It’s a fact: a great Cantonese restaurant can only be as good at their Chinese Roasted Duck is. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will when you see (and taste) them. You’ll find these glorious ducks hanging in the windows of your local Chinatown barbecue joint, row after row, with that shiny reddish-brown finish enticing you to come in. The succulent roasted birds are a signature of Chinese cuisine, as gourmet as they are convenient to buy.
This is an elegant, party-friendly recipe, one that pays homage to the glorious Chinese Roasted Duck. Hit up your local Chinese deli for one of those birds, and the recipe only takes minutes to make. There are two ingredients that make it especially delicious, the first being duck skin and the second being plum sauce. That’s right…plenty of tangy, sweet plum sauce for drizzling over the hot tarts just before serving….is anyone hungry yet?
My mom would probably think it sacrilege to rip the meat off of a Chinese Duck and then stir-fry it, but hey, no one at a party wants to work through all those bones and unwanted extras. These are one bite appetizers, full-flavored and ready for popping in your mouth.The trick is to remove the bones and excessive fat while still leaving a bit of rich deliciousness behind. I like to reserve some of the crispy parts of skin where most of the fat has rendered off during roasting, and then dice it and add it to duck meat filling during the stir-fry stage. After all, Chinese Roasted Duck is prized for its delectable skin, so it can’t go totally wasted!
I’m obsessed with plum sauce. And to tell you the truth, I wanted to try my hand at making homemade plum sauce for this recipe, but sadly, 3 markets and not a plum to be found. What a bummer, I’ll have to try for next time. On the bright side, the convenient jarred variety does a fantastic job of fitting the bill–sweet and sour, with a perfectly syrupy consistency.
Serve these flakey, savory tarts with Elmwoon Inn’s Bourbon Black Tea or other black teas with dark, robust flavor. Rich, delicious, and easy to prepare, this elegant combination of tea and tarts will be a hit any cheery holiday celebration.
Chinese Roasted Duck Tarts
Makes 32 small tarts.
2 large pieces puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp of water
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
3 green onions, thinly sliced, white parts separated from green
1 small red pepper, finely diced
2 cups Chinese roasted duck meat (half of a large duck), fat removed, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
plum sauce, for serving
2 large baking sheets fitted with parchment
2 round cookie cutters, 1/2″ difference in diameter (I used a 2 1/2″ and 2″ cutters)
food processor (optional) or chef’s knife
1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously dust a work surface with bench flour. Place a sheet of puff pastry on the work surface, then cut out circles using the larger round cookie cutter (I got 16 circles with my 2 1/2″ cutter). Place the smaller round cutter in the center of each previously cut circle, then twist it to lightly score the surface to create a border/wall for the round tart. Use just the right pressure to cut half way through the puff pastry without completely cutting through it. Use a fork to dock holes in the center part of each pastry circle, then lightly paint the edges of each dough circle with egg wash. Transfer the dough circles to a baking sheet fitted with parchment, then space them 1″ apart. Bake the tart shells for about 10 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Repeat this process with the second puff pastry sheet.
2.) While the tart shells are baking, place the vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat, then wait for the oil to shimmer. Add the sliced white part of the green onions and the garlic and sauté just until softened. Add the red pepper and cook for about a minute until just soft. Add the chopped duck meat and sauté until heated through, for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in the hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Set aside to cool slightly.
3.) When the tart shells are ready, pull them out of the oven and use a small spoon to push their centers down to make room for the filling. Fill each tart shell with 1 rounded Tbsp of the duck filling, then place the filled tarts on a serving platter. Scatter sliced green onions atop the tarts and serve immediately, with plenty of plum sauce!