Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Dejah

Dan Tart Cook-off I

Recommended Posts

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sheetz,

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

Gotcha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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!!!

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So glad you persisted, Apicio. This may kickstart the dan tart cook-off to another round! :smile:

Ha! I can't bake a thing to save my life. Maybe I will try this too! Too tempting :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By SusieQ
      Hello all, I need help figuring out which part of the sichuan peppercorns I bought to use. From what I've read, I think I'm supposed to use the hulls rather than the black seeds. Toast the hulls and grind them up, correct?  This is for use in my fave dish, mapo tofu. Thanks for your help! 
       
      (Well, that didn't work. I guess I don't know how to upload a photo. Nuts. Maybe I don't need a photo? Maybe just tell me whether to use the hulls or the black seeds, or both?)
    • By liuzhou
      While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades".
       
      What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most of what you will see will be vegetables from supermarkets, where I can see the Chinese labelling. In "farmer's" or wet markets, there is no labelling and although, If I ask, different traders will have different names for the same vegetable. Many a time I've been supplied a name, but been unable to find any reference to it from Mr Google or his Chinese counterparts. Or if I find the Chinese, can't find an accepted translation so have to translate literally.
       
      Also, there is the problem that most of the names which are used in the English speaking countries have, for historical reasons, been adopted from Cantonese, whereas 90% of Chinese speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔ tōng huà). But I will do my best to supply as many alternative names as I can find. I shall also attempt to give Chinese names in simplified Chinese characters as used throughout mainland China and then in  traditional Chinese characters,  now mainly only used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among much of the Chinese diaspora. If I only give one version, that means they are the same in Simp and Trad.
       
      I'll try to do at least one a day. Until I collapse under the weight of vegetation.
       
      Please, if you know any other names for any of these, chip in. Also, please point out any errors of mine.
       
      I'll start with bok choy/choy. This is and alternatives such as  pak choi or pok choi are Anglicised attempts at the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin! However in Cantonese it is more often 紹菜; Jyutping: siu6 coi3. In Chinese it is 白菜. Mandarin Pinyin 'bái cài'. This literally means 'white vegetable' but really just means 'cabbage' and of course there are many forms of cabbage. Merely asking for bái cài in many a Chinese store or restaurant will be met with blank stares and requests to clarify. From here on I'm just going to translate 白菜 as 'cabbage'.

      So, here we go.


       
      Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
       
      This is what you may be served if you just ask for baicai. Or maybe not. In much of China it is 大白菜 dà bái cài meaning 'big cabbage'. In English, usually known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, etc.  In Chinese, alternative names include 结球白菜 / 結球白菜 ( jié qiú bái cài ), literally knotted ball cabbage, but there are many more. 
       
      This cabbage is also frequently pickled and becomes  known as 酸菜 (Mand: suān cài; Cant: syun1 coi3) meaning 'sour vegetable', although this term is also used to refer to pickled mustard greens.
       

      Pickled cabbage.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years.
       
      Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.. So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency.
      If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat.And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu.
      Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide -knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      I have just returned home to China from an almost two week trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get there I first travelled by train to the provincial capital, Nanning. The local airport only does domestic flights, whereas there are direct flights from Nanning. The flight time required that I stay overnight at the Aviation Hotel in Nanning, from which there is a regular direct bus to the airport.
       
      The trip to Nanning is about an hour and a half and passes through some nice karst scenery.
       
       
      After booking into the hotel, I set off for my favourite Nanning eating destination. Zhongshan Night market is a well known spot and very popular with the locals. I had forgotten that it was a local holiday - the place is always busy, but that night it was exceptionally so.
       

       

       
      It consists of one long street with hundreds of stalls and is basically a seafood market, although there are a few stalls selling alternatives.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Filled myself with seafood (and some of that blood sausage above), slept soundly and, next morning, flew to Ho Chi Minh City.
       

       

       
      The rest of my trip can be seen here:
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×