Once in a while a craving jumps out at me and this was a classic example of “I miss onde-onde but I’m sure I can make a keto version of it” moment. Chinese New Year is coming up and it’s time to bake those cookies and prepare for feeding the hordes!
Well…not exactly. 2022 seems to be like 2020 too. With the Omicron variant entering Singapore I don’t see the safe distancing measures loosening up to allow more visiting or larger group gatherings. I’m not super complaining about it because the truth is that I’ve always not enjoyed the giant CNY gatherings where we visit homes with 30-50 people that we have to make awkward small talk with and are unable to remember their names and whether we have correctly given Ang Pows (red packets containing cold hard cash) to all their children. Super stressful! But I do miss meeting up with closer family members and it looks like with only 5 people allowed to come to the home at one time, it will be hard to entertain my brother’s 6 person family. They will be coming..,I had offered to have a 2 time slot seating arrangement (like most restaurants do) but my sis-in-law decided to delegate one of the kids to stay home and eat KFC! Apparently he’s much more happy with that idea than the rest of us are…
Anyway since there are family members who are diabetic, I am careful to make sure that the snacks available are low in carb content. It annoys me to bits when I see commercial “low sugar” snacks that are made out of flour…I personally feel that there’s a huge amount of tone deafness of people who have no health issues. There’s a lack of interest or awareness to allow truly healthier alternatives into the market. Anyway no more grousing. I’m really thankful that I discovered the low carb lifestyle years ago and that I’m not really deprived of snacks! Plus since I can bake for myself I know what ingredients go into the snacks and I don’t have to second guess what I’m eating.
Anyway onde-onde is a South East Asian dessert made up of sweet potato dough that has a chunk of melty gula melaka (palm sugar) in the center, and is dusted with grated coconut on the surface. It’s actually a kind of soft and chewy snack with a delectable inside, somewhat similar to Japanese mochi. To make an onde-onde tart however, I decided to put the grated coconut and sugar on the inside and have a shortbread pasty on the outside. Stroke of genius, I thought. Until I got to working with the pastry dough and discovering that it was kind of sticky and hard to work with. Oops.
Anyway it was a happy morning of rolling dough. Let me say straight off that this dough cannot be rolled out. Yicks. It sticks to everything. But what I did was to roll the dough into a 1 inch ball, then flatten it out in my palm and put the filling into the center for the flattened dough and ever so gently wrap the dough around the filling. It took longer than I expected and I think anyone who doesn’t have good fine motor skills might find doing this intimidating. I did also try to do an open tart style, which was easier to do, but because I wanted the fun of having a little ball with filling inside I decided to make the whole batch into balls.
The other thing was that because I couldn’t use gula melaka as it’s pure sugar, I decided to make the filling with fresh grated coconut and All Day I Dream About Food’s keto caramel sauce. It made the filling nice and moist…I took a bit of risk to add a little molasses to the mix to get a slightly darker filling although I think it’s optional and may also give a different flavor that is not so typical of Asian flavors.
Verdict. Mum thought it definitely did remind her of onde-onde. I’m sure it was also the pandan paste that gave the shortbread pastry a jolly green giant vibe. All in all a doable bake project and I will probably make it again just before Chinese New Year for my guests!
Onde Onde Tarts
- Tart Filling
- 100 g fresh grated coconut
- 1/2 cup keto caramel sauce (from All Day I Dream About Food; link above)
- 1 tsp molasses (optional)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 2/3 cup sugar substitute
- 112 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 tsp pandan paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk, beaten, for egg wash
- 1.Heat a non-stick skillet over low heat. Stir the coconut and caramel sauce and molasses (if using) in the skillet for 3-4 minutes to allow the filling to dry slightly and thicken up. The filling should be sticky enough to clump together. Cool down the filling.
- Spoon the tart filling into little clumps. The balls of filling weighed about 6-7 g (optional but preferable to weigh the filling. Refrigerate the filling for about an hour for it to become firm. This makes encasing it with dough much easier).
- Add the butter and sugar substitute into a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the almond and coconut flour, pandan paste and salt and continue to pulse and mix the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 150 deg C.
- Roll a small lump of dough into a 1 inch sized ball. Flatten dough in your palm and place the tart filling in the center of the tart dough. Gently wrap the rest of the dough and roll the filled dough in a ball. Lay the tarts out in a lined baking sheet at 1 inch intervals. Brush on the beaten egg yolk
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve when cool.