Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Post: Wonderfully Flaky Chocolate Chinese Pastries

I've written before about the wonderful community of food photographers and bloggers that I'm part of on the photo-sharing site, Flickr. In light of my recent posts about photography, I want to encourage you to find your own source of feedback for your photos. In addition to analyzing the work you admire from others, it's also important to examine your own in order to continue improving your skills. But as with most things in life, it's hard to keep a level perspective when examining yourself; so it's best to get a second (or even third) opinion. And be sure to find someone who's not afraid to tell it like it is -- their words may bruise your ego at times, but they're the ones who'll help you most in the long run.

Today my guest post series continues with some delectable Chinese pastries from my friend Tika of Cemplang Cemplung. She has long been a part of the supportive Flickr community I mentioned above, and it's been a great joy during the past year to grow side-by-side as artists and friends. Tika is quite the master of Asian treats and savories, and I'm constantly impressed by each new dish of hers. The pastries she shares today are no exception -- looking just as if they came fresh out of a fancy bakery! Aren't we lucky that she's generous enough to share not only the recipe but also photos of every step? Please give Tika your warmest welcome as she reveals the secret to these flaky chocolate pastries!

Tika Photo 1
For those who love food blogging, you must have been familiar with Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets. Nice, friendly, helpful, kind and warm, that's my impression of her. Aside from that, she's a talented and innovative baker and a food photographer. With variations of cupcakes, cakes, macarons and other yummy food recipes that make our jaws drop in amazement. Though we have never met before, I'm sure she's loveable. I remember when I had trouble in making macarons, she sent me a bundle of tutorials and not to mention she offered me help. That was very sweet of you, dear :).

Tika Photo 2
The first time I made Green Tea Chinese Flaky Pastry, I was pretty upset because the pastry didn't turn out the way I expected. They look totally different from the mags, even though I followed the step-by-step of the process. I assumed it's because there were no step-by-step pictures! I interpreted the steps literally :D. Hence, to avoid the same old mistake, I googled some recipes of flaky pastries which included pictures of the process. Then I finally found out that my first attempt at making Chinese Flaky Pastry used "Hidden layering shaping technique" while the second one used "Visible layering - spiral (escargot) shaping technique".

Tika Photo 3
I modified the recipe by substitute the green tea powder with cocoa powder and I did half of the ingredients. So I got the smaller size of flaky pastry, a half size smaller than the original size!! :D I must confess the visible layer technique works like a charm to bring out those beautiful layers with different two colors. I did take some photos of the process to make it easy for you to follow. Last words before we start our journey of the flaky pastry, my big thanks to Xiaolu for her trust and the wonderful opportunity she has given to me :).

Chocolate Chinese Flaky Pastries [Printable Recipe]

Makes 16

Water dough (outer layer)

50 g all purpose flour

50 g cake flour

13 g caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt

40 g water

38 g unsalted butter, room temperature

Chocolate dough (inner layer)

105 g all purpose flour

70 g unsalted butter, room temperature

5 g cocoa powder


75 g peeled mung bean, soak in water for 1 hour

25 g thick coconut milk

50 ml water

3 g cocoa powder

38 g granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 pandan leaf

Tika Photo Step-by-step

Click Photo to Enlarge

1. For the filling: steam mung beans for 20 minutes on medium heat.

2. Transfer the cooked mung beans to a blender; add coconut milk, water, cocoa powder, sugar and salt; and puree to a fine paste. Place mung bean paste in a saucepan, over medium heat, add pandan leaf. Stir well until dry. Move from the heat. Let it cool down.

3. When the filling has cooled, form it into balls, about 12-13 grams for each ball. Set aside.

4. For the water dough: Sift flour, sugar and salt. Add in water until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add butter into the mixture and mix to form a soft and non-sticky dough. Cover and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Weigh the dough for 25 grams each and form into balls. Set aside.

6. For the chocolate dough: mix flour, butter and cocoa powder. Mix to form a soft even coloured dough. Form a soft ball that doesn't stick to your hands.

7. Weigh the dough for 25 grams each and form into ball. Set aside.

8. Take a piece of water dough and flatten. Place the chocolate dough in the center of the flat dough (pic #2). Gather the outer edges of the water dough circle and wrap up the chocolate dough ball. Seal and pinch the edges (pic #3).

9. With the heel of your palm, gently press the dough to flatten it lightly. Using a rolling pin, roll out the flattened dough (pic #4). Roll the dough up (pic #5).

10. Turn the rolled dough 90 degrees. Roll out the dough again. Roll up again (pic #6).

11. Cut the dough crosswise into 2 pieces (pic #7). Flatten out the dough. Place filling in the center (pic #8). Gather the outer edges of the dough circle and wrap up the filling (pic #9).

12. Grease a baking tray with butter then place pastries with sealed side down on tray.

13. Bake them in the oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).



  1. this is too awesome, please marry me ;D

  2. Those pastries are amazing! Really tempting.

    Thanks for the lovely guest post and pictures, Tika!



  3. Sips and SpoonfulsAugust 25, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Wow....don't htink I've ever seen anything liek this before. But what a tsupendous and simple idea. Love!

  4. No eggs yay!! Bookmarked it and it looks sooo tempting :)

  5. I love the step by step photos! It's hard to capture the process of baking while doing it! I tend to only get the final product, but it looks great!

  6. That chocolatey pastry looks delicious.. Never had this.. But the clicks are so tempting..

  7. what is "unsalted powder" under chocolate dough?

  8. I'm glad you guys are enjoying this post!

    Jiffy, I'm fairly certain Tika meant "unsalted butter" and have corrected this mistake in the recipe. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  9. Oh my, they are so pretty! And they look soooo delicious! :D

  10. Nice guest post... timely for mooncake festival :D

  11. Lovely guest post, such an interesting technique! reminds me of chinese scallion pancakes. I'd love to try the green tea ones... Weekend project maybe?

  12. Great tutorial and it's got me interested to making them! Hope you won't mind that I post and link them back to you? It's too impressive not to share :D and that's if I get it right, of course, LOL!! Super gorgeous pics!

  13. I love visiting your blog because, outside of your beautiful photography, your creations, flavors and sheer uniqueness, are out of this world. Always awed, and these flaky chocolate pastries are no exception. I can't wait to try these!

  14. Ow...thanks Xiaolu. It's a honor to write guest post here. Hope everyone will enjoy the pastry as much as I do.
    @Jiffy, thanks for the correction on "unsalted butter". So sorry about that. :)

  15. What an interesting post! Loved reading this guest post :) Such a unique and yummy sounding pastry!

  16. Tika, These pastries look so pretty, especially with the two-tone spiral. I would so love to try one:) I bet the cocoa is the perfect addition. The overhead shots of the baked pastries reminds me of Mexican sweet bread(pan dulce). Great post!

  17. Gosh, the chocolate fillings sounded amazing! I love the whole combination. Well done!

  18. i love the mung bean chocolate filling. the swirly dough is beautiful!

  19. they look unbelieveably delicious! i'm such a sucker for chocolate & pastries, so any combo of the two is perfection.

    cool blog - i'm your newest follower! glad i found you today


  20. this is something different, love the ingredients ! looks very very delicious....tanjooberrymutts for the recipe ;-)

  21. I have never had anything like this- they look amazing!!!

  22. Holy cow I am in love. I MUST have these like right now. These are amazing the photos are amazing and the tutorial is fantastic.


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu