My (mis)adventure to the Moon (cakes)
Last week I tried making Moon Cakes.
I thought that it would be a good time to try them as it is now the 8th lunar month. Moon Cakes are made to celebrate the 15th of the Chinese Lunar month.
While I am not so into Moon Cakes, I thought it would be nice to make them to remind me and my kids of our culture.
So being typical me, I tried to do the easiest method. So I looked up some very old cook books, as the ones that are now popular are the ones that take ages to make and involves a lot of work. The so-called chefs give commercial recipes that I think I do not have the time or the equipment to make them. So I decided to use one simple recipe for the skin(dough)
As for the lotus paste filling, I just use tinned lotus paste that can be bought in the Chinese Supermarket. I bought a pack of 10 salted duck eggs.
I did not intend to make a lot of the moon cakes as we are a small family and there are not many Malaysian Chinese in where I live.
The original recipe that I intended to use was a bit complicated and involves making the golden syrup as well. The recipe that I used was easier. However the skin was a bit dry and it was more doughy, somewhat like the dough for the’ little piglet in the cage’, or ‘Doll Biscuits’. As a kid I used to eat these ‘doll biscuits’ instead of the actual Moon Cake, which I found that it was too rich and complex for my young palate. Somehow due to the popularity of Moon Cakes, I began to slowly get used to the taste and texture.
The Moon Cake Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival is now very commercialised, like how Christmas is being commercialised. Moon Cakes are now very expensive. It is now given as corporate gifts and comes in beautiful packaging. There are ‘halal’ moon cakes as well.
Last summer, my sister brought over a number of moulds and one of them is the moon cake mould. The mould is made of wood and this one comes with a smaller mould in one wooden mould. The mould is heavy and it is good enough to batter burglars.
So here is my adventure.
The end result
The egg yolk in the centre
The end result:
The filling was tasty. The dough was not soft and shinny. So the recipe for the filling stays and a new recipe is required for the skin (or the dough).
The pastry is too hard and dry, so need to bake in a less hot oven.
Instead of steaming the egg yolks, it is better to bake the egg yolk in the oven to cook it before wrapping with the lotus paste filling. This will prevent the yolk from becoming discoloured (a bit whitish).
Make sure that there are not air in between the layers when wrapping as this will give a gap in between the layers, and the moon cake will separate when cut.
The lotus paste of about 100g each for the filling is just nice. If salted egg yolks are used, there is a need to reduce the lotus paste so as not to make the cakes too big. An overfilled mooncake will not stand properly and will be wobbly.
The egg-wash should be a whole egg and not only consists of egg yolk as it will give a darker colour and a bit difficult to brush on.
I will try a new recipe in a few days’ time.
Meanwhile does anyone of you have successfully made moon cakes? Your contribution will be most welcome.