Flaky buns are very popular in Asian countries. Literally every bakery sells them. The recipes and fillings vary from bakery to bakery. Some popular choices are sweet red bean paste, lotus seed paste, mung bean paste, and even savory ground pork filling.
I like to bake my own instead buying them from store. They are best when they are freshly out the oven, piping hot. But it is very hard to get such perfect timing when buying from store.
The recipe was posted a long time ago here: Flower Shape Pastry Cookies with Red Bean Filling. I use it every time I make flaky buns at home. Therefore I think I can proudly announce this is a time-tested solid recipe O(∩_∩)O~
Salted duck egg yolks are available in frozen food section in most Asian grocery stores. Sometimes I make salt duck eggs from scratch. They look and taste much better. But the thing with homemade salted duck eggs is that it takes one month to marinate. That is a long waiting time. I usually go with store-bought version if I have a sudden crave and can’t wait 30 days.
Although you can use lard / butter / shortening / vegetable oil to make the cookies, lard is always the preferable choice because of its major role in making these buns’ flaky and air-like layers while no other oil/ fat can do the same.
The easiest way to get pure lard is to make it yourself at home.
Pork lard is sold by pound in Asian grocery stores. And this is how it looks like.
With a sharp knife, cut it into small pieces.
Add pork lard pieces to a cast iron pan/ wok, along with 1/4 cup water.
Heat the pan over medium heat. The water will gradually evaporate as cooking process going on.
When the pork lard pieces shrink in sizes and turn into light golden brown color, remove pan from heat. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
Drain pork fat liquid. Reserve what is needed for this recipe. Store the rest in Mason jar. Seal and refrigerate after it is totally cooled down.
In a medium bowl, add 55g lard, all purpose flour, powder sugar and water. Whisk with a wooden spoon or chop sticks until all ingredients come together. Knead with hands until the dough is smooth and elastic. This is dough NO 1.
In another bowl, add 50 g lard and cake flour. With a wooden spoon, mix flour and lard until they are well blended. This is dough NO 2.
I always make my own red bean paste. And I posted how to make red bean paste from scratch before: Sweet Rice Dumplings with Red Beans and Jujubes Wrapped in Bamboo Leaves
Everything is ready
Preheat the oven to 400F/204C
Divide dough NO 1 into 20 g/ each piece; dough NO 2 into 10 g/ each; and red bean paste into 30 g/ each. Roll each of them into small dough balls.
Punch down each red bean paste balls and wrap the salted duck egg yolks with red bean paste. Shape each pieces back into round red bean balls again.
Take one piece of dough NO 1; press it down with your palm; wrap it around one piece of dough NO 2; seal the edges; and roll it into a ball shape again.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough ball into 3 mm thin, roll it up from one end, cover with plastic wrap and repeat the process again 10 minutes later. It is kind of similar to making croissants.
Press the dough down a little bit with a rolling pin or your palm. Fold two ends towards center. Press it down again and then roll it into 1/4 inch thin. Place a red bean paste ball in the center. Wrap it up and seal the edge with your fingers. Roll it into a round dough ball.
Repeat the process until all the dough balls are done.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bun tops are golden brown.
These are some fine delicate and flaky buns! O(∩_∩)O~
The layers are really amazing.
Black tea or coffee is perfect for these sweet little flaky buns.
The best part is the flaky layers. They are delicate, slightly sweet and of course, very flaky. Take a bite, and the layers crumble between teeth, and in your mouth, and maybe all over you O(∩_∩)O~
Salted duck egg yolks and red bean paste may sound a bizarre combination, but it works! The two together create a savory sweet excellent balance and flavor.
Ok, if you don’t want to go through all the kneading and baking process listed above but still want to know what they taste like, grab you car key and drive to a nearby authentic Asian bakery. Remember the key word is authentic! Buy one in store that is freshly out of oven, and you will know how good it is; and most likely you will agree with me that all the effort I go through to make them fresh at home is well worthy O(∩_∩)O~