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Dan Tart Cook-off I

Chinese

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#91 Transparent

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 05:44 PM

Oh wow, it looks like you're trying to put the bakeries out of business there, Tepee. The tarts look great.

Edited by Transparent, 03 May 2005 - 05:44 PM.


#92 yslee

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 06:48 PM

I did 2 types of puff pastry and tried baking each type a couple of different ways. I don't have a digital camera, so I hope you'll bear with my verbal descriptions. For all variations, I used Corinne Trang's filling recipe (2 c whole milk, 4 eggs, 3 tb sugar, 1 tb vanilla). The filling makes a pleasant English-style custard, but it's not what I'm looking for in a dan tat. But on to the real pain in the arse: the pastry.

Version 1: Apicio's recipe for Chinese puff pastry (posted in the Dan Tat thread in the Pastry forum). This is a traditionally rolled puff pastry. The dough was extreme soft to work with (it uses a lot of vegetable oil in the main dough, with a second lard dough) and I think this showed in the baked tarts. When I baked the pastry and filling together, the dough basically steamed along with the filling and came out floppy and damp. I tried these both at 300F for 45 minutes, and then at 375 for 20. When I blind-baked them (375F for 15), the pastry puffed very slightly and eventually became very firm. Overall, I was unsuccessful with this dough. The flavour was right, though.

Version 2: a rough puff pastry recipe (Lauren Chattman's Instant Gratification) using half butter and half lard. This was better, especially when blind-baked, but still didn't give the super-flaky effect I was after. Again, I baked this 3 ways (filled and low temp, filled and higher temp, and blind-baked). The best results were with the pre-baked shell, but they still weren't authentic.

To be sure that it wasn't my pastry that was the problem, I baked up the scraps as sugar twists and these were good and flaky (and hard to resist - feeling a bit sick, now :rolleyes: ). Also, most of my tarts looked okay, kind of like the stuff from mediocre Chinese bakeries - but they didn't taste right. I'm now wondering about the shape of my tarts: I'm using a standard muffin tin and questioning whether the straight-up-and-down sides are affecting the flake factor.

I might try again tomorrow, using Corinne Trang's pastry recipe and the remainder of her filling. But I'd love to hear about the results of someone with proper tart tins, please! Also, does anyone really like their filling recipe? Is it silken and delicate and not too milky? I'm officially obsessed.

#93 Tepee

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:10 PM

Great pics, Tepee! Which 2 layer pastry recipe did you use?

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Thanks, Sheetz and Transparent (do you know we share the same birthday? :biggrin: ). I do thinkthis pastry is the way to go, but lard should be used instead.

Wow, Lee. I salute you for all your efforts. Wished we could have seen the pix though. I used individual fluted tart tins for the shortcrust pastry effort and, for the latest, I used a shallow 12-holed tart pan with slightly sloping sides.

The simple filling of whole milk, sugar, vanilla, whole eggs was very light and smooth but has no 'bite'.

Rhoda (or was it Rhonda?)'s filling of whole eggs plus additional yolks, cream, sugar, milk is very satisfyingly rich... I can imagine it would be have been perfect if I had mixed it properly.

Told DH that I'll attempt it yet again next week....he said since the pastry is now more or less perfect ( I may have detected a shudder), why don't I fill it with something else? :wink: I believe by the end of this cook-off, we'll all be egg-shaped or egg-faced!
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#94 sheetz

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 09:22 PM

Great pics, Tepee! Which 2 layer pastry recipe did you use?

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I do thinkthis pastry is the way to go, but lard should be used instead.


Thanks. OK, I apologize for my ignorance, but I don't know what the difference between high protein flour and high ratio flour is.

#95 sheetz

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 09:32 PM

I'd love to hear about the results of someone with proper tart tins, please!

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At first I tried using a regular muffin tin but didn't like it, so I'm now using a mini-muffin pan, which I know some restaurants use. Nordicware has this nice mini-tartlette pan that looks like it would be perfect, but I'm not yet desperate enough to spend $30 on one at this point in time.

As far as doughs go, I've moved on past the rough puff pastry and am now experimenting with various versions of RheaS's recipe. I think I'm ever so slowing inching towards the recipe that I'm looking for. Hopefully Tepee's recipe will be the ticket.

Edited by sheetz, 03 May 2005 - 09:33 PM.


#96 Tepee

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 09:41 PM

OK, I apologize for my ignorance, but I don't know what the difference between high protein flour and high ratio flour is.

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LOL, I used to puzzle over this one too! HTH.

