Saturday, May 6, 2017

Substitute for Kundol or Winter Melon and Pork fat for Hopia

Before everything else-just a reminder the print button is on the top right of this post.  And kindly read the recipe before starting to cook/bake. Thanks!

 

The title of this post says it: "bastardized" because I really went out of the way just to put this in my mouth:

1. I substituted 3 main ingredients from the original recipe (kundol or "winter melon", pork meat fat and 3rd class flour). TRUST ME on these.

2. The whole thing burst and cracked; it gave some 'personality and character' to the hopia. It was hot yesterday-and even with the AC turned on, it affects the 'feel' and texture of any fat-rich dough when you try to work on it.

3. Instead of being "bite-size" it ended up to be oversized.

BUT it's been 15 years since i had hopia. Who cares if it was cracked and oversized? Or 3 of the main ingredients were substituted? They ended up just like how some local bakeries makes it in the Philippines!

The fact is i have been craving for this Filipino pastry snack for 15 years. 15 years!

I finally told myself that this problem needs to be resolved.

What is hopia? It's originally an Asian pastry invented by the Chinese peeps and adopted by Filipinos too as part of our cuisine. Methinks that because of the way the crust is made (from my experience making it yesterday)-it's almost like the French croissant-so I am sure it has European influence.

This crusty, flaky pastry seems like a variant of the filled, tender, milky breads usually made by our Chinese brothers/sisters and that can be found in East Asian bakeries.

Hopia is a snack item to those who eat 2-3 meals a day. It can be an anything item if you are so hungry and it's the only thing you can grab and eat. For me, they are a LUXURY in the next following days.

It is usually called "wife cakes" or "winter melon cakes" (source: Serious Eats). I have no idea why it's called wife cakes but the winter melon version is easy: one part of the filling is made of the same ingredient. In the Philippines, we call it 'kundol' (koon-dohl).

There are so many variations as to the fillings of hopia. Red mung beans and savory meats are one of them. Next time I will make the purple yam or ube (purple sweet potato) filling.

Here I made the winter melon version because the recipe calls for this particular ingredient, however-HOWEVER!!!... I have no winter melon. And I am not going to travel to another state or buy canned online just to make them.

Well-you know me here: I improvise and adapt so I used Sayote (or chayote here in the states.). The texture and taste when raw (tasteless) is the same as the winter melon/kundol. And just like the winter melon/kundol-it's also under the "gourd family".

The recipe also called for "pork fat" and the grocery store where I live that sells badass, cheap produce usually sells pork fat too but they run out of it so I grabbed a bag of their fresh, store-made chicharon (That's why you ran out of pork fat!@#$%^&*) and smashed the hell out of it as substitute.

If you do not want to use lard to make the skin and 2nd crust, substitute with butter.

Use all-purpose flour or cake flour if you can't find 3rd class flour. 
  
RECIPE:

Ingredients.

Pabalat [pah-bah-laht] meaning 'skin' (crust)
 
2 ¾ cups bread flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup lard or butter
 
Procedure for pabalat/skin/crust.

Combine all the ingredients and knead until a good dough is formed. Set aside in the refrigerator if you live in a warm climate or is at least 90° F outside.
 
Palabo [pah-lah-boh] means "murky". Not sure if this is Filipino or a vernacular word.

Let's just call this 2nd skin or crust.

1/2 cup lard or butter, room temperature
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup 3rd class flour (substitute with cake flour or all-pupose)
 
Procedure for Palabo/2nd skin/crust.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. This needs to be applied on the first crust so no need to refrigerate.

Filling.

4 cups crushed chicharon
2/3 c pancake syrup
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/3 cup lard (substitute with any cooking oil)
3 bunches of green onions, finely chopped (sub. 1 large red onion, finely chopped)
1 t vinegar
2 cups sayote/chayote meat, cut into small cubes (1/4" all sides)
1 cup third class flour (or cake flour or all-purpose flour).

Procedure.
 
1. Lightly apply or brush with oil a large bowl. Place crushed chicharon in the oiled bowl and pour the pancake syrup on it. Sprinkle the sugar on the chicharon too. Combine with a wooden spoon; it will be sticky. Set aside. 

2. Preheat a pan and the lard on high heat, then saute the onion until wilted. Add vinegar and sayote/kundol and continue sauteing for 5 minutes.

3. Cover and simmer over medium low heat until thick.

4. Add flour when the filling is almost cooked or sayote has shrunken and you can not almost see them. Mix well until fully combined and dry. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature. It's going to take awhile.

5. When it has COMPLETELY cooled, scoop 1 tablespoon of it and lay on an oiled tray or plate. Continue scooping until all mixture are made into 1 T mounds. Set aside in the refrigerator. 

Assembly.

Equipment:

parchment paper
flour
offset spatula or rubber spatula
pastry cutter or a good, sharp knife
rolling pin
1 cup of flour in a small bowl

Egg wash: Beat 1 egg; set aside

Optional: sesame seeds.

Prepare a 25" x 15" parchment paper and spread on your work surface.

Take out the dough from the refrigerator and knead for a few seconds before spreading on the a parchment paper at least 16" x 11".

Lightly sprinkle pinches of flour here and there. Spread with your hands. Using the spatula, spread the 2nd crust (palabo) on it.

Make a long roll by starting at the edge near you and rolling it up. Make sure the left and right edges are also of the same size as the middle of the roll.

Wrap with the parchment paper and seal the edges. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, take out the cold, hard dough. Cut equally to make 16 half inch (1/2") rolled slices.

NOTE: This part is going to be hard if you are in a warm climate-day or night. You have to work fast. Otherwise you will have to put the slices in and out of the refrigerator while working on each 'bun'

1. Sprinkle a light amount of flour on your work surface.

2. Flatten a slice of the skin/crust with your palm and also use the rolling pin to distribute to a perfect circle at least 4" in diameter. Sprinkle lightly with flour-on both sides.

3. Take out filling from refrigerator and place 1 mound of it on the 4" crust.

4. Carefully seal by pulling the edges towards the center of the filling; make sure the filling does not bust out of the dough. Make a ball out of it.

5. Lightly roll in the bowl  of flour. Set aside on the baking tray with parchment paper.

6. Repeat procedure from #1-5 until all dough and filling is used and you made at least 16 balls of hopia.

7. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the sesame seeds (if using). Set aside in the refrigerator.






8. Preheat oven to 400° F or 200° C.

9. Bake the hopia for 35-40 minutes depending upon your altitude. The hopia should have a light brown color to it when done and the egg wash should have crusted on the baking pan.

Cool for 15 minutes before transferring on a cooling rack.

I started biting into one while still warm and IT WAS GLORIOUS! Trust me: it tastes just like how your local bakery makes it in the Philippines. (Ok I'm being redundant!)


The whole thing burst and cracked; it gave some 'personality and character' to the hopia. I actually liked the way this went through!

 

 

Adapted from this blog and this video
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