Date Paste Sesame Cake (Zaoni Mabing)

Date Paste Sesame Cake

Date Paste Sesame Cake, known as “Zaoni Mabing (枣泥麻饼)” in Chinese, is a traditional and iconic pastry hailing from the Suzhou region, specifically associated with the districts of Wu Zhong Mu Du and Xiang Cheng in Suzhou. This delectable treat is represented by two renowned establishments: Qianshengyuan, with a focus on a crisp and firm texture, originating from Mu Du, and Xiangcheng Laodafang, known for a softer and chewier version, originating from Xiang Cheng. Both of these establishments have been crafting this delicacy for over a century, standing as cherished landmarks in the realm of Chinese pastries.

The key ingredients for Zaoni Mabing include flour, cooked flour, honey, lard, baking soda, and brown sugar. Additionally, the filling is made with dried dates, red adzuki beans, lard, white sesame seeds, and water. The meticulous preparation involves heating the flour in the microwave, sifting a mixture of cooked and raw flour with baking soda, and then combining it with lard, honey, and brown sugar to form a dough.

The filling is created by mashing cooked dates and red adzuki beans into a smooth paste, which is then sautéed to evaporate excess moisture. The dough is divided into portions, filled with the date and bean paste, rolled out, and adorned with sesame seeds. Finally, the assembled pastries are baked in an oven at 170 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Zaoni Mabing exemplifies the artistry of Suzhou-style pastries, balancing sweetness, crunchiness, and chewiness in every bite. The distinct characteristics of the crisp Mu Du version and the soft Xiang Cheng version provide a delightful range for those seeking a taste of this beloved traditional treat. Whether enjoyed as a snack or as a gift during special occasions, Zaoni Mabing embodies the rich culinary heritage of Suzhou and continues to be a cherished part of Chinese dessert culture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *