Today marks the end of a two-year journey. It was in August of 1999 that Lilian Divinagracia's request for a hopia recipe was first published in this space.
2 doughs make thin,
For months -- no luck finding something reliable. Then, along came Conchita "Connie" Olaya.
She has been making hopia for years -- "I brought this recipe when I came to America in 1969" -- and she has perfected a thin, flaky crust with a smooth, not-too-sweet filling of yellow mung beans.
She has experimented with the recipe, to the point where she is brand-specific about the flour. It must be Gold Medal all-purpose. "Make SURE," she says. Dough made with any other flour will tear when rolled out.
And do plan on a lot of kneading and rolling with this recipe. "You cannot rush a good thing." The dough is the key. The filling is traditionally made of mung beans, but canned red or black beans can be substituted to save time. Olaya even used kidney beans when she was living on the mainland.
Hopia is also sometimes made with meat fillings. Olaya's recipe for a meat-filled version, Empanadilla, also follows.
This is complicated, so on to the recipe:
1 8-ounce package dried yellow mung beans
1/2 cup sugar, more or less, to taste
>> First dough:
1 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
>> Second dough:
2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 egg, beaten
To make filling: Soak beans in water overnight. The next day, drain water, cover beans with fresh water and bring to a boil. When beans start to soften, reduce heat and scoop out most of the water above the beans with a spoon. Add sugar. (To keep filling from being too sweet, add a portion of the sugar, then remove a spoonful of beans, cool and taste. Add more sugar if necessary). Continue cooking beans over low heat, stirring often to prevent burning, until beans soften and form a paste. Remove from heat; cool.
To make first dough: Mix flour and oil together. Set aside.
To make second dough: Combine flour and sugar. In a measuring cup, combine oil and water; pour into dry ingredients. Mix with a fork, then knead well, until dough is smooth and changes from white to ivory in color. Divide dough in half. Roll out one portion into a square, about 12 inches. Do not flour your work surface; the oil in the dough will keep it from sticking. Dough should be very thin, less than 1/8 inch, and very even. This thinness is more important that the exact shape or size of the rolled-out dough.
Crumble half of the first dough, spreading it evenly over the rolled out second dough. Roll up tightly, like a jellyroll, into a cylinder. Roll cylinder back and forth under your palms, stretching it to 16-inch in length, about 1 inch in diameter. Cut in half; wrap in clean towel and chill in refrigerator about 10 minutes, to absorb excess oil (do not refrigerate overnight; dough will harden). Repeat process with the remaining halves of the two doughs.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove one chilled cylinder of dough from refrigerator. Roll back and forth under your palms, stretching cylinder to 12-inch length, about 3/4 inches in diameter. Cut in half. Cut each half into 6 pieces (or 8 for smaller pastries).
Roll each piece into a rectangle. Dough should be very thin (may use a plastic tumbler instead of a rolling pin). Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in center. Gather edges of dough over filling and pinch together in the center. Place pinched side down; pat into a circle and flatten slightly.
Repeat this procedure for all the dough in the refrigerator. Place hopia on an ungreased cookie sheet or on a sheet of foil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until bottoms are brown (tops of hopia will still be pale). Remove from oven; brush each hopia with beaten egg. Set oven to broil; return hopia to oven until nicely brown, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Makes about 32 hopia.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per hopia (based on 1/2 cup sugar in filling): 130 calories, 6 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 5 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein.*
Hopia dough (above)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2/3 package (3.5-ounce size) mild curry mix
1 large potato, diced
1 package (10-ounce size) frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1/2 cup raisins
Salt to taste
Heat oil. Sauté garlic and onion. Add ground beef; cook until browned. Crumble and add curry to meat mixture. Add potato, peas and carrots; cook until potato is cooked; remove from heat. Add raisins and salt. Cool. Makes about 4 cups.
Follow directions for preparing hopia dough, except that chilled dough should be cut into 2-inch lengths, then each piece rolled out into a 4-inch circle. Place about 2 tablespoons curry filling in center of dough. Fold dough over filling to the opposite edge, leaving a 1/4-inch edge. Fold edges inward and seal with fork.
Baking temperature and time is the same as the hopia. Makes 24 empanadillas.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per empanadilla (not including salt to taste): 200 calories, 11 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein.*
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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