Wife Biscuit/Sweetheart Cake is a traditional Chinese pastry with flaky thin skin and the filling made with winter melon and sesame seeds. This pastry is originated from Hong Kong but now you are able to buy it from almost all the Chinese Bakery. So how does the name of this pastry come about? There are quite a few stories out there and one of them is this.
In ancient China, there was a poor couple. They adored and loved each other, staying in a small village. When a mysterious disease spread, the husband's father became very sick. Although they tried really hard to raise money to provide treatment for him, it wasn't enough. Sadly, the wife decided to sell herself as a slave, exchanging herself for her father-in-law's medicine. Once the husband learned about what his wife did, he made a cake filled with winter melon and with a crispy crust in honor of his wife. However, his cake became so popular that he was able to earn enough money to buy his wife back
I wanted to make this biscuit for the longest time but I can’t seems to find ‘koh fun’ here in the US until one of my blogger friend told me that I am able to get it from the Asian Store in PA. Making the pastry takes a bit of work but the end result was fantastic. The pastry is flaky and the filling has a great fragrant of sesame seeds and the right sweetness from the winter melon. This is really addictive that I don’t think you can stop by just eating one. Here is the recipe adapted from Corner Café with some minor changes.
Ingredients for Water Dough:
70g bread flour
25g caster sugar
70ml water, adjust as necessary
Ingredients for Oil Dough:
Winter Melon Filling:
200g candied winter melon (tung kua/ 糖冬瓜)
3 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
3 tbsp of dry coconut
30g (1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
40g (4 tablespoons) cooked glutinous rice flour (Koh fun/ 糕粉)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 beaten egg for egg wash
Some sesame seeds – for sprinkle
2. Prepare oil dough: Rub shortening into flour and knead to form soft dough. Rest for 30 minutes then divide into 14 equal portions.
3. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling: Finely chop together candied winter melon, sesame seeds and grated coconut. Transfer to a bowl and add sugar, glutinous rice flour, salt and oil. Stir to combine. Slowly add just enough water to form a ball. Divide the filling into 14 portions. Roll it into balls.
4. Take 1 piece of oil dough to wrap inside 1 piece of water dough and seal well. Be sure to wrap tightly and eliminate any air pocket. Flatten the dough with your palm then roll it out into long oval thin dough using a rolling pin (pix A). Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll (Pix B and C).
5. Turn the dough 90° (pix D), flatten it and roll it out thin (pix E). Then roll it up like a Swiss roll (pix F) Repeat step 4-5 with the remaining dough)