Yummilicious Yang Mei
Bam's Kitchen has a full month of delicious Italian cuisine posts coming your way very soon. However, today we are going to take a quick break so that I can share with you a very delicious treat from China that is in peak season right now.
Yesterday, my dear friend Safie, brought over a huge plate of Yang Mei fruit for our family to enjoy. The harvest season for Yangmei is only a couple of weeks and it is going on right now. Yang Mei is also known as waxberry, China Bayberry, red bayberry, and it also has many other names. Yangmei is a fruit that is native to Asia, more specifically China and Taiwan. I think the Yangmei tastes kind of like a strawberry and blackberry combined with a floral essence. It also has little bumps on the side of the fruit just like a raspberry does but micro in size. They do have a little pit in the middle that you need to remove before eating them. I really enjoy the Yangmei as it only comes to season once a year and it is a very special treat slightly sweet, slightly tangy and floral. Come along and I will show you 3 new recipes using the lovely yangmei berry...
Yang Mei is the wax fruit of the wax myrtle tree. China has been harvesting yangmei for thousands of years and it has also been used it for its medicinal properties. Yangmei is a healthy fruit, high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and carotene.
My dear friend Safie mentioned that yangmei is traditionally used in teas, cut up and put into wines and allowed to ferment or just eaten as fresh fruit in China.
Well, there is nothing very traditional about Bam's Kitchen. Bam's Kitchen is a place where you can find unique international food that even teenagers will enjoy. Bam's Kitchen is also a place where I reach from one side of the globe to the other trying to think of new ways to get my teenage boys to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Yangmei is a beautiful glistening fruit that is delicious eaten fresh and plain. However, my boys would need a little bit more persuasion to try this new exotic fruit.
So, how about a Yangmei Song Bing? ("Song bing" loosely translates to tart in Putongua) I want to be able to keep some of the traditional flavors of Asia and add some fresh ginger to the mix but bringing in a little of France with the creation of a galette. Worlds apart but a harmony of flavors.
Oh wait, how about a Frangipane Yangmei Tart? Frangipane is a filling made with almonds, butter and all kinds of yummy good things. I used layers of crispy light phyllo dough and butter and then placed a layer of Frangipane and then a layer of delicious yangmei baked up for a delicious new way to try some new tropical fruits.
I just could not decide which tart I should make, so I just made one of each. In the end, I have a divided front. One teenager likes Yangmei Song Bing and my other teenager likes the Frangipane Yangmei Tart best. So my suggestion is for you to try to make one of each and let me know what you think. Which one do you prefer?
I also think I will also make a little yangmei puer cha to go with the tarts. I think that would be quite lovely. (Believe it or not, my youngest teenager loves puer cha. It must be all of these years living in Asia that has converted my boys into tea drinkers)
I made these recipes up as I went along with a little dash of this and a little dash of that so please understand that my measurements are all approximations.
Yangmei only lasts a few days in the refrigerator, so they need to be consumed fresh in less than a week from when they are picked. So let's get cracking...Don your aprons, start the kettle and let's get baking!
Yang Mei Song Bing (Yang Mei Tart)
Serves 4-6 adults or 1 hungry teenager
Yangmei Fruit Ingredients
- 1.5 cups Yangmei, washed well, pits removed and cut up into pieces
- 1/4-1/3 cup granulated sugar depending on how sweet or sour your yangmei fruit is. (agave or sugar alternative of choice)
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch (Yangmei once cut can have lots of juice so add cornstarch as required to help thicken)
- 1 cup flour (or coconut flour for us gluten-free foodies)
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces (after you cut the butter into pieces it will get warm from your fingers so pop it in the freezer for a few minutes right before you put it in the food processor)
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 beaten egg (Just to brush on top of tart shell to give it a nice golden color)
Step 1: Make the Pate Brisee Tart Shell: In your food processor or with personal muscle strength combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and cold butter and then a little at a time add the ice water until well mixed. Take the dough of the processor and form into a ball and chill in a covered piece of plastic wrap in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Step 2: Combine together the washed, pitted and chopped yangmei, fresh ginger, sugar and cornstarch together and set aside.
Step 3: Remove the pate brisee tart shell dough out of the refrigerator. Put a little of extra flour for dusting on your clean counter top and roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thick and into a round disk.
Step 4: Use your rolling-pin to move the dough from your counter to you pre-greased baking sheet. Scoop the yangmei fruit ingredients onto the middle of the circle of dough.
Step 5: Rustically fold over and crimp the edges of the yangmei tart just so that none of the juices escape during the baking process. Brush the edges of the tart with egg wash.
Step 6: Put your tarts in a preheated 190 degree Celsius (375 F) oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the tart is light golden brown and fruit is bubbly.
Step 7: Serve yangmei tart warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream or whipping cream or at room temperature with a cup of delightful Yangmei Cha (Recipe follows below)
Mini Frangipane Yangmei Tart
Serves 2 adults or 1 hungry teenager
- 2 sheets of store-bought phyllo dough cut into 4 equal pieces (total of 8 pieces of phyllo)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup roasted ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons of butter
- sprinkle of sugar
Yamgmei Fruit Layer
- 1 cup of washed, pitted, and cut up yangmei
- 1/8-1/4 cup of sugar depending on how sweet or sour your yangmei are.
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Step 1: Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees F.
Step 2: On a greased baking sheet place one precut sheet of phyllo dough and brush with butter. Layer with another layer of phyllo dough and brush with butter and repeat process for remaining 8 sheets of phyllo dough.
Step 3: Make Frangipane: In a small pan place ground almonds and gently heat until lightly toasted brown, add butter and sugar and mix until incorporated and set aside.
Step 4: Place a layer of frangipane (almond layer) on top of the phyllo dough leaving about 2 inches around the edges.
Step 5: Stir together cut up yangmei, sugar, cornstarch and ginger until mixed and set aside.
Step 6: Place the yangmei fruit mixture on top of fangipane layer.
Step 7: Crimp up rustically the sides of the phyllo dough so that the fruit stays inside while cooking.
Step 8: Bake Mini Frangipane Yangmei Tart for about 20-25 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown and yangmei fruit is cooked and bubbly.
Step 8: Serve Mini Frangipane Yangmei Tart warm with a bit of ice cream à la mode or whipped topping or at room temperature with a pot of delightful Yangmei Puer cha (recipe to follow)
Yangmei Puer Cha
- 3-4 yangmei berries cut up
- small wedge of fermented puer cha
- hot water
Step 1: Place puer wedge in tea kettle rinse puer cha 2 times with hot water and pour out
Step 2: add yangmei berries to tea kettle and add hot water
Step 3: Steep tea for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then pour
Step 4: Enjoy a cup of hot Yangmei Puer cha with a nice slice of Yang Mei Song Bing (Yang Mei Tart) or Mini Frangipane Yangmei Tart.