At Matty's one month banquet a couple weeks ago, we had a Chinese dessert that left me wanting more. It was a balance of salty and sweet, and had a great texture of chewy. Everyone at our table loved it as much as I did. I went home thinking perhaps I could find a recipe to make it. I've never made anything with Chinese salty eggs before. Are they already cooked or uncooked, I wasn't sure. I scoured the internet for anything even close to what I had, and there was nothing.
I've described this dessert to friends and coworkers, telling them if they ever ate at Fraser Court, they should try it out. One night while hanging out at Kat's place, I mentioned it again. It comes rolled up. There's a filling inside. And the outside is coated with shredded coconut. After my description, Kat went and pulled out all her Chinese cookbooks. We randomly flipped through them as we continued to chit chat, and low and behold... I spotted a picture in the cookbook that looked very close to it!
It wasn't exactly salty eggs but just plain custard, so with the heads of two people who are recipe experimenters, we tweaked the recipe in the cookbook with our own rendition, and made it our very own.
I had my work station all set up on a tray. Kat reads out the ingredients listed as I measure. We were trying to contain the mess within the tray, but in the end, (especially because of me), we left a whirlwind of a mess everywhere and even the floors...
I'd post the recipe, but we may or may not tweak it some more in our next experimental batch. So, I'll leave it for now. There is a mixture of evaporated milk, coconut milk, custard powder, wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, glutinous flour, water, milk powder... and of course salty eggs. Am I forgetting something? Perhaps.
What should have taken a short time to do took us twice as long. We were very unsure of what we were doing... mixing this and that, changing this and that. When it started looking like a real great mess, we had already set our minds to fail. But, never stop halfway... might as well finish it off. The above looks totally appetizing, huh... sarcasm intended. We were laughing when it started looking like this...
This is the dough before it went in the steamer. We didn't follow the recipe book on how it should be steamed. Instead, on our 20 minute break for a quick Superstore run, we brainstormed how we would change the steaming process too. "Let's do this instead." "No, what about this?". We came to an agreement, and did as we both decided.
Coconuting our working surface. There was also much debate on what type of coconut to use. But again, we debated and came to an agreement on the finest unsweetened coconut we could find. Haha... as I'm typing this trying to remember the whole process, I realize why it all took four hours.
The KitchenAid mixer comes in handy.
The assembly process was also debated. How to roll it. How fast to roll it. (Yes, that matters). The whole four hours zipped by, and we were finally done.
In the end, we even debated on how it should be presented. (Not that we had any plans on what we would do with these desserts afterwards). This was the one thing we didn't agree on. Kat likes the pinwheels laid flat so you could see the swirl from the top.
Whereas I prefer them standing up with the coconut showing on the top, and the swirls on the side. We can be a bit neurotic like that. Pretty funny.
Result? They are to die for. They could probably use a bit more saltiness to it if I were to change anything, but they were... so. good. It took me a second to take a quick photo with my phone and upload it on to facebook. Within minutes, we had a few requests for a taste test. At 11:30pm, we decided to divide them and pack them up, and delivered them to some of our friends. Within half an hour of finishing, they were all gobbled up and gone. Everyone who got to taste this delicious first batch loved them!
It was one very successful experiment. A yummy one too.
We both agreed that Chinese desserts are a lot trickier. This was a whole lot of fun. Cookie and cake baking is comfort fun, but Chinese desserts are a little bit more exciting. What should I try next?
I was happy to be once again reunited with the yummy salty egg custard chewy Chinese dessert. Mm mmm mmm...