Bakpia is one of many Indonesian cakes that is so traditional you can find them in almost any food shops or bakeries in Indonesia nationwide. It is said that it originates from a food factory in Pathuk/Pathok, Central Java in Java Island, Indonesia. It is the first-sought food to bring back home when someone happens to visit Central Java.
When we first traveled to Jogjakarta in my teen years, these little gems were the most lovely thing I enjoyed. I remember to eat a packet of them while reading a book. Bad habit. But, who cares? I still loved them when I last visited Yogyakarta back in 2000. So I guess, I may be in love with it. Something to remember, something I can still enjoy.
Since there are many varieties sold out there, I have identified which of them I like best. It is the one which is enveloped with thin flaky pastry. So thin, it just melts in my mouth without too much effort biting into it.
The pastry does not taste buttery like your common butter puff pastry. In fact, it is so humble you almost think it does not taste of anything, but it does actually. In fact, it is the most interesting part I find in bakpia.
Living more than 4,000 miles away from Central Java, I search the recipe for it. I found some promising ones, but I would like to stick with the ones which have been proved right. So, I come across Hesti's blog, where she was posting about the very thing I crave for.
Now, here I'm judging by the look, because I still remember vividly the appearance of bakpia I once ate that I liked best. Hers is the closest thing I have found. Other recipes were looking a bit too good to be true with too many flakes like those of puff pastry can produce, or otherwise layers are way too thick with rather dense-looking pastry like quiche pastry which holds too much butter.
I give it a go. Read and re-read the instructions, check and re-check the ingredients. Well, I am not the luckiest person ever alive since I have failed many times to find either whole or split mung beans available in our local Asian groceries shops, so I decided to use aduki beans instead. We can always improvise, can't we?
I cooked the aduki beans paste a night before I make the pastry the next day, so they are completely cooled when is needed.
Now, the interesting part begins: the pastry.
There is not only one kind of pastry here, but two. One is the outer pastry, the other one is the layered pastry. The layered pastry is not quite like the 'real' pastry, but more like crumble pastry. This crumble pastry is going to go inside the outer pastry. Confused? Don't be.
It is rather simple to make. It does not require any butter block or six times rolling-and-chilling like common puff pastry does. In fact, it is made out of flour, a little salt, water, and oil.
OK. Here, I am just going to pinpoint the uniqueness of the pastry. You can cook the filling as to your liking, either savoury or sweet. Be my guess.
Time to make the pastry.
Here is the recipe I got from Hesti's blog. I translate it for you, in case you are interested in making it and can't read in Bahasa Indonesia.
This is not gluten-free, so if you want to make it gluten-free, perhaps you can experiment with rice flour, potato starch, or any gluten-free flour you can think of, and use xanthan gum with it as to help as the 'gluten'. But I can't guarantee, as I haven't tried it with gluten-free flour just yet. Let me know if you have. I'd love to link yours here on my post.
The pastry (outer/skin)
125 gram standard plain flour
65 gram high grade flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 milliliter water
200 milliliter vegetable oil (50 mil for the dough and 150 for soaking the dough)
Heat the water until lukewarm (do not boil), add in sugar. Stir well until sugar is diluted, and remove from the stove. Mix flours and salt. Pour in the sugar syrup. Mix well until all combined. Pour in the oil, knead well.
Take 10 gram of dough. Roll and thin out. Spoon on the crumble pastry layer (the recipe will follow below) on the thinned dough and spread well on. Gather all the sides of the pastry, like when you fold an envelope. This step is important as to produce the flakes later on. Roll it like a ball, and soak in the oil for 15 minutes. Repeat the process until all the dough is used.
Crumble pastry layer
65 gram standard plain flour
25 milliliter vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon margarine
Mix everything well. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200 Celcius.
When all the pastry dough are done, roll out the dough ball. Your crumble pastry layer will be trapped in between the outer pastry. This crumble pastry layer will act like the 'butter block' somehow that retains moisture in the pastry and gives more tone in it. It also will produce the texture of the pastry.
Once the pastry ball is flatten, put the filling in the centre of the pastry. Close the filling by joining all the sides. Roll into balls again.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.