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Pastry chefs master the art of innovation

By LI YINGXUE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-01-30 09:26
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Chef Wu Yang [Photo provided to China Daily]

Wu has devoted himself to traditional Chinese puff pastry and dough sculptures for more than a decade. With his skillful hands and boundless imagination, he has created a wide range of pastry items.

He gained inspiration for creating the lion's head from the traditional Chinese folk art of lion dancing while watching the Wong Fei-hung film series, which began in 1991 and was centered on a martial artist who lived in Guangdong province.

"Traditional Chinese culture is my inspiration for making Chinese puff pastry. In the future, I hope more young people will understand the culture behind this form of pastry," Wu said.

While using traditional cooking methods and authentic flavors, Chinese pastry chefs of all ages are becoming innovative in developing new combinations of traditional Chinese culture and the modern world to attract young people.

Chinese puff pastry typically requires making a simple modeling dessert. In creating the lion's head, Wu turned the pastry into a three-dimensional sculpture.

He made each small part of the head separately with water dough, before sticking the parts together with egg white. For the mane, he made 160 cuts to the dough to produce the fluffy effect after deep frying.

"It took several attempts to finally create the lion's head. At first, the two layers of eyelashes were the same size, but I later made the second layer smaller and thinner to make it stand out," Wu said.

The lion's head creation is the result of Wu's accumulated pastry-making skills over the past 10 years.

He used to be responsible for making congee at a restaurant, for which he was required to cut ginger and carrots precisely — an experience that helped him master a range of knife skills.

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