Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wife Biscuit/Sweetheart Cake/Lao Por Peng

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
70g  flour
25g caster sugar
55g  shortening
70ml water, adjust as necessary


Ingredients for Oil Dough:

70g flour
35g shortening

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
55ml water

1 beaten egg for egg wash
Some sesame seeds – for sprinkle

1. Prepare water dough: Combine all flours and sugar in a bowl, rub in shortening to a crumbly stage. Slowing add just enough water to form a soft and non-sticky dough. Knead until smooth. Shape into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes. Divide into 14 equal portions.
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.

(pix A)
(Pix B)
(Pix C)

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).

(Pix D)
(Pix E)
(Pix F)

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)

(Pix G)

(Pix H)
6. Take 1 piece of pastry dough, press down the center of the dough (Pix G) and pinch both ends (Pix H) together then flatten it so the dough is roughly round shape. Roll the dough out to a circle.

7. Wrap in 1 piece of filling and seal tightly (be sure no air pocket inside). Flatten the wrapped pastry with your palm the roll it out slightly to 1/3 inch thick. Repeat the same steps with the remaining pastry.


8. Cut 2 - 3 parallel slits on the top (seal side down), brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of sesame seeds. Place pastries on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 400°F oven for 16-18 minutes or golden brown.

23 comments:

Shereen said...

I just saw this wife biscuits 2 days ago in an Asian bakery here and thought of you as I know you have wanted to bake this for the longest time.The one I saw was Taiwanese style wife biscuits and I saw macam the filling is a bit different from yours.One day when my angin baik,I'll try baking this as I don't know whether I have eaten this pastry before or not.Tapi,see like so much work la...maybe I go and buy from the bakery that I saw the other day la...lol!Yours look so crispy and senonoh whereas the one I saw look so leper.

bakies said...

looks delicious and store bought!! i tried making tau sar peah with this method once.. and they ended up getting bigger and bigger coz it got so tedious!

ReeseKitchen said...

WOW!!! Lou-poh-beng! You are so good Gert..:) I never dare to make this, the recipe looks so complicated and I'm afraid I might fail..;p But seeing your pictures, I was thinking to give it a try now..haha! Thanks Gert!!

Angie's Recipes said...

Always want to make these Chinese sweets...unfortunately I can't find candied winter melon. Yours looks so much better than the store one.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Gert, you are really, really, really amazing.

mycookinghut said...

OMG!! Look at the flaky pastry! I dont know if I could manage.. but I know I can manage to eat ;)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Think my parents will love this! You very good my friend, this recipe requires quite abut of work. Nicely done too! Thanks for the detail steps.... Will try it out one of these days.

busygran said...

Very nice and very well-made!

MaryMoh said...

These look very fresh and delicious. It's a lot of work to make the pastry and then the assembling and baking. I have to wait until my god-mood days to make these :P Thanks very much for sharing.

Jo said...

OMG! I cannot believe that you actually made this. It looks like what I buy at the chinese bakery shop. I love eating this with it's flaky pastry and sweet filing with winter melon. Delicious.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

I've been thinking of making wife biscuits for a while.
I only had a good one from Hong Kong years back, and at other times, those bought back weren't fresh and soggy after kept on the shelves for a long time.

Wait, wait... I'll make some next time. :)

Elin said...

Gertrude...nice job. Not easy to make this but yours definitely looks like store bought. I guess it taste good too...addictive !

Cheah said...

Wow, can open shop already! Looks so yummy, 'cos it's so flaky!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

agreed with Cheah, you can open a shop already or made it distribute to Asian market at your place. look super good!

mysimplefood said...

Wow!!! Looks great!!! Would never thot if making it cos I did not know what is the ingredient inside. Where did you get the candied winter melon?

Little Corner of Mine said...

I loved this snack and yours look perfect!

ICook4Fun said...

Shereen, I never like the one sold here. The filling has more koh fun than winter melon and it will get soft and oily the next day. Another thing I don't like is they used Lard which is a bit no no for me. Do try to make this as I am pretty sure you are going to like it.

Bakies, Tau sah peah method of making is the same as this. We will be making it the next time.

Reese, thank you. Actually my friends help me out on this. Just follow the step by step and you will get it.

Angie, you can't find winter melon from the Asian store there?

Ju, thank you.

Leemei, ha ha actually once you get the hand of it, it is not that difficult.

Bee bee, I didn't do this all by myself. A few friends help me out :)

ICook4Fun said...

Busygran, thank you.

Mary, a few of us did this so it was much easier. Maybe you can do that too.

Jo, me too :)

Wendy, the one from the bakery shop here too were like that. I suspect they used lard for their pastry.

Elin, thank you.

Cheah, ha ha you want to 'pong chan'??

Sonia, ha ha maybe I should that :)

Mysimplefood, I got it from the Asian store.

LCOM, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Can i bypass the coconut?

ICook4Fun said...

Anon, yes you can omit the coconut.

aroundtheworldrecipes said...

I have a recipe for red bean paste. Can I use this instead of the wintermelon paste? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just tried this wife biscuit recipe today. Big success!! :D

The candied winter melon I bought was a bit too sweet, so maybe I will cut down on the caster sugar next time. But otherwise, I'm happy!

Thank you so much for this recipe. And for this whole website actually! I have a lot of fav recipes from here! :D

Anonymous said...

May I know what kind of shortening did u use? can i use criso or another shortening substitute? Please give me you suggestion.. Thanks! ^^