Monday, November 06, 2006

My Complete Ineptitude with Puff Pastry

a good example of how not to treat puff pastry

recipe #126

I was trying to make Cha Shao Su (one of many english spellings), a wonderful dim sum savory puff pastry treat filled with pork. I recently had it at Diamond on Eighth (a so-so dim sum place) in Brooklyn Chinatown. I had it once before from some Chinese restaurant on the upper west side that only will make it on Saturday and Sunday morning. It is a potent hangover cure.

what Cha Shao Su should look like

The filling is terrific. I had it cover it an put it in the way back of the fridge to keep from eating it while to evil puff pastry thawed.

It also doubles as a filling for Cha Shao bao:
Cha Shao Su filling
2 tsp. oyster sauce
¾ tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. ketchup
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Shao Hsing wine
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. peanut oil.
1 small onion, diced finely
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 pound Chinese roast pork, diced small

Combine first six ingredients and set aside.

Heat peanut oil in a wok and add onion. Stir fry until browned, then add ginger and garlic. Stir fry for one more minute.

Add roast pork and stir fry for about two minutes.

Add sauce ingredients, allow to thicken and reduce somewhat; cook for about one minute.

If you don't live in a place where you can find chinese pork (also known as Char siu) you can make it. This is from The Gourmet Cookbook:
BBQ Chinese Pork aka Char Siu
1 (1-pound) piece boneless pork butt or shoulder
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut pork along the grain into long strips 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Remove and discard any sinew but do not trim fat. Transfer pork to a large sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Add to pork and turn pork to coat, then squeeze bag to eliminate as much air as possible and seal. Marinate pork, refrigerated, for at least 4 hours.

Put a rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Fill a 13-by-9-inch roasting pan with 1/2-inch water and place a wire rack across top of pan.

Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and position pork strips 1 inch apart on wire rack. Roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan (marinade may look curdled). Remove from heat.

Brush some marinade over pork and roast for 10 minutes more. Generously baste meat with marinade, turn each piece over, and baste again. Roast pork for 20 minutes more, basting 2 or 3 more times with remaining marinade.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F and roast pork until mahogany-colored and caramelized on edges, 10 to 15 minutes more (about 1 hour total roasting time). Transfer to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes. (Its internal temperature will rise 10 to 15 degrees as it stands.) To serve, cut pork across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

I had no recipe for the entire project. Just for the filling. So, I winged it/wong it and went badly.
bad cooking
It is not a delightful puff treat. It is anemic and tastes like flour. it is like cardboard on the sides and you have to tolerate the tissue paper with glue like outside to get to the delicious inside. I think I am just going to scoop out the filling and eat it plain, like any self respecting pork enthusiast might have done in the first place. I really can't blame the pastry.

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