Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recipe: Traditional mooncake

I'm never really a fan of traditional mooncakes. Well, I much prefer snowskin and flaky mooncakes. :D However, since the festive is coming up and I really want to challenge myself to strike this off my baking list! 

I eventually baked it using the recipe from here

Everyday I'm ransacking my own house for more props to feature in my photo. :P

Ingredients (makes 12 minimooncakes of 50g each):

100g plain flour

70g golden syrup
2ml alkaline water
25ml peanut oil

415g lotus paste/red bean paste (any other pastes that you prefer)
40g melon seeds 

1. Mix lotus paste with melon seeds. Divide the filling into 35g portions and shape into balls. Set aside. 

2. Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil, mix well.

3. Place plain flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre. Add in the above mixture. Mix with a spatula to form a soft dough. Gently knead the dough till smooth (takes 1~2 mins). Shape it into a smooth round dough. Wrap with cling wrap and leave in fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or over night. This step is known as 醒面.

4. Dust work surface with some flour. Give the dough a few light kneading to smooth it.

5. Divide dough into 15g pieces. Shape each dough into a ball. Roll each dough over some flour. Dust hand with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc (about 5cm in diameter). Wrap it around the filling and shape it into a ball. (always dust hand with some flour to avoid the dough from sticking).

6. Lightly dust the wrapped dough with some flour. Place it in the mooncake mould and press the mooncake out. Place mooncake on a baking tray line with parchment paper.

7. Spray some water on the mooncakes. (Note: this helps to prevent the mooncake from cracking during baking.)

8. Bake at preheated oven at 180deg C for 10mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins (do not skip this step).

9. Brush the top with some egg wash. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15mins until golden brown (since all oven works differently, do check after 10mins, and subsequently every other 2 mins to make sure the mooncakes are not over browned).

10. Leave mooncake to cool completely and store in air tight containers. Wait for 2 ~ 3 days for the mooncakes to 回油 (for the skin to soften) before serving.

It's ok that the mooncakes are like evenly browned after baking because as you can see from my photos, after the '回油' time, the mooncakes eventually browned evenly. Yes, magic. Heh. 

Just sharing some tips with everyone on baking traditional mooncakes. I honestly don't think it's difficult. :)

1. Wrapping of the mooncake. With a 3:7 ratio being use over here, the filling is 35g while the dough is only 15g. 'How on earth is it possible to wrap the filling without tearing?' Yes I hear that. I myself was worried as well. So here's the trick, hold the dough between the thumb and index finger of one hand, and the thumb of the other hand should gently press the filling down while turning the dough and at the same time pushing the dough up to cover the filling. Still sounds difficult? Don't worry just pick up one and try, you'll soon get the hand of it! ^^

2. It is very important to leave the dough for at least 2hrs before using, 醒面. This step is to allow easy shaping of the dough later. 

3. Alkaline water makes the dough stretchable and gives the mooncake the brown colour. However go easy with the alkaline water, too much of it will cause a very dark mooncake. So 2ml for 100g of plain flour only. 

4. You need a lot of patient to bake these mooncakes.  Do remember that after the first 10mins of baking, the half-baked mooncakes have to be left to cool for about 15mins. Wait for them to cool off before applying egg wash. If you were to apply egg wash immediately after removing from the oven, the hot surface of the mooncakes will cause the egg to bubble and destroy the patten of your mooncakes. The next thing is to watch them carefully during the second baking. As all ovens work differently, check every now and then to make sure they don't get over browned. 

Yups, just remember these golden rules and I'm sure you'll be able to produce some decent traditional mooncakes too! ^^

So here's the fillings that I have, red bean and lotus pastes. I'll shamelessly say that they were really good. I guess because I've adjusted the sweetness according to my family's preference (we don't have a major sweet tooth). Anyhow, I really had much fun baking these mooncakes this year! Pity I didn't have the time to make the snowskin version. :/ 

Happy Mooncake Festival in advance! <3 


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