Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Flaky and Flakiest Tau Sar Piah with smooth Tau Sar filling 酥皮豆沙饼

This is me continuing my tau sar piah baking exploration...

Tau sar piah? It is a traditional Singapore / Malaysian Chinese type of pastry filled with mung beans filling which can be sweet, salty, pasty or melty as mentioned at here.

If you are a Singaporean like me, you will know that there are many types of tau sar piah with various types and combinations of fillings and pastry to enjoy... Previously, I have baked the yuan yang kind which is made of a flaky pastry with a perfect combination of slightly sweet, salty and spicy flavours in its mung beans and meat floss filling. And for this bake, I tell myself that I have to find the tau sar piah that is the flakiest!

At where? I like to ask... mirror mirror on the wall? Nay! I don't have a magic mirror and don't look like an evil queen or even a snow white! LOL! Fortunately, I do have internet and have a blogging friend who has baked the most awesome flaky tau sar piah at Victoria Bakes. High five Victoria!!!

This recipe can bake seriously flaky tau sar piah!!! To look for the flakiest of all, I'm in my investigating suit to see if the use of different fat can make any differences... Well, let's see.

flaky tar sar piah smooth tau sar filling
Is this flaky Tau Sar Piah the flakiest?

Instead of the salty and textured kind of mung bean filling that I have made before, I like to bake these flaky tau sar piah with a smooth and brown-sugared 611-like tau sar filling. 611? As mentioned before at here, 611 is a famous tau sar piah shop in Singapore for generations but seems to be disappearing for some reasons and this recipe that I have mostly adapted from the book Delicious Asian Baked Treats by Oi Lin is so yum and can be as good as the 611-kind!

Start by soaking the mung beans on the day before.
Then steam the beans until they are very tender and soft.
This step is essential to create a smooth texture.
And cook the paste with oil and sugar.
With a couple of minutes of cooking, the paste is done!
In this bake, I have used this flaky pastry recipe with four different kinds of fats to make four different pastry.
I have ditched the pastry that I have made with oil because the oil dough made with oil is too crumbly to handle as the water dough made with oil can't blend well to form a smooth dough... ewww!
So, I moved on to use only these dough to make the pastries.
Please see here for photo showing how to roll the pastry into flaky dough.
This pastry is softest of all to handle and makes the flakiest pastry with lightest texture.
This pastry is firmest and easiest to handle and makes the most stable pastry with distinctive flaky layers.
Taste wise, this pastry is the best. It melts in your mouth with buttery flavours.
... but see this!!! The butter pastry is the least stable of all !!!
See how light and flaky this shortening pastry is. It melts in my mouth when I bite on it.
In contrast, this firm ghee pastry is the heaviest being not easy to break at all.
Having said that, it can melt in the mouth too but not as tender and melty as the shortening pastry.
This butter pastry is the best in its taste as the shortening pastry does not have any lovely milky taste like these.
Unfortunately, this butter pastry can puff up a lot more during baking as they are not structurally stable like those that are made with ghee and shortening. 

So mirror mirror can you tell me which tau sar piah that is the flakiest of all? I would say the ones that are made with either shortening or butter but the tastiest ones are the ugly-looking ones that are made with butter... LOL!

Having said that, I like to strong emphasise that this is just my personal opinion as you might like your tau sar piah very differently.

Update on 30 August 2016: I have baked these lovely pastries again with shortening and have a one-minute video showing you how I baked them. Enjoy!

flaky tau sar piah
Flaky Tau Sar Piah
flaky tau sar piah
See! How flaky are these lovely pastries!!!

Nevertheless here are the recipes.

Brown sugar tau sar filling that is mostly adapted from the book, Delicious Asian Baked Treats by Oi Lin

Makes 20 portions
100g mung beans (without skin), rinsed with cold water
50g caster sugar
25g dark brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar*
1/2 tsp salt**
4 tbsp finely sliced shallots
45ml (3 tbsp) neutral-tasting and smooth cooking oil plus more to fry the shallot - please note that you might need to use a lot more oil if you are using a bigger pan to deep fry your shallot.

* Please do not reduce this amount as the sweetness of this paste is just right.
** You can add more salt if you are making this paste into a salty paste.

Place beans in a large bowl or container and fill the bowl or the container with adequate water. Cover the bowl or container with plastic wrap and leave the bean in the fridge to soak overnight.

On the next day, pour off the soaking water. Wash the beans with extra water and drain them thoroughly, then transfer the beans into a heat proof container.

Using a steamer with rapid boiling water at the base of the steamer, steam the beans for 30 mins or until soft.

While steaming, fry shallots in cooking oil with medium heat until golden brown. Remove shallots from the frying oil and place them on paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Do not discard the frying oil as you need to use some of the oil as shallot oil later. Set aside.

When the beans are cooked, pour the beans into a sieve to drain any excess liquid. Using a food processor or blender, process the beans and fried shallots to form a smooth paste. You may add a little water into the mixture if the mixture is too dry to process.

