What I love about Piaya is that it kinda tastes like Pie but in cookie form. We have a flaky crust (made crispy again if you have enough willpower/patience to toast it first) and then there’s a sweet filling that oozes out all warm and gooey. Perfect for breakfast. Am I the only one who sees the connection between pies and Piaya? Well the dough used for both pies and piaya are sort of the same — you have the similar ratios for flour, fat, and liquid. Even the process is the same. You add flour, cut in the fat, and sprinkle in just enough liquid. You roll up the dough into a ball, flatten into discs, and let it rest for a bit in the fridge.
For others, Piaya is probably reminiscent of hopia. I’ll probably whip up another batch of Piaya dough and fill it with savory things like mashed and curried potatoes. Or cheese and herbs. Kind of like a crispier version of stuffed naan?
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for Piaya adapted from Ping Desserts.
1 cup All Purpose Flour*
Pinch of fine salt
3 tablespoons fat (butter/shortening)**
5 tablespoons very cold vodka***
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon syrup (I used pancake syrup, heh)****
1. Combine flour and salt.
2. Cut in the fat. You can use a fork, food processor, or a pastry blender.
3. Sprinkle in the cold vodka.
4. Knead and then roll into a bowl. I didn’t transfer the dough when I kneaded it. I just kneaded the dough right inside the bowl — less cleanup.
5. Cut into equal portions. You can cut it into six or 8 equal pieces. Roll into balls and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. Cover with cling wrap or a towel in order to prevent it from drying up.
6. After you let the dough rest, flatten in between layers of cling film in order to prevent it from sticking everywhere. If you add in more flour, you will alter the texture of the crust.
1. In a small bowl, combine the syrup and the muscovado. Combine thoroughly.
2. Spoon in a tablespoon of filling into the flattened dough and carefully pinch into the center in order to seal. Carefully flatten into desired thickness.
3. You can experiment with fillings if you like. I used matcha and white chocolate chips added with a bit of muscovado filling. I also combined muscovado (already combined with the syrup) and butterscotch chips for a butterscotch filling.
4. Preheat a non-stick pan and put the piaya and toast for 2-3 minutes. No need to add oil.
*You can use different kinds of flours. Bread flour if you want it to be extra crisp. Cake flour if you want it to be a bit more tender. Or use half bread/cake flour and half APF.
**I used two tablespoons shortening and one tablespoon of unsalted butter. The shortening will make the dough extra flaky while the butter will add a bit of flavor and make the resulting dough a bit crispier instead of soft.
***I use vodka in pie crusts because pie crusts with lesser water content tend to be flakier/less soft. You can opt for very cold water if you like. But the results won’t be the same.
****The original recipe states that you use honey or glucose. I didn’t have any of those on hand so I ended up using pancake syrup. I think the syrup is used mainly to prevent the muscovado from drying up inside the crust. I’ll probably experiment with crushed cashews/pili/sesame seeds and molasses next time.
If you conquer this Piaya recipe, I’m pretty confident that you can make a perfect pie crust as well.