Chinese Flaky Pastry

Many people have often asked me about how to do the flaky skin as in my curry puff and as in many of my other recipes. Well, most often I used the Huaiyang Chinese method, although the western method flaky pastry is more comparable to the western puff pastry andt is more time consuming to prepare. The Huaiyang method flaky pastry is the generic layer found in Chinese pastry and  are more common and can be found in streets and shops.

The Huaiyang method (淮揚酥皮)
The  pastry is basically made up of two separate dough,
1.The water dough (水油麵皮)
2.The other the lard or shortened dough (油酥麵皮).
The basic water dough consists of flour, water and lard in the proportion of roughly 5 : 2-2.5 : 1-1.25 depending on recipes. In some recipes, a little bit of sugar or salt is added for flavour, but traditionally no flavouring is added. Although lard is the traditional fat used,  shortening, butter or margarine, or even liquid cooking oil could also be used instead of lard. The lard dough consists of flour and lard in the proportion of roughly 2 : 1.

After the water dough and lard dough are mixed separately, the lard dough is wrapped inside the water dough, then the combined dough is layered by rolling and folding similar to making puff pastry.
Two methods are used to accomplish the layering of the dough, the large-scale method (大包酥) or the small-scale method (小包酥). The large-scale method is quick and able to produce a larger quantity in a shorter time frame but the resultant layers are not as distinct and delicate. The small-scale method is slow and more suitable for preparation in domestic homes in small quantity, but it produces a more distinct and delicate layering effect.
Once the layering is done, the resultant dough pieces can be used to produce three different types of shaping
depending on how you cut or slice the dough.

1. Hidden layering (暗酥)
2  Half-hidden layering (半暗酥)
3. Visible layering (明酥).

With the hidden layering, the layering cannot be seen on the outside of the end product, as the layering is in the cross-section. This is the easiest and most common method for beginners.
The half-hidden layering is one where only half of the layering is visible on the outside of the end product.
As the name implies, the visible layering is one where the layering can be seen on the outside of the end product. Within the visible layering, there are spiral layering (圓酥) and parallel layering (直酥).

For more detail explanation and technique  please visit my website Shoonyin Recipes/huaiyang Chinese Pastry

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