike the mooncakes. I like this one especially the yolk, in fact I can eat it without the pork.





I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I do! Thank you very much! Job


SNEAK PEEK:

I already baked my Cantonese mooncakes and they are in their resting stage now. Let's see what will happen in my next post. Stay tuned!



                                                                                                                                                           To be continued...

Comments

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

I love reading your blogs and very much appreciate that you share your culture with fellow members in this forum. Your mooncakes (hopia) look delectable, though I have no experience with salted eggs, so can't quite image the entire experience. The bean curd and flaky pastry certainly would make for a rich meal, and your photos bring them to life.

Best of luck rebuilding your flock. I have a dear friend who raises chickens for their eggs and know she would be heartbroken to lose them so suddenly.

Looking forward to your next installment!

Cathy

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

I feel really good when someone enjoyed reading my post because a lot of love and work goes into every single post.

If you can't buy salted eggs, you can always try making your own. This is my father's method without measurements. Put eggs in a jar. Pour enough water until sufficiently covered. Pour out the water then add salt. Continue to add salt until no more can dissolve when stirred. Boil the solution and cool. Pour over the eggs and allow to brine for a month.

3 hens are incubating now and we're expecting 28 chicks if all hatch. Eggless meals again for a long time.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Have been busy all night baking pies for bringing to work tomorrow.  Just have a chance to sit down and read your post. It's past midnight here and all I had tonight was a plain salad.  I love 鹹肉粽 and yours make my stomach rumble!! Now I'm really craving for them! 

Lovely post, but it's really a torture to see so much good food I can't have! 

 

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Is that right again? I guess I should stick to xian rou zong! :D It's the simplest dumpling I've ever eaten; no mushrooms, lap cheong, chest nuts, haa mai, conpoy and soy sauce. It proves that something so simple can be so good. It is also very cheap to make. I was surprised with the pork; no wine, soy sauce or five spice; just salt but very delicious. I think the magic is in how the few ingredients complement each other.

I need to practice my wrapping with banana leaves. I tried to make tetragonal ones but it was a failure so I tried many shapes but I thinks the prettiest I made was the one wrapped using wrapping technique more widely used in southern China. It's the one pictured here, does it look like an authentic one? :P

Lucky co-workers you have! What pies did you make?

Glad you like this and SORRY! 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

The more I look at your 粽, the more I want them! So you say you cured the pork shoulders for 4 days. Besides salt, did you use anything else?  I think I've seen dried split mung bean in the market here, how do I prep it? I probably should soak it? For the rice,  you must have soaked it first. How do you season it?  Thanks. 

My goal is to come up with a less labor-intensive method to make 'fusion' 粽. :-) It's going to be a very nutritious meal  for my family. Looking forward...

I made cherry pies Last night.

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

For 4 large Joongs:

For half pound of pork shoulder, cover it with around half cup of salt then leave it in the fridge for 4 days. Everyday, the pork should be turned for even curing. There will be a lot of water from the pork and it will dissolve some of the salt, I didn't discard this. On the day of joong making, soak it wash the salt and soak it in water to remove excess saltiness. I soaked it for 2 hours when I made it and it's still too salty. I haven't made this again so I cannot recommend a proper soaking time, maybe 6 hours will be enough or an overnight soak will be needed. I suggest soak it in water then slice a small piece and fry in one hour increments so you can taste if the saltiness is enough for you. I saw this technique in a site I cannot remember anymore. The pork becomes like ham or uncured bacon. If you plan to use belly, remove the rind. Maybe you can wine, five spice or other seasonings after soaking. You then slice the pork into 8 or 12 pieces depending on your preference.

For the rice and mung beans; the night before the joong wrapping, wash them until the water runs clear then soak in plenty of water. The next day, drain very well then season with salt, sugar and a little vegetable oil. The rice should be a litte bland but still seasoned because the pork and egg yolks are already salty for balance. Ugh! How can I put this in words?!!!!!!! You should be able to taste the seasoning but feel that you need to add more. That is perfect already. I don't have exact measurement, I just add a little salt and sugar and taste the rice and mung beans the "spit" (sorry for my language) it out to check the seasoning. Just to clarify, I do not mix the portion I tasted back into the bowl of rice and mung beans. Haha I used half kilo of glutinous rice and about half a cup of mung beans.

I used 2 bantam eggs for each joong, if you use normal eggs, just one cut in half will be enough but for me, 2 normal yolks is what I want. :D Just separate the yolk and the white and rinse the yolk under running water.

I assume you already know how to wrap using bamboo leaves. Put s6 tablespoons of tablespoons of rice, 2 table spoons of mung beans, 2 pork slices, 2 salty egg yolks and cover with 2 tablespoons of mung beans and finally with another 6 tablespoons of rice. Wrap tightly and boil for 4 hours making sure the joongs are always submerged in water.

Sorry if this is the only one I can provide. It is the typical oriental approach to cooking that we use in our home.

Cheers and good luck!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

A little this, a little that.... and that's what my parents usually tell me how much seasoning I should use. So your instructions are very clear to me, I get it!  I'll give joong a try.  Thanks!

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

It's rare to find someone with the same wavelength/upbringing as me! I'll be waiting for your joongs!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

made in molds I don't have:-)  I use banana leaves to make tamales all the time and prefer them over corn husks for the sweet ones so they should be great for sweet moon cakes!  I quickly heat the banana leaves over an open flame to soften them and darken their color.  They are easy as pie to use to wrap things in then - very pliable with no tearing.

Sorry to hear about your chickens.  We had a bad disease come through here not long ago where the all the chickens had to be destroyed - made egg prices triple and they are still very high today.

Love the post and happy baking and cooking Job

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

I also pass the leaves over a fire because it will be impossible to wrap without doing it! It will will always tear. We call the process "pagsasalab". What I struggle with is the folding, rice dumplings are wrapped in specific shapes. Tetragonal ones are most common in northern China and I failed in it using banana leaves. The one pictured here is a shape more popular in southern China and its easy to replicate with banana leaves.

That is always a sad news for chickens. May our chickens be prolific so we'll have delicious eggs again!

Thanks and happy baking and cooking too uncle!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

認親認戚 on the forum. But if you ever call me "auntie", I will not talk to you again!  :-) :-) :-)

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Request granted... haha

Yippee's picture
Yippee

I did it...  Talk soon, thanks for your inspirations!

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

I'll patiently wait for the details... It's my turn now to feel tortured... :(

Yippee's picture
Yippee

It's been updated...

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Genius! Surprised with the oven trick and oil treatment of the leaves! What is the meat you used? That's my kind of joong, with lots of salty egg yolks! I'm glad you and your parents liked them! I think the quality of the rice you used is better than mine because it looked firmer and the individual rice grains are still intact. Did you soaked it overnight? Thanks for the update! It's really a treat!

Yippee's picture
Yippee

I used pork butt. Both the rice and the beans were soaked overnight.   I guess my rice grains remained intact because my cooking methods are less vigorous than boiling.  Making joong is a nice experience and now I've got it under my belt!  Thanks again for your inspirations!