How to Make Daikon Pastries
flaky daikon pastries for Meatless Week
It’s Day 1 of Meatless Week here on The Cookbook Chronicles. Despite a rather heavy Monday workload, I managed to get into the kitchen and recreate one of my favorite Shanghainese dim sum items: daikon pastries. These golden brown parcels of goodness consist of soft, sweet, shredded daikon, folded into a flaky crust. Normally, I dice up tiny bits of Chinese sausage for flavoring, but since it is Meatless Week around here, I opted instead for a dribble sesame oil, a tiny bit of green onion, and a few chile flakes for a bit of kick. My husband–who loves these pastries as much as I do–agreed that the vegetarian version was even better than my usual Chinese sausage version!
Because the actual rolling out of the dough takes a bit of practice, I took step-by-step photos in case anyone needed addition clarification. Basically, you make a rough laminated dough for the crust: the outer dough is very lean (i.e. contains only a small amount of fat), while the inner dough is very rich. The two doughs are rolled together, to form a Chinese-style puff pastry called so pei. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making this type of dough, frozen puff pastry you can purchase from the supermarket is a good substitute.
Flaky dough for Chinese pastries (so pei)
Dough #1 (the outer, lean dough)2 cups all purpose flour ½ cup cold water ½ cup lard (vegetarians: substitute butter, or shortening)
1 tbsp sugar
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix it together until the dough forms a ball. Cover the dough, and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Dough #2
Dough #2 (the inner, rich dough)1 ½ cups cake flour 1/3 cup lard (or substitute butter or shortening)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix all the ingredients together, and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out Dough #1 until 1/4″ thick. With your hands, roll up Dough #2 until it becomes a round ball. Place Dough #2 directly on top of Dough #1, and wrap up, sealing Dough #2 completely inside Dough #1. (It may help to imagine Dough #2 as a dumpling filling, and Dough #1 as the outer wrapper.)
Roll out the dough out, and pat it with your hands so it forms a rough square shape, about 1/2″ thick. Then, roll the dough up into a cylinder, as pictured below.
Roll the dough up into the shape of a cylinder, like so. (It’s not necessary to square off the edges like I did. I just wanted to get a neater photo.)
Cut the cylinder into 2.5″ long pieces with a knife, and stand them up on their ends, as pictured above left. Press down lightly on each cylinder with your fingertips to flatten, as pictured above right. (This is so the layers of rich dough and lean dough can bake up in a pretty spiral pattern on the top of your pastries.)
Step 4: Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4″ thick on a lightly floured surface. Lay the pastry out on a baking sheet and allow to rest in the fridge while you prepare the daikon filling.
Daikon filling:2 medium daikon, peeled and grated 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided (or more, to taste) small pinch of MSG (optional, but integral if you want that savory “restaurant” taste) 1/4 cup finely diced scallion 1 tsp dark sesame oil
2 pinches of red chile flake, or 1/8 tsp of ground white pepper
Place the grated daikon in a fine-meshed strainer, and add 1/2 tsp of salt. Allow the daikon to sit for 10 minutes, then squeeze out as much water as you can. Empty the daikon into a mixing bowl, and season with the remaining salt, the MSG (if using), scallion, sesame oil, and chile flakes.
To assemble:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spoon a bit of daikon filling into the center of one piece of pastry. With floured fingers, pinch the edges of the dough together to seal in the daikon. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place the rounds onto a lined baking sheet, and bake until the pastry is golden, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating.
Mmm…these pastries are perfect for breakfast, or for an afternoon snack.
My husband and I finished off a batch of ten pastries tonight…the rest were left unbaked, wrapped well, and went into the freezer for future noshing. (You can bake them from frozen, though they will take slightly longer than 35 minutes to cook.)
Hope you’ll give these Shanghainese daikon pastries a try at home. I haven’t found these available in a Seattle Chinese restaurant yet, but now I can make them whenever the craving strikes!
Posted: August 23rd, 2010 under Uncategorized.