For years, Dragon Boat Festival was rarely celebrated outside of China. It’s a wonder, because the beauty and excitement of sailing dragon-decorated boats down the river are unrivaled in other holidays. Pretty much every recipe I found for Dragon Boat Festival (June 23, 2012) was for zongzi, steamed rice dumplings. However, as these recipes were outside my culinary realm, I kept digging. I found a few references to red bean paste pastries eaten for dessert. Not to be intimidated by this one, with a paddle blade on my mixer and some premade red bean paste, I was done with both cooking and clean up in less than ten minutes! And the end result was delicious. I would repeat it even if it took double the work.
4 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces butter
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can sweetened red bean paste (found at Asian and international grocery stores, as well as the Asian aisle of some mainstream groceries), about 2 cups
1 egg yolk
sesame seeds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Using the paddle blade to a stand mixer, mix cream cheese and butter until blended. Add flour and sugar and mix until dough just comes together. (Mixing can be done by hand. If so, soften butter and cream cheese before mixing.) Roll dough into a rectangular shape on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick and trim to a perfect rectangle. Spread the red bean paste on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
3. Roll the dough, jelly-roll style, and then pinch the ends. Place seam side down on a large baking sheet, either lightly greased or covered with parchment paper.
4. Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg yolk and, if using, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.