Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Suncake - 太阳饼 , why not Sunbiscuit ?

Flaky pastry, with sweet (typically maltose) fillings. Big, flat and round.

This is what Taichung, in Taiwan is famous for. Suncake (太阳饼, pronounced Tai Yang Bing) is a popular Taiwanese snack originally from the city of Taichung in Taiwan. They are normally packaged elaborately and meant to be given as gifts.

Why the name "suncake" ? Does it resemble the sun? There are two most widely heard stories. (1) it's named after the store (Sunbooth, Taiwan) that made these cakes famous. (2) it looks like the Rising Sun of the Japanese Flag

The three distinct characteristics of suncake - thin soft pastry crust despite their multiple layers; aromatic light pastry crust made from lard; soft sweet fillings of maltose that is not overly sweet to burden your palates.

There is much hard work in making suncakes that gives them their distinctive characteristics. The outer pastry is typically a water-oil dough while the inner pastry is an oil-dough (I'm not good with these dough baking terms but I'm sure they are easy for you bakers out there). The ingredients of the suncake fillings are typically sugar, maltose, butter, salt, mlik and cake/pastry flour.

I got these suncakes from an Asian bakery in California. There are several locations in California.

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