sweet yellow mungbean paste in flaky pastry shell
I mentioned in my Chinese New Year's post the Vietnamese flaky pastry filled with sweet yellow mungbean paste. In the Philippines this small pastry is called hopia. Two recipes for hopia have been bookmarked for over a year already but I never had the energy or motivation to make them. Simply reading the procedure exhausts me and because these snacks are available from the Filipino grocery, I always thought it would be a waste of time to make them. I finally baked some yesterday since I was also baking a loaf of purple yam (ube) bread to save on gas. I am so glad I decided to make them. They came out very flaky and not greasy, the mungbean filling is very smooth [but could have been sweeter]. The hopias are closer in color (whiter) and texture to the Vietnamese hopia than to the Filipino hopia which has a thinner more tender and delicate pastry. I think using a combination of pork lard and solid shortening is the key to the most tender flaky crust but I don't like to use lard except for ensaimada.
The shell is surprisingly very easy to prepare, roll, and shape. The dough has lots of vegetable oil and therefore very pliable and does not stick on the counter or rolling pin. I made really big ones, almost double the size suggested in the recipe, and piled the filling up high because I love sweet mungbeans. It was not a waste of time after all and will make them again perhaps with other flavors like pandan and matcha and other fillings such as sweet azuki beans. Or maybe I'll try making mooncakes if I find the plastic molds/presses with Chinese characters and designs.
16 ounces dried peeled split yellow mungbean
1½ cups sugar or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon grapeseed or extra light olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon grapeseed or extra light olive oil
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Prepare the filling: Place mungbeans in a bowl. Rinse with cold water, drain, and transfer into a medium nonstick saucepan. Add enough water to top about 1 inch of the beans, bring to a boil. Skim off top, reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking into a paste, stirring often with a silicone spatula to prevent burning. Use a wooden spoon to mash down the beans in the saucepan. Sprinkle the salt and add 1 cup sugar, adding more to taste. Spread paste into an even layer on a shallow rectangular dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes to dry it out. Set aside to cool. When cooled, form 3 tablespoons into a ball and flatten into 2-inch rounds. While paste is cooling, prepare the doughs.
- Dough 1: Mix flour and oil with a fork in a small bowl until crumbly. Divide into 4 parts. Set aside.
- Dough 2: In another bowl, mix flour, oil, and water with a fork. Knead lightly on the counter until it forms into a ball. Divide into 4 equal pieces.
- Flatten one Dough 2 into a 1/8 inch thin square. Crumble a quarter of Dough 1 all over the flattened Dough 2. Roll as jelly roll, pinch both ends and roll gently back and forth to form into a 1 inch thick log. Set on a small sheet pan lined with paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the doughs. Refrigerate for no more and no less than 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide the chilled logs into 5 pieces. Roll out one piece into a 1/16 inch thin square or round. Place a mungbean round on top of dough and bring the edges together. Pinch edges and turn upside down so that the seam is at the bottom. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Brush tops with egg wash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.