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Beet Puffs (甜菜絲餅)

Category: Pastry
Region: Shanghai

Ingredients

Lard Dough (油皮)

  • 6 ounces lard
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Lard Roux (油酥)

  • 2 ounces lard
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Filling

  • 3/4 pound beets
  • 4 ounces lean ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Additional ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup white sesame seeds

Instructions

  • To make the lard dough first blend the flour and salt together then cut the lard into the flour mixture. You can either use a pastry cutter or regular knife to cut into the mixture until it forms a course grain texture. Add the water and knead the dough until smooth. Then make the lard cake by combining the flour and lard and mix well. Set both the dough and the cake aside for about 20 minutes.
  • Peel and cut the beets into very thin shreds of about 1/32 inch thick. You can use a course grater instead. Set the beets aside. Rehydrate the dried shrimp by soaking them in warm water for about 15 minutes, and chop them finely. In a wok heat the vegetable oil until it just begins to smoke. Add the ground pork to the wok and stir-fry for about one minute. Drain the pork from the fat and put in a mixing bowl. Add all the other filling ingredients and mix well. Set the filling aside.
  • Divide both the lard dough and lard cake into 32 equal portions and roll them into balls. With a rolling pin flatten the lard into a circle of about 6 inches in diameter and place a lard cake ball in the center. Fold up the lard dough to cover the lard cake completely and roll into a ball. Repeat this for all the portions.
  • With a rolling pin roll the combined pastry dough ball into a long strip about five inches wide and a quarter inch thick. Then roll up the pastry dough strip lengthwise into a spiral. Using a rolling pin once again roll the dough lengthwise into a thin long strip of about 1 inch wide, 6 inches long and quarter inch thick. Finally roll the strip lengthwise into a stout spiral cylinder shape. User you hands to roll the dough into a small ball, then use the rolling pin to roll the dough into a small round about 5 inches in diameter. Repeat this for all of the pastry dough portions. Be sure to wrap the pastry dough wrapper in plastic wrap if not used immediately.
  • Dissolve two tablespoons of sugar in one tablespoon of water to make a syrup. Mix the black and white sesame seeds together and spread them in a shallow bowl. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F before assembling the puffs.
  • Put about 1 tablespoonful of filling in the middle of each dough round. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the dough. Be sure to seal the opening tightly otherwise it will leak when you bake the puffs. Use your palm to roll the puff into a smooth round ball. Use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of sugar syrup around the dough ball and roll the ball in the sesame seeds. Allow the seeds to generously stick to the dough. Arrange the dough balls seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the puffs for about 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve the puffs warm as a snack.