Transfer the bean paste into a saucepan. Add 45ml (3 tbsp) shallot oil and cook and stir the paste using medium low heat until the paste is semi-dry. Add both sugars into the paste and continue to cook and stir for another 2 mins or until the paste is firm enough for shaping but also moist enough for taste. Set aside to cool.

Divide into 20 portions.

Flaky pastry that is mostly adapted from Victoria Bakes

Makes 5-6 x 5.5cm biscuits with each kind of fat, 5 for the ones made with shortening and 6 for the ones made with ghee or butter

Water dough
50g all purpose flour
25g shortening, preferably the trans fat free Crisco / ghee / unsalted butter, soften at room temperature - please do not use oil
25g water

Oil dough
50g cake flour
35g shortening preferably the trans fat free Crisco / ghee / unsalted butter, soften at room temperature - please do not use oil

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tbsp milk

black and white sesame seeds to sprinkle

To prepare the water dough:
In a mixing bowl, rub shortening or ghee or butter into flour. Add water and combine the mixture into a dough. Transfer the dough onto a non-stick surface and knead until it is smooth. Cover the dough with a cling wrap and set aside to rest for 1 hr in room temperature.

To prepare the oil dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine cake flour and shortening or ghee or butter to form a pliable dough. Cover it with a cling wrap. Set aside.

To assemble:
Divide the water and oil dough into 5-6 equal portions.

Take a portion of water dough and roll it into a flat round shape. Place a portion of oil dough on the rolled water dough and wrap the water dough around the oil dough. Seal the edges.

Using a rolling pin, roll the combined dough into a flat oval shape and roll it up like Swiss roll. Using a rolling pin, roll the combined dough into a long strip and roll up like a Swiss roll again.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a flat round disc. Place each divided mung bean fillings (about one tablespoonful) in the center of the dough. Wrap it and seal the edges. You can either shape the pastry into a rounded ball or use a rolling pin to flatten it slightly to form a flat disc. Repeat this shaping method with the rest of the pastry and filling.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line baking tray with baking paper. Place the wrapped pastries with its seam side down onto the prepared tray.

Apply egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on the pastries and bake for 20 mins or until deep golden brown.

Allow the pastry to cool slightly (about 10 mins) in the tray. Transfer the pastry to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in room temperature for up to 3 days.

Happy Baking
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  1. wow your baking recipes are really inspirational zoe and you compare every ingredient in a single post.thats really great and keep up this work dear

  2. Zoe, another wonderful experiment from you! Now we can choose which ingredient to use based on our liking. You can now write a thesis and earn a PhD on tau sar piah hee..hee...

  3. Your tau sar piah looks so so flaky and delicious.. I can eat 100 pieces of those Kim Heang ones.. Means I can eat 200 pieces of your homemade ones!

  4. I saw a lot of different way to make Chinese pastry. For example, some people will divide油酥 and 皮酥, then wrap and fold them together.
    Have you tried that before?
    Also, I would definitely like this better if it's filled with bbq pork because I don't like the beans haha :)

  5. Your tau sar piah looks so professionally done. Flaky n nice!

  6. whoa....they definitely look super duper flaky!!! All of them are delicious! I will take all of them thanks! :)

  7. I always want to eat these right through your screen.

  8. Hahaha high 5!!!! Always love your analysis into usage of different ingredient... make it double high 5!!! Very flaky ones indeed.. love the innards

  9. Oh yummy yet again Zoe! I remember helping a friend roll and mix and shape the doughs for a pork/pineapple filling! No one else had worked with dim sum except me so I ended up helping her make about a hundred of these little things! I haven't personally tried making these from scratch but would love to try when I make the time!

  10. Looks great! Japanese has similar sweets...with azuki sweet beans. You did a great job!

  11. Yummy yummy flaky pastries......... I love butter pastries more :)

  12. Hi Zoe,
    Yum yum ... I'm drooling over these flaky tau sar pastries ^-^! Thanks for sharing the 3 types of pastry.

  13. Hi Zoe,
    These tau sah piah of yours look real good!!
    It is like the work of a chinese pastry chef. Send some over please!! :p

  14. Thank you very much for the recipe. .today I made it and sooo yummy just like in my memories . Thanks soo much Zoe

  15. Hi Zoe,thank you so much for sharing your recipe and taking the efforts to try different ingredients! It was really helpful. Based on yr recipe, i did a little experiment myself. Used shortening for water dough and butter for oil dough. It turned out perfect! No bumpy shapes, nice flakes and great buttery taste! I have taken some pictures but i am not sure how to share it here. Thank u!

  16. Thank you so much for the recipe and thoughtful guide. I couldn't believe I actually made it ! So excited ♡

  17. Hi Zoe, thanks for sharing. I have experimented your recipe with both the shortening and the buttercup margarine. I would say the buttercup was my preferred choice. I baked it with low sugar green tea Lotus paste. It was really good. I got a hint of salty and buttery taste with the flaky texture.

  18. Hello, thank you for your tau siar piah recipe. Just the recipe I needed to satisfy my need for some freshly baked tau siar piah. I used butter in the dough and did cheat by using store bought lotus paste but the results were still great. So thank you very much.