Monday, September 21, 2015

Like 611 Buttery Tau Sar Piah 像611牛油豆沙饼

I love 611 tau sar piah but have not eaten these buttery tau sar piah for a loooong long time...

611? Why this name and number?

If you are (1) a Singaporean, (2) a Gen Y or X or earlier and (3) a tau sar piah lover, I'm sure you will know and remember the famous 611 tau sar piah. Tau sar piah? For those who don't know, it is a traditional Singapore / Malaysian Chinese type of pastry filled with mung beans filling which can be sweet, salty, pasty or melty.

Back to the olden days with shop houses and NO massive shopping malls, a humble bakery called 611 tau sar piah cake shop was born at 611 Balestier Road, Singapore. The owner, Mr Lee Hee Tuang started this shop by selling mostly buttery Tau Sar Piah in many variety for years and passed his business to his daughter Ms Lee Shan Shan when he retired. Since then, Ms Lee updated the image of 611 tau sar piah. She opened an outlet at a huge shopping mall, Vivo City called Little Red Shop and was selling tau sar piah with many varieties like (1) the regular salty mung bean paste 咸豆沙 (2) the popular sweet mung bean paste 甜豆沙 (3) lotus paste 莲蓉 (4) red bean paste 红豆沙 (5) Penang mung bean paste 槟城咸豆沙 (6) pineapple paste 黄梨 (7) green tea lotus paste 绿茶莲蓉饼 (8) coffee red bean paste 咖啡豆沙 (9)Durian lotus paste 榴莲莲蓉. The mung bean paste 豆沙, lotus paste 莲蓉, red bean paste 红豆沙 and Penang mung bean paste 槟城咸豆沙 are the traditional pastry fillings that we would normally eat in Chinese pastry and the rest are exotic varieties that were created subsequently based on food trends and popularity.

Unlike the other tau sar piah (like these that I have baked at here and here, the 611 tau sar piah is different because of its buttery and not-distinctive layered pastry. According to ieatishootipost, the pastry tastes like crunchy-like-butter-cookie but flaky at the same time. Unlike the regular pale and crumbly mung bean filling, the regular salty and the popular sweet 611 tau sar piah are usually made of smooth and pasty mung bean paste which is well flavoured with brown sugar and fried shallots... Well, exactly like this mung bean filling that I have found at here.

Sounds yummy?

Months ago, my close cousin who is living in NYC and I were back in Singapore for our holidays. When we met up, we were both looking for 611 tau sar piah and sad to say that these yummy traditional pastry are not selling in Vivo city anymore!

I told my cousin that I'm going to recreate 611-like tar sar piah at our Melbourne home and she gave me a thumb up. Based on what I can remember, these are what I baked...

buttery flaky 611 tau sar piah mung bean pastry
611-like buttery tau sar piah

To create pastry that is crunchy-like-butter-cookie and flaky, I was thinking of these few perfect pastry recipes that I have came across:

1) Butter and shortening pastry in 1:1 ratio from NY times
2) Butter and shortening pastry in 1:2 ratio from Ina Garten
3) Butter and shortening pastry in 1:3 ratio from Paula Deen
4) Butter pastry with all butter!

To be honest, I can't really tell which ratio of butter and shortening will make the most 611-like kind of pastry and something in my head is telling me that I have to try something!!! LOL! Instead of eeny meeny miny moe... I have chosen to be the typical me! Yes to option 3 and 4! With the minimal shortening used, I like to create pastry with the maximum buttery taste.

Having said that, I like to clarify that these pastries are 611-like and not entirely 100% replica of 611. I'm not related to Mr Lee and his daughter and do not have their recipes. I don't know how they made their tau sar piah pastry... Do they use cold butter or not??? Hmmm... If you think that these tau sar piah is not 611 enough, you might wish to use another recipe or change the ratio of fat or the types of fat used... well, according to the way that you like :)

For this bake, I have made two types of pastries: (1) Using butter and shortening in 1:3 ratio and (2) Using all butter...

It is important that the butter and shortening are cold as this will make the pastry flaky.
Rub the fats into the flour. Add water to form a dough. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 mins.
This is the shortening that I used which is better as it is trans fat free.

To assemble:
Divide mung bean paste into portions.
Pictures showing how I made this paste can be found here.
Roll and wrap the filling into the pastry.
The traditional look is to flatten the wrapped pastry slightly.
These are the pastries made with shortening and butter.
These are the pastries made with with all butter.
Tau sar piah with shortening and butter:
Buttery, flaky and melty! Very delicious!
Tau sar piah with all butter:
Beautiful! It is slightly firmer and more biscuit-like than the ones with shortening.
Its butter taste is super tok kong! (meaning superb in Singlish)

Are these pastries 611-like?
Yeah... I would say close enough!

Which one is more 611 like?
When they are warm or freshly baked, I can tell the differences of both pastries. The one with shortening is more melty and less biscuity and the one with all butter smell wonderful with its all butter taste. When they are cooled to room temperature, both tastes almost the same!!! Hmmm...

I can't really say which is more 611 as both slightly different textures are equally enjoyable. Hope that you will like this recipe that I have explored and bake these tau sar piah at your home :)

Here's my 611-like tau sar piah recipe.

Smooth brown sugar tau sar filling from here

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.

Butter pastry that is mostly adapted from here

Makes 20 x 5cm tau sar piah
380g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
40g icing sugar
60g vegetable shortening, cold from the fridge, preferably the trans-fat-free Crisco***
180g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
4-8 tbsp ice cold water
*** You can substitute shortening with the same amount of butter.

Egg wash:
2 egg yolk
2 tsp oil

black and white sesame seeds to sprinkle

Mix flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add shortening. Using your fingertips, toss shortening into the flour mixture and break it into crumbs while tossing the mixture. Add cold butter cubes and do the same by rubbing in the butter into the flour mixture. Work quickly so that the butter won't go soft. The mixture will look like coarse crumbs. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Wrap dough in cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 mins.

On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pastry into a large circle with about 5 mm thickness. Cut the rolled pastry with a 9 cm round cutter.

Place each divided mung bean fillings in the center of the dough. Wrap it and seal the edges. With its seam side down, use a rolling pin to flatten slightly to form a flat disc shape. 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 25 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. Zoe, you bake your own tau sar piah. you are so great. I love tau sar piah and all types of biscuits like this.

  2. Oops, never heard of 611 tau sar piah.. Only Dragonball and Kim Heang, the Penang one.. Bet yours taste so delicious as always. Can have 8 pieces with Milo!

  3. Wow.... great baking...... I love this... :)

  4. It's so great to see you are so passionate about your recipes and experimenting. I love Tau Sar Piah! Really miss about of childhood goodies! Thanks for sharing

  5. Hi Zoe,
    You are a super baker! Your tau sar piah looks flaky and delish! Thumbs up to you!

  6. wow first time seeing this... looks very delicious. by the way I finally got some shortening but am now wondering how to use it....

  7. Zoe, I am not a tau sar piah fan but somehow after reading your posts, I feel like I want to bake and eat the tau sar piah hah..hah...hah....

  8. Wow, that's delicious, these recipes are very good, even congratulations.