Felicia and I’ve cooked/baked up a lot of things since starting Pancake Yancake and with each new recipe comes a new potential favorite. But for our Dad, his favorite still dates back to those Flaky, Fresh Taro Pastries we made last summer. With a New Year’s Day dinner menu in the works, I thought what better time to revisit these holiday worthy pastries? Chock full of beta-carotene-rich kabocha squash, heart-healthy walnuts, gut-friendly dates, and hair-nourishing black sesame seeds, a pastry never sounded so nutritious and tasted so delicious!
Black sesame kabocha Pastries
Makes 24 pastries
For the filling:
- 450 g kabocha squash, chunks
- 100 g walnuts, finely chopped
- 150 g dates, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp black sesame, ground
For pastry dough A:
- 120 g all purpose flour
- 60 g cake flour
- 20 g powder sugar
- 4 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 80 g room temperature water
- Pinch of salt
For pastry dough B:
- 200 g cake flour
- 6 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds, ground
- Water as needed
To make the filling:
- Boil the kabocha chunks for 10 minutes or until a fork can be easily inserted into the flesh. Pour out as much water as possible and let cool slightly.
- Remove the green skin and mash the remaining orange chunks into a smooth filling.
- Mix in the chopped walnuts, dates, and ground black sesame. Chill filling in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make pastry dough A:
- In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, cake flour, powdered sugar, and softened butter to achieve a coarse crumb.
- Add water gradually, mixing initially with chopsticks. Dough should be sticky in the beginning, but keep kneading until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hand.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Allocate the dough into 12 balls, about 30 g each. Set aside until ready to assemble the pastries.
To make pastry dough B:
- In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, softened butter, and ground black sesame seeds and knead until dough forms. Dough will not seem to stick together at first, but just keep kneading until a coherent ball forms. If the dough isn’t coming together, add 1 tsp of water at a time until it just does.
- Allocate the dough into 12 balls, about 25 g each. Set aside until ready to assemble the pastries.
To assemble the kabocha pastries:
- Place a ball of dough B (grey) onto dough A (white) and completely encase dough B with dough A.
- Roll this AB hybrid dough ball out lengthwise, creating a long, flat sheet (the longer the sheet, the more layers your pastries will have). Roll up the sheet like you would a Pilsbury cresent. Repeat twice* more. (Got a little carried away; once more should actually be sufficient as that’s what I did for the taro version)
- Prepare the remaining 11 balls of dough A and B in the same way.
- Cover the rolled dough sheets with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 325 F
- Working with one dough roll at a time, cut one in half (you should be able to see the multitude of layers rolled within from this cut end). With the cut end face down, press down to flatten the half.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the piece out into a circle, dollop on a heaping ball of kabocha filling, and completely encase the filling with the dough.
- Place the filled pastry on a baking sheet with the closed end face down. Repeat until all 24 pastries are done. Optional: garnish the top of each pastry with a few whole black sesame seeds.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pastries are lightly browned. Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!