Hi-protein = bread flour = strong flour

Hi-ratio = cake flour = soft/weak flour

I agree that muffin tins may not be the best pans to use for this...too high, it's tricky to form a nice level top.
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#97 SuzySushi

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 11:47 PM

I did 2 types of puff pastry and tried baking each type a couple of different ways.


I might try again tomorrow, using Corinne Trang's pastry recipe and the remainder of her filling. But I'd love to hear about the results of someone with proper tart tins, please! Also, does anyone really like their filling recipe? Is it silken and delicate and not too milky? I'm officially obsessed.

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Wow! I'm really impressed by your perseverance! I've been too flummoxed by others' failures so far to try my hand at the pastry (I'm not known for my delicate touch with pie crusts... oh, would I have gotten lessons from my grandma!), but Rhoda Yee's recipe for custard (which Tepee used) sounds like the right proportions to me.
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#98 yslee

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 11:12 AM

Thanks, SuzySushi. At this point, I'm not sure where "perseverance" leaves off and "pig-headed monomania" begins!

Tepee, about the pastry recipe you linked to: how many tart shells do you get from the recipe? Does each ball constitute one tart shell? And after rolling it up Swiss-roll style, do you just roll it out into a circle?

There's something vaguely Buddhist about this whole cook-off, with people going through cycles of pastry, moving ever closer to perfection. Or maybe it's closer to Dante's Inferno.

#99 Tepee

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 05:55 PM

The recipe was a bit muddled; there's mention of 8 and 10 pcs. I made 12 from the recipe but you can easily stretch it to 14. Yup, one ball-within-ball for each shell. After rolling, you get a very short frankfurter. It starts off being difficult to work with because the water dough is kinda sticky. I had to dust the work surface and rolling pin with a lot of flour. Then after the 2nd fold, it got much easier to handle...very easy to roll out a circle. Some circles I formed by pressing with my fingers instead of using the rolling pin. Remember to get it as thin as you dare. BTW, I used a chrysanthemum cutter. Then I put the whole tray inside the fridge while I made the filling.

To dan tart perfection!!!

Edited by Tepee, 04 May 2005 - 05:57 PM.

TPcal!
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#100 Ling

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:58 PM

I got the recipe for "sou pei" (the pastry used in Chinese egg tarts) from my friend's gf's dad, who works at a Chinese bakery.

Here's the recipe:

Part 1:
lard 30g
cake flour 20 g

Part 2:
.5 g lard
.5 g sugar
15 mL water
24 g cake flour
1 egg

Mix Part 1. Mix Part 2. Put Part 2 on Part 1, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, roll and fold 4x.

On the first, second, and third roll, fold the pastry into thirds each time before rolling it out again.

On the last roll, fold the pastry into 4 sections, then put it in the fridge until it's firm. Then roll it out and use it to line your tart shells.

There are no instructions for baking, but I assume blind baking and then adding the custard would work best.

#101 sheetz

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 03:03 AM

Thanks for the recipe, Ling. Just one question. Are you sure about the measurements for part 2? If you mixed 24g (about 1/4 cup) of cake flour with an egg and 15 ml of water you'd wind up with a batter, not a dough.

Edited by sheetz, 22 May 2006 - 03:03 AM.


#102 hzrt8w

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 09:09 PM

I got the recipe for "sou pei" (the pastry used in Chinese egg tarts) from my friend's gf's dad, who works at a Chinese bakery.

Here's the recipe:

Part 1:
lard 30g
cake flour 20 g

Part 2:
.5 g lard
.5 g sugar
15 mL water
24 g cake flour
1 egg

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Thanks for the recipe, Ling. Are these measurements for 1 dan dart? For example, 20 g is less than 1 oz. Using one oz of flour to make the dough does not seem to be practical. Do we need to multiply the number of tarts to the actual weight to get the quantity we should use? In that case, 1 egg per tart for the second part seems a big much. I couldn't quite figure this out.

Edited by hzrt8w, 23 May 2006 - 07:35 AM.

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#103 Ling

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 01:16 AM

^You know what, I asked my friend the same thing when he gave me the recipe. I was like are you SURE the recipe says 30 GRAMS?!! Not 300 grams? And he said he was sure. The recipe doesn't really make sense to me either, but I thought I'd post it and see if you all thought the same...hmmm... :huh:

#104 sheetz

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:04 AM

Well, it's pointless to try the recipe as written because we all know it won't work. That said, IF the ingredient list is correct it provides enough clues to work with. For instance, using cake flour and an egg in the outer dough.

