Saturday, September 18, 2010
I hope those of you celebrating Eid are still having a blast.
Thursday was after all another holiday in Malaysia, most of you are only back to work next week and it is customary to carry on with the feasting and merry making for the entire month. As for us we managed a quiet and relaxing weekend over a Star Wars movie marathon, good food and doing just about nothing.
Awhile back I vowed to cook and bake more traditional goodies to celebrate the good months of Ramadhan and Syawal. The plan was executed just barely. I managed the ayam percik, rendang ayam pedas and nasi minyak. The eve of Eid found me pushing semperit dough out of a small plastic mould to bake my one and only batch of kuih raya. I was paying homage to another one of my long lost love, this cookie is close to my heart.
Semperit is the favorite kuih of many during Eid and to some it's a must have. An airy and light version of a butter cookie, it's traditionally made with a mixture of egg yolks, corn flour and regular flour. This is the kind of cookie you can eat and keep eating, till the whole jar is gone and yet you'll want more.
This recipe I got from the darling Naz (oh when will we meet Naz?) looks pretty authentic - it's from someone's grandmother! Some versions of semperit recipes, including the one printed on the packaging of the mould would find icing sugar, milk and custard powder (for yellower cookies). I'll try those soon but decided to post this up because it met my expectations of how a good semperit should taste.
Originally I wanted to just shape the cookies out of my fluted cookie cutter, not having the actual dough spritzer. During our Iftar buffet a few days before Eid though, a good friend Rina reminded me that I simply must make the semperit in its traditional shape.
"Pick Yin, if it's not shaped like a dahlia with a nice tiny bit of cherry in the middle, that's not semperit to me. I don't want those straight and square looking ones you know. I won't have it!", she exclaimed. Well, Rina's from northern Malaysia and can live on raw kacang botol (four-angled bean) with sambal belacan and plain rice for an entire week.
I simply agreed with her that a semperit should be shown some respect and therefore be made to look like one. Incidentally during one of my visits to Phoon Huat I found the dough spritzer (albeit the modern plastic kind) and was elated. I suspect the dough can also be piped through a sturdy piping bag with a big star nozzle. That'll certainly speed up the process of getting it onto the baking sheet. The dough spritzer only produced two cookie at a time, it took me all night to finish off the baking.
One thing bothers me about this cookie.
It brought out a selfish side of me. I don't really want to share it. There's still some left in the Tupperware and I didn't bring it for my new colleagues to try. This is bad right? Oh well, I'll just have to make another batch because good things are meant to be experienced by others, especially so during Syawal.
Furthermore, I can't be void of semperit when Najah and Rina come over for the Raya bash can I?
Semperit (Butter Cookies)
- 450 grams corn flour (1 can of Brown and Polson)
- 454 grams butter
- 7 small egg yolks (use free range eggs for best results)
- 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon rose essence
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Mix the egg yolks with sugar and rose essence. In a large bowl, mix the flours together. Rub in 3/4 of the butter into the corn flour and all purpose flour mixture. Add in the egg mixture bit by bit to form a soft dough. Do not over knead. If the dough is dry, add more butter until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack.
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