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Clarified butter is without the lactose and other milk solids. It is traditionally prepared by gently heating butter until it becomes a clear golden liquid. The lactose and other milk solids coagulate and are meticulously removed. This process also evaporates most of the natural water content, making the clarified butter light, pure and resistant to spoilage.

Osmanthus Cookies

For Filling:
  • 250 g candied winter melon strips
  • 30 g orange peel
  • 200 g water
  • 30 g wild honey
  • 10 g glutinous rice flour
  • 22 g water

For Water-skin Pastry:
  • 140 g plain flour
  • 50 g Q.B.B Ghee
  • 57 g water
  • 20 g icing sugar

For Oil-skin Pastry:
  • 110 g low protein flour
  • 20 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 74 g Q.B.B Ghee
  • 2 cooked egg yolk

To Make Filling:
  1. Put candied winter melon into a bowl together with orange peel and hot water. Soak for 30 minutes and rinse off excess sugar.
  2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan, cover with enough water. Put the lid on and boil until soft.
  3. Blend winter melon and orange peel into paste and continue cooking with low fire until the liquid has dried up.
  4. Add in honey, glutinous rice flour and 22 g of water. The texture should be thick and pasty. Keep in a bowl and store in refrigerator to cool.
  5. Once chilled, roll the paste into round balls weighing 10 g each. Dust your palms with icing sugar to avoid sticking.

To Make Pastry Skin:
  1. Mix ingredients from for water and oil skins separately in two bowls until combined. Cover with cling film and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into a long log and divide into six small, equal portions – 15 g for water-skin, 10 g for oil-skin.
  3. Flatten a portion of water dough and wrap in a piece of oil dough. Seal the edges. Place the dough seam side up and carefully roll dough into a thin sheet.
  4. Roll up the dough lengthwise and chill for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully flatten the dough into a thin sheet and roll up widthwise to form a log.
  6. Rest the logs for another 10 minutes and cut into two portions each. Repeat steps 3 – 5 until all dough balls have been used up.
  7. Preheat oven to 165°C.
  8. Flatten the dough to thin round sheets and use to wrap winter melon fillings.
  9. Seal the edges; place the dough seam side down on a tray lined with parchment paper, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Because of its long shelf life, winter melon can be stored throughout the cold winter season. It is often eaten during the Chinese New Year, steamed with meats or cooked into fragrant soups. This is a traditional Cantonese pastry with flaky skin that is made with candied winter melon paste, and flavoured with the sweet scented fragrance of the osmanthus flower – ‘gui hua’ as the Chinese call it, is a favoured ingredient in the imperial palace of China, often incorporated into the desserts of the emperor’s concubines.

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