Whenever we think of Chinese cakes, the first thing that pops up in our mind is the Chinese mooncake. Mooncakes are traditional Chinese cakes which are usually round or square in shape. It is customary to prepare and eat mooncakes during the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Zhongqiu festival.
Mooncakes are usually prepared by stuffing a filling inside a mooncake skin. The filling of the mooncake may vary as it is traditionally prepared either with a lotus bean paste or a red bean paste. Sometimes jelly and other ingredients can also be used for the filling. But the most interesting part of a mooncake is the dark-reddish colored salted duck egg yolk that is enclosed in the filling of the mooncake. It gives a wonderful characteristic color to the filling of the mooncake.
Difficulty level: Medium
Yields Per Recipe: 30-35
Time Required For Preparation: 3 ½- 4 ½ hours
Time Required For Baking: 20-25 minutes
1 mooncake mold
1 large bowl
1 medium sized bowl
1 baking tray
350 grams of superfine flour
½ teaspoon of baking soda
245 grams of golden syrup
1 teaspoon of alkaline water
80 grams of cooking oil
For The Filling
900 grams of lotus seed paste
30-35 salted duck egg yolks
For The Egg Wash
1 egg, nicely beaten
Method Of Preparation
1. Take a large mixing bowl and put the alkaline water, oil and the golden syrup in that. Mix the added ingredients with a spoon. Then take another bowl and combine the baking powder with the flour in that bowl. Once done, pour the flour mixture into the bowl of the wet ingredients.
Stir the wet ingredients constantly while adding-in the flour mixture. Once all the flour is incorporated, you will get sticky and somewhat runny dough. Once done, transfer the dough to your working table and cover it up with a plastic film. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 3-3 ½ hours.
2. While the dough is resting, take a metal steamer and fill up its base with water. Place the steamer on the stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on medium high and close the lid of the steamer to allow the steam to get collected inside the steamer. In the meantime, take two medium sized bowls and place them side by side on your working table.
3. Now take the salted eggs and crack open one of them in exact halves. Immediately toss the egg yolk from one half of the egg shell to the other half while keeping your hands over one of the bowls. In this way, the egg whites will fall into one of the bowls and you will be able to collect the egg yolks in the other bowl. But be careful while doing this, because the egg yolks may easily break while tossing them.
4. Separate all the egg yolks in the same way and then put them into the steamer. Be careful while opening the lid of the steamer. Do not take your face or hands too close to the steamer while opening the lid because the sudden gush of steam may burn your skin badly.
Stay away from the steamer while opening the lid and let some of the steam escape before placing the egg yolks in that. Let the egg yolks steam for 8-10 minutes. Once done, transfer the egg yolks to a plate and then let them cool down completely before using.
5. Once the egg yolks cool down, take the lotus bean paste and cut out small Ping-Pong ball sized portions from it. Roll one of the balls in between your hands to form a neat ball and then press it down with your fingers to form a disc.
Then place one steamed egg yolk at the center of the lotus bean paste and then enclose the egg yolk by gently but firmly pulling up the bean paste over it. Once enclosed, roll the ball once again to smooth out its surface. Prepare all the balls in the same way and then keep them aside.
6. Now take the prepared mooncake skin dough and cut out a small portion from it. Again flatten that out by pressing it with your fingers and then try to enclose one of the egg yolk containing lotus paste balls into the skin dough. To do that, slowly pull up the skin dough along the sides of the filling ball as you try to enclose the ball in it.
Check the dough for any cracks while enclosing the filling ball in it. If you see any cracks then pinch it to close. Once the entire skin is wrapped around the filling ball, roll the ball in between your hands to give it a round shape. Prepare all the balls in the same way. You will notice that the dough on one side of the ball is thicker than the other side.
7. Now take a baking tray and grease it generously with oil or cooking spray. Then place the balls thick-side up on the tray by maintaining some distance in between each ball. Then take the mold and place it firmly over one of the balls.
The press the handle of the mold to create the shape and then carefully lift up the mold. Mold all the balls in the same way to get the mooncake shape. Then insert the baking tray into a 400 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven to bake the mooncakes for 10-12 minutes.
8. Once done, take out the tray from the oven and let the mooncakes cool down completely. In the meantime, take another bowl and crack open the remaining one egg in that. Whisk the egg thoroughly to prepare the egg wash and then brush it on the top and the sides of all the mooncakes.
Place back the mooncakes into the oven and bake them for an additional 8-10 minutes or until they turn golden brown in color. Once done, take out the tray from the oven and transfer the mooncakes to a wire rack to cool them completely before serving.
1. You will get better mooncakes if you let the prepared skin dough sit for more than 3 hours. The more you allow it to sit the better will be the mooncakes.
2. Mooncakes taste better if you allow them to sit for a day before eating. In that way, the skin becomes softer and the mooncakes achieve the perfect chewy texture.
3. Be careful while enclosing the filling in the mooncake. Pinch the skin if you see any cracks on it.