Korean Honey Cake

(Yakgwa)

SERVES: 20

PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

COOKS IN: 30 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • 450 g (3 cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 90 ml sesame oil
  • 115 g (⅓ cup) Tasmanian leatherwood honey
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) sake (a Japanese rice wine)
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Ginger honey syrup

  • 125 ml (½ cup) rice malt syrup
  • 350 g (1 cup) Tasmanian leatherwood honey
  • 10 cm piece ginger, thinly sliced

Method

Place flour in a large bowl and pour over sesame oil. Using your fingertips, rub oil into flour until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together honey, sake and 60ml (¼ cup) water, then add to flour mixture and knead for 5 minutes or until dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface until 1.5 cm thick. Cut dough into 3 cm strips, then cut each strip on an angle to make about 20 diamond shapes.

To make syrup, place all ingredients and 350 ml water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and pour syrup into a shallow dish that is large enough to fit all the pastries.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 100°C on a sugar thermometer. Working in batches, gently drop pastries into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 5 minutes or until they float on the surface. Remove from pan and increase heat to 180ºC (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches, return pastries to pan and fry, turning halfway, for a further 3 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and while hot, transfer to syrup and leave to soak for 45 minutes.

Remove pastries with a slotted spoon, discarding syrup, and transfer to a tray lined with baking paper. Scatter over pine nuts and sesame seeds to serve. Pastries will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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