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Dejah

Dan Tart Cook-off I

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The pastry recipe is fairly easy. You don't have to worry about your ingredients being very cold or overworking the dough. It was very easy to roll out right from the start. It took longer than regular short crusts because of the chilling time in between the pats of fat, but I liked working with it better.

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I've tried the recipe mentioned by RheaS and it was good but I still had problems with it being "too puffy". I've found another technique, called blitz or rough puff pastry that yields results very close to what we're looking for, imo. The pastry doesn't puff nearly as much as regular puff pastry does and, most importantly, there isn't any distortion around the edges. It also is more tender than puff pastry. I hope you all try it and tell me if you agree.

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Hello. Am I too late to join this cook-off? I normally lurk around Pastry & Baking (seldom posting) but mystery of the pastry sounded irresistible. (Also, I shot my mouth off about puff pastry in the Egg Tart threat and now feel the need to investigate my own theories!)

I thought I'd try both basic puff (either rough puff or with fewer turns) and Apicio's formula as well, which s/he has posted in the P&B thread. My question for you is, have you arrived at some consensus as to the silkiest, most delicate custard?

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yslee, it's never too late to join. We're still experimenting and have not reached any concensus. I've made so many batches I'm starting to get sick of flaky pastry, so I may take a few days off. Plus, my pants are starting to get tight. lol

I'm thinking of revisiting RheaS's recipe, but this time incorporating more fat into the dough. It appears that the more fat you blend into the flour, the less the dough will puff up when it bakes, which in this case is good.

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I'm curious. Wouldn't using a lean and oil dough produce a flaky crust for dan tart? Oil doughs are mostly used for stuff like char siu so, but wouldn't the tart shell have those multiple layers that we want? Then again, oil dough isn't exactly rich and buttery.

Melted butter perhaps?

I'm dying to experiment, but I just came home from Toronto friday night, and I've been busy with schoolwork. Rawr, and I dug out those tart tins. Turns out they weren't as big as I remember them. They're actually the ones used for dan tart, which is great, but I was kind of looking foward to jumbo dan tart.

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I'm curious. Wouldn't using a lean and oil dough produce a flaky crust for dan tart? Oil doughs are mostly used for stuff like char siu so, but wouldn't the tart shell have those multiple layers that we want? Then again, oil dough isn't exactly rich and buttery.

Melted butter perhaps?

Your words OIL DOUGH made me sit up and think. I have been using lard, but the Wei-Chuan book called for oil(liquid form, right?). Did I assume wrongly that they meant lard? Because I have always used lard, shortening or butter in my pastry, I couldn't imagine making dough with oil.

Has anyone ever made pastry dough with oil?

This dan tart is getting curious-er and curious-er! :blink:

The recipe I used for the custard called for eggs, milk, cream and sugar. It was silky smooth...much like the ones from Chinese bakeries.

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Your words OIL DOUGH made me sit up and think. I have been using lard, but the Wei-Chuan book called for oil(liquid form, right?). Did I assume wrongly that they meant lard? Because I have always used lard, shortening or butter in my pastry, I couldn't imagine making dough with oil.

Has anyone ever made pastry dough with oil?

In the Chinese Dan Tart recipes, what's called "oil skin" (oil dough) is really made from butter. Butter in Cantonese Chinese translation is Ngau Yau (Cow oil, a misnamer), which is where the "oil" dough picks up the "oil" from.

The butter should be cold (hard) when making the dough. You just cut the butter into small cubes to mix with flour. I don't think melted butter would make good results.

Also, placing the dough in the frige to chill it before baking is also essential.

To archieve the "flaky" result, many fold the dough, roll it down, fold the dough again, and roll it down many times (a lamination effect, I think). Some recipes call for rolling the "oil" dough with "water" dough (one that does not use butter) in an interleaved fashion.

The recipe I used for the custard called for eggs, milk, cream and sugar. It was silky smooth...much like the ones from Chinese bakeries.

Probably use just egg-york, right? If you didn't, try so.

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The recipe I used for the custard called for eggs, milk, cream and sugar. It was silky smooth...much like the ones from Chinese bakeries.

Probably use just egg-york, right? If you didn't, try so.

Rhoda's recipe called for 2 extra large eggs plus 3 extra large egg yolks, 1 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup half and half. I was happy with the results.

Thanks for the info' on the oil dough. I was on the right track then...and rolled and folded and rolled and folded. Will try again with various pastry recipes posted in the trhead.

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Sue-On, how many tarts (and what size) did you make with Rhoda's filling?

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I just checked Florence Lin's Complete Book of Breads. The oil dough is indeed made from lard. Wei Chuan does seem to have messed up a translation. I guess because yau can be interchanged between liquid and solid fat?

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Sue-On, how many tarts (and what size) did you make with Rhoda's filling?

I used regular size muffin tins. There was enough from Rhoda's rcipe to make the 24 tarts.

I am going to Wpg next weekend, and I want to shop for actual tarts tins. I saw one in a Gourmet Chef shop in Minot, North Dakota last weekend, but it was $23.00 US. I think I have seen them cheaper in Canada, Canadian funds. We were only gone for 24 hours, so it would have taken me over the $50.00 Canadian I am allowed to bring back before duty. So much for free trade! :angry:

As for interchange between oil and solid lard, I don't think you can do that with baking. :unsure:

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Finally did the 2 dough pastry. I wished I had lard ( :blink: don't wish too hard, TP!), because I used shortening and although the pastry was light and flaky, it lacked flavor. I discovered that to prevent the puffiness, you mustn't be afraid to flatten/thin the dough as much as possible. See the tart on the right...it's not as puffy as the one on the left. Then I used Rhoda's filling; I think I must have overbaked the tarts. The texture is not quite as smooth as the simple milk, eggs, sugar filling for my first tarts. Taken with bak kor foo chook yi mai tong sui with quail eggs.

gallery_12248_1175_88425.jpg


Edited by Tepee (log)

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Those look good enough to eat, Tepee! :laugh: That pastry looks a lot better than mine did with the 2 dough pastry.

Did you have a lot of bubbles in your egg mixture before you poured it into the tart shells? The texture on top makes me think that it is excessive mixing, thus the rougher appearance on the surface.

That's quite a combination in your tong. Did you use the foo chook sheets?

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Thanks, Sue-On. I already had 2....for testing purposes :rolleyes: .

You think I could have over-mixed? Hmmm...I did use a hand-whisk. Aside from the lack of flavor in the skin and the slightly rough texture of the filling, I think I prefer today's effort. I usually don't have bubbles in the egg mixture because I sieve it as I pour into the tart dough.

Yes, quite a mouthful of ingredients in the tong sui...gingko nuts, foo chook sheets (both dried and fresh), pearl barley, rock sugar, quail eggs and the unused egg white 'flower' from the dan tart filling. Very yeon.

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

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


Edited by Transparent (log)

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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.

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

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

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.

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

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 (log)

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

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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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.

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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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.

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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 (log)

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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.

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