#105 Apicio

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 11:07 AM

Just to quickly test the proportion of liquid to flour of Ling’s recipe, I mixed 24 grams of cake flour and 15 grams of water and I obtained a fairly soft dough which with the addition of the lard and sugar can be usable. I don’t think the egg belongs to Part 2 since its addition will turn the dough into a crepe batter. Aside from the egg, the proportion of Part 1 and Part 2 appear to me to be correct although for easier handling this recipe should be doubled or even quadrupled.

I have been following this thread although I have not actually tried any of the recipes because China town is only ten minutes drive from where I live and the dan tarts I get from there are so cheap it is hardly worth the efforth. The crust of the dan tarts I get here has discreet tender flakes and do not appear to have been blind baked. I suspect that that is possible only because the baker use a filling from commercial custard mix. Baking the crust (which requires a fairly hot oven to cook them and make the flakes puff a bit) at the same time as a proper custard (which only requires a bain-marie heat because of the high proportion of eggs) is simply not compatible.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

#106 sheetz

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 12:19 PM

One of the reasons I want to learn to make these isn't so much that I can't buy them close by(which I can't) but that I want to be able make tartlets with different flavorings and fillings.

Edited by sheetz, 23 May 2006 - 12:28 PM.


#107 Apicio

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:56 AM

Here is a progress report on my quest for acceptable dan tart crust. I tried Ling’s most recent recipe excluding the egg which I consider a red herring. The result was tasteless (lacking in sugar and salt) shrunken greasy crust, very much like over-handled pie crust. The cake flour in the water dough was just too fragile to withstand extrusion but I suspect that the proportion of the oil dough to the water dought might be right. So adjusting for all of these I came up with the following recipe:

Oil dough

200 grams Cake flour
250 grams Lard

Water dough

300 grams All purpose flour
150 grams water
25 grams sugar
50 grams Lard


Followed Ling’s recipe’s turns with lots of rest in between. That is, three turns folded in thirds, fourth turn folded into four. For the final roll divide into two portions for ease of handling. Flatten the dough to as thin as possible giving it a rest if unyielding and follow again with a long rest in the fridge before final cutting otherwise the pieces will shrink into nothingness.

I baked these blind sandwiched between two brioche pans. The finished crusts are tasty and has the crunch and mouthfeel of the shortness of the crust of commercial dan tarts. I am dismayed by the amount of rest that it required though and really wonder how the commercial bakers do it. I suppose using dough relaxers as I did in the shop or else using another magic combination of cake and all purpose flour which I am going to try in my next attempt.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

#108 sheetz

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:14 PM

Thanks for the update, Apicio! I get the feeling the crusts aren't blind baked at all, that they are baked either low and slow or at high temp then reduced to low.

Edited by sheetz, 31 May 2006 - 12:15 PM.


#109 Apicio

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:41 PM

Sheetz,

We'll get to the filling once we perfect the crust. I figure I will have to try a few more versions of the crust so I did not want to waste the filling. The result from Ling's recipe were inedible and went to the bin as soon as they cooled down. The most recent ones were delicious without any filling.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

#110 sheetz

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:46 PM

Sheetz,

We'll get to the filling once we perfect the crust. 


Gotcha!

#111 Apicio

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 05:55 PM

Here is my final version of the dan tart crust. By mixing cake and all purpose flour in this version, I obtained a soft and malleable dough that can be rolled thin without breaking and also does not need as long rest periods. I increased the lard of the water dough to make it more tender and closer to the texture of the commercial dan tarts. The baking shells did not bubble and puffed out of shape in the oven and are very short although tasty to eat as is. I’m going to try filling them with my own custard mixture and baking them next time.


150 grams cake flour
150 grams all purpose flour
150 grams lard
150 grams water
25 grams granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt


275 grams lard
225 grams cake flour

Dump all the ingredients of the first group in a food processor and run until it forms into a clean ball. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Mix together the second group of ingredients until smooth but still firm.

Roll the water dough in a flat square around 18” x 18”. Spread the lard and flour mixture in the centre of this in a rough square with its corners close to the sides of water dough. Fold the flaps like a squre envelope. Flatten and roll the resulting package into a rough rectangle 12” on the short side. Fold this into three along the long side and wrap in plastic sheet and let rest in the fridge for two to three hours.

Roll again into a rectangle that is roughly 12” on the short side and fold into three along the long side. Do this one more time and wrap in plastic sheet and let rest. Stop and let the dough rest in the fridge any time you feel that it is resisting handling.


Split this package into two to make handling easier. Each one is rolled into a rectangle that is 18” on the long side. Rolled tightly like a jelly roll along the short side. Roll into an even rope that is 24” long. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Wrap this pieces in plastic sheet and let rest before rolling into final rounds approximately the diameter of your scalloped cutter (mine is 4” to fit my mini brioche pans).


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

#112 SuzySushi

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 12:00 AM

All I can say is, boy are you dedicated! I would've given up long ago. (In fact, I did give up long ago.)

Yay, Apicio!!!
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#113 Dejah

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 05:13 AM

All I can say is, boy are you dedicated! I would've given up long ago. (In fact, I did give up long ago.)
Yay, Apicio!!!

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So glad you persisted, Apicio. This may kickstart the dan tart cook-off to another round! :smile:
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#114 hzrt8w

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 09:56 AM

So glad you persisted, Apicio. This may kickstart the dan tart cook-off to another round! :smile:

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Ha! I can't bake a thing to save my life. Maybe I will try this too! Too tempting :raz:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#115 LittleIsland

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:23 PM

Reviving this to ask: Hey Apicio, any updates on your dan-tart efforts, and any pictures to share? Would love to SEE what you've come up with, and also the progress on the custard filling.

I want to try my hand at these soon, but (so sue me, I'm selfish) only once everyone has pretty much agreed on the "perfect" recipes! Weeelllll... and also because I haven't had too much experience with pies and tarts.

BTW I found this thread (and site) after returning from a trip to Hong Kong last month and, in a haze of dan-tart withdrawal, had almost given up on a frenetic online search of viable recipes for the real thing - when it comes to proper dan-tart recipes, it's a desert out there.

#116 Ling

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 10:53 AM

Well, it wasn't my recipe that I posted. As I said, it was from my friend's gf's dad. I didn't even try it as the proportions looked off, but thought I'd post it to see if other bakers felt the same way.

Here's another recipe for sou pei that I found online.

Edited by Ling, 08 September 2006 - 10:55 AM.


#117 Apicio

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 10:13 AM

I have noticed that attempts by a lot of participants in this board run into problems for the simple reason that passionate amateurs that they may be are attempting recipes that they simply are not technically ready for, their skill level not having reached the level required by the recipes. It results in far-fetched substitutions, poor adjustments in timing and temperature, total bewilderment in mending minor failures all of which no amount of expert advice but only more practice and experiece can remedy.

Making pâte feuilletée when you have not even baked muffins is equivalent to sitting in front of the piano to play the Minute Waltz with no prior training.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

#118 Ling

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 10:27 AM

I am not sure who you're referring to, Apico, but the recipe was from a baker who works at a Chinese bakery. Perhaps my friend copied down the measurements incorrectly--I think this is very likely. Furthermore, I find your uppity attitude very offputting and fail to see how it relates to the discussion of making sou pei. There are, believe it or not, "passionate amateur" bakers who can produce reasonable laminated doughs.

However, the fact remains that I don't appreciate being associated--or rather, repeatedly attributed--to a recipe that does not work, especially if you throw in the words "red herring" in your assessment of said recipe.

If you've read the Pastry forum on this website, I do often try to help other bakers who have trouble with their recipes, and also have helped many pastry students and home bakers who PM me for assistance. So to suggest that I'm intentionally posting a recipe with a red herring is rather offensive to me. I was excited to share the recipe though I wasn't sure if the proportions were correct because that was based on my own judgment and wanted to see if other (perhaps more knowledgable) bakers felt the same way.

Edited by Ling, 09 September 2006 - 01:13 PM.


#119 Ben Hong

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 11:22 AM

Ling your reputation as an accomplished cook and as an upstanding member of the eG is beyond reproach. If there were errors in the recipe, I am positive that they were errrors of transcription, not intention.

#120 hhlodesign

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Posted 09 September 2006 - 01:20 PM

I have noticed that attempts  by a lot of participants in this board run into problems for the simple reason that passionate amateurs that they may be are attempting recipes that they simply are not technically ready for, their skill level  not having reached the level required by the recipes.  It results in far-fetched substitutions, poor adjustments in timing and temperature, total bewilderment in mending minor failures all of which no amount of expert advice but only more practice and experiece can remedy.

Making pâte feuilletée when you have not even baked muffins is equivalent to sitting in front of the piano to play the Minute Waltz with no prior training.

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It is ignorant to assume that because one took piano lessons, that one can play Mozart better than one who taught him/herself how to play on his/her own.





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