Monday, 13 January 2020

招福猫 (Fortune Cat) Lychee Rose Choux Pastries (updated filling recipe!)

I love cats and had a pet cat once so of course I have to take the chance to create a choux pastry version of my favourite animal! Besides making rat choux pastries to welcome the new year, I made fortune cats to welcome the new year too!

There are variations to the name of this cat but I have always called them "招福猫" 

The typical fortune cat is a calico cat and has an arm that waves to 招 or welcome food fortune. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I chose to work with plain uncoloured, non chocolated coated versions of the cat (because it is impossible to get the pastries pure white, at most cream coloured) . I used uncoloured cookie dough (craquelin) to control the shape of the main pastry body

You may refer to this post on how to make and bake the basic craquelin and choux pastry batter but just omit the colouring. Baking temperature can be kept at a higher range as browning is not a concern here. For the smaller parts like ears and arms, preheat to 190°C and bake at 170°C until golden brown. For the main parts for head and body, preheat oven to 210°C, and bake at 180°C for 25-30 min, reduce temperature to 150-160°C and continue baking for another 15-20 min to thoroughly dry out the pastry cases. If the insides are still wet, you may cut a hole about 10 cent coin large at the base of the case, return it into the oven and bake at 130°C for 10-15min. Do note that baking temperature and time suggested here are for reference. You need to adjust according to your oven.

Craquelin on top of piped batter. I love using perforated mats for making larger cases for choux as it helps the pastry to rise more evenly in the oven. 

You may refer to this post with a video tutorial of how I assembled the penguin choux pastry to have an idea of how I assembled the cat. I used royal icing instead of melted chocolate as it is easier to work with for more intricate details.

A zester is really helpful for getting the parts of pastry fit together nicely! I used red sour candy for the collar. 

What's new that I would like to share here is my lychee rose lightened pastry cream recipe. I have shared it before in this post but I understand that ingredients like freeze-dried lychee powder is not easily available and homebakers prefer to work with ingredients that are easily available and they don't end up with huge amounts of something leftover that they don't use often. So my new version of the recipe omits the use of freeze-dried lychee powder while maintaining that strong lychee flavour out of a single can of lychees! You may be pleased to know that I also omit the use of castor sugar in the pastry cream because there are elements there that already contribute to the sweetness.

So here are the main flavouring ingredients I use commonly found in supermarkets

Canned lychee and rose syrup for making bandung (a milky rose syrup drink commonly served at coffeeshops in Singapore) 

I don't add a lot of rose syrup in there so not to worry that the pastry cream will be overpowered by floral notes and end up too sweet as well. You may omit the rose syrup and substitute with sugar, or add a bit more if that is your preference. I add only a bit to compliment the lychee flavour and provide  a hint of floral note because lychee is the star here.

Lychee rose pastry cream recipe 
450-500g canned lychees of your preferred brand
6g rose syrup
50g milk
2 egg yolks
20g cornflour
Pinches of salt
15g unsalted butter
80g whip topping (or double cream or whipping cream)

1. Divide the batch of whole lychees into two. Set aside one batch to puree with some syrup from the can and strain it. Weigh out 150g of the puree with syrup. If there is not enough, add more syrup from the can to make 150g in total. Cut the other batch of lychees into 5mm bits but remove the woody parts first. Store the chopped bits in refrigerator.

2. Sift cornflour into a heavy mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and whisk until a paste forms. Set aside.

3. Place lychee puree, milk, rose syrup and pinches of salt into a small saucepan and heat until steaming.

4. Pour hot liquid in a thin stream into egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium low heat while whisking continuously. Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat and continue whisking until smooth. Return back to heat and continue whisking until custard thickens to your preferred consistency.

5. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Pour into a bowl and press cling wrap on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until cool. At least an hour or overnight if you wish.

6. Fold in the chopped lychees.

7. Whip the whip topping until firm peaks form. Fold into the pastry cream.

Top is plain lychee rose pastry cream. Bottom left is chopped lychee and bottom right is whipped whip topping. 

This is how it looks like combining all three! 

Remember to fill the pastry cases jist before consuming if you want to enjoy the pastry crisp!

With love,
Phay Shing

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