|Chinese moon cake|
Making moon cake at home
Making moon cake at home? – I never thought I would even dare to try one day. Back home, people would give moon cake as gifts to each other, so they are ‘everywhere’, or if I like particular fillings, then there are too many choices!. Don’t even mention that I am a terrible lousy baker. :)
I guess living abroad made me more into ‘baking culture’. I started learning to bake bread, simple cakes, tiramisu… – No,no, don’t get me wrong, I am still a very lousy baker, but I am so lucky to have a lovely husband and neighbour friends who ate whatever I made,no matter how ugly it is, and kept on telling me how good and how tasty it is. :))) For example, I tried to learn how to make moon cake, and it didn’t turn up as it should look like. Ha… But I am still here shamelessly talking about how to make moon cake. :))))
I decided to make moon cake myself because it is not easy to find the Northern-style moon cakes. (As those that can be found in UK supermarkets are mostly Cantonese-style, which I am not used to.)
The traditional northern moon cakes are with red beans, mung beans, strawberries, jujubes, or mixed nuts fillings (there are hundreds of different fillings). Northern moon cakes are sweet, but far less sweet than … for example, English carrot cake.
To make moon cake, apart from the necessary ingredients, you also need ‘moon cake mold’, which unfortunately I don’t have, so the final outcome is far less appealing to the eye than the moon cakes sold in the shops. Taste is not too bad though.
I made different kinds of moon cakes with a few different fillings, here is one of them – red bean filling, one of the most traditional fillings in Northern China. As for the pastry, I sticked to the traditional one – with wheat flour, it is also popular to use glutinous rice recently, which is more typical in Cantonese cuisine.
The recipe: Chinese mooncake with red bean filling
Here you go.
For the pastry: syrup, alkaline water (I could not get alkaline water here, so I used bicarbonate mixed with water), oil, flour.
For the red bean filling : red bean, sugar, oil
For baking: egg
Making the pastry:
1) Mix 210g of syrup, 90g of oil, 15g of alkaline water, (I used 1 and harlf teaspoon of bicarbonate mixed into one cup of water), plain flour 300g together, make the dough.
2) Cover the dough with cling film, and leave the dough in the fridge for around 2 hours.
3) Divide the dough into smaller portions, normally depending the mold you have, but generally the proportion of fillings and pastry is 3:7.
4) Roll the small dough into a flat sheet, but not too thin, say around 0.5cm?
Making the red beans filling:
1) Soak around 3 cups of red beans in the warm water, for around 5 hours.
|Chinese red beans|
2) Boil the red beans for around one hour, or until the ‘skin’ of the red beans comes off. Then wash off the ‘skins’. (You also keep the skin on, but need to boil longer, until the skin gets completely soften and smooth.)
3) Keep on boiling ‘skinless’ red beans with water just cover the beans, and add in 2 cups of sugar or amount you like depend how sweet you like. (I did not make it very sweet.) – Actually it is good to use ‘crystal sugar’ or we call ‘ice sugar’ in Chinese.
4) And add in around 30g oil. (I also add a couple of drop of rum flavor to make the taste richer.)
5) Boil the mix until it becomes a good paste.
|Red bean paste|
Fold the filling in:
1) Take prepared ‘sheet’, and put the filling in the middle of the sheet. (The proportion of the filling and the dough is 3:7, normally.)
2) Fold up, and roll it between the palms into a small ball.
3) Put the ball into the mold, press down to the shape of moon cake. — (Here is where I lost, since I don’t have the proper mold, so just use whatever I can reach to make a moon cake shape without any patterns on the surface.)
|Shaping the moon cake|
1) Pre-heat the oven at 150 degree.
2) Whisk an egg.
3) Spray some water on the surface of the moon cake, and put the moon cake into the oven.
4) In around 10 minutes, take the moon cake out, and brush on whisked egg only on the top surface (not the side).
5) Put the moