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The Spring Kitchen
‘In the lush spring of March, the radiant peach blossoms bloom, like rosy mists and blushing clouds. However many blossoms there are ,it is enough to have just one,to be cherished in one’s heart.’—“To the Sky Kingdom”
The Plum Blossom Puff is a romantic Chinese pastry. It has a crispy outer skin and a soft, delicate stuffing. Once you sprinkle some sesame on top, I am sure you can’t say no to it with the nice smell.
The steps for making it is not quite easy. You have to cover it with a plastic wrap from time to time before continuing to the next step, so that it can soften and loosen for a dozen minutes. As a Sagittarius who’s born with a quick temperament, this is quite torturing. Why did I choose a dessert that’s so time-consuming to make? But, just wait until the Plum Blossom Puff is ready – it looks like fully blossomed flowers on a plate and it’s inviting. It’s the best dessert to go with a lazy Spring afternoon. Hey, because Spring is the perfect season to waste time on, isn’t it?
Baked Plum Blossom Puffs
Water-oiled crusts – about ten of these
All-purpose flour: 125g
White sugar: 10g
Olive oil: 38g
All-purpose flour: 75g
Stuffing: red bean paste / purple potato / salted egg yolk
Egg yolk: 1 piece
White sesame: a little amount
1. How to make water-oiled crusts:
First of all, put the milk, sugar, butter, and water in a container to get heated, until they melt. After cooling, add the all-purpoes flour and ready-made dough, and cover it with a plastic wrap. Let it cool for about an hour.
2. How to make Chinese puffs:
Put the flour and lard together and cover it with a plastic wrap.
3. Divide the oiled crusts into ten portions and put the Chinese puffs onto it, then cover it with a plastic wrap to maintain moisture.
4. Roll it into long pieces and roll them up. Cover them with a plastic wrap and wait for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
5. Again, roll the dough that is ready into long pieces, roll them up and cover them with a plastic wrap. Roll them into an oblate shape.
6. Put the stuffing inside and make them into balls.
7. Flatten the ball-shaped dough and use a toothpick/knife to make the dough into the shape of plum blossom.
8. Brush a layer of egg yolk onto it, preheat the oven at 170℃ for five minutes, put the plum blossom puffs into the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes.
9. After plum blossom puffs are baked for about 10 minutes, take them out and put on another layer of egg yolk. Then, put some white sesame seeds on the center of the puffs. Put them in the oven again.
10. The puffs are ready to be served.
Li Ziqi‘s Review on Weibo:
榨菜（芥菜头）Zha Cai (Preserved Szechuan Pickles made by mustard stems)
花生粥 (碎花生配粥) Peanut Porridge (crunched peanuts with porridge)
梅花酥 Plum Blossom Puffs
During the Chinese New Year, I’ve indulged myself in all kinds of heavy and delicious meals and that was a bit too much to digest. Recently, I’ve even wanted to stay away from meat whenever I see any. Fortunately, we prepared some seeds of various kinds of melons and vegetables, and they’re ready to be planted once we get the fields ready. Today, I am going to start with turnip (mustard stem). In Chinese, we usually can it “Da Tou Chai” (literally: Big Head Vegetables). I’m not sure why it’s called that way, maybe it’s because it has a big head? I am curious to know how you call these vegetables.
Mustard stems (Szechuan Preserved Pickles):
This kind of turnip is the main ingredient to make mustard stem.
First, peel off the skin, wash it and cut it into small pieces. Then use salt to marinate it for about half a day. Put it into a large bag and place a large stone onto it for one or two days (depending on the texture that you want). The more it’s pressed by the stone, the better it feels when you chew it. However, it’d be better not to press it for more than two days. Personally, after one night, I immediately took it to stir with other seasoning. It gave me the exact crunchy, elastic feeling that I was looking for. The seasoning that I use includes onion, ginger, garlic, chili oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and vinegar. You may use a bit of white sugar to increase its freshness, or something else of your preference. Just remember not to add salt, as it’s already got enough amount of salt when it’s marinated.
Plum Blossom Puffs:
I learnt this online recently, and it’s my first time making it, it explains why it’s not so good-looking.
I did not perform as well as what’s taught in the tutorial. However, I must say that if you succeed, you will have delicious plum blossom puffs with an excellent smell.
It’s very easy to make, just like how you do to make an egg yolk puff. You’ll need water-oiled crusts and Chinese puffs. Unlike an egg yolk puff, when you make plum blossom puffs, you’ll need two sets each of water-oiled crusts and Chinese puffs, so that the product consists of two different colors.
Ingredients to make oiled crusts:
Water (what I’ve used is dragon fruit juice), ordinary flour, lard, and white sugar
Lard and low-gluten flour are needed.
If you have the habit of baking, you should know how to leaven the dough with the ingredients of water-oiled crusts and Chinese puffs for half an hour. Then, use the water-oiled crusts of darker color to wrap around those of lighter color, roll them into long pieces, then roll for two more times before forming them into the shape of plum blossom.
It’s perfect if you have a plum blossom mold. Don’t worry if you don’t, you can also make use of your scissor or knife to carve the shape.
Finally, put it into an oil pan to fry.
With your mustard stem and peanut porridge, you’re ready to start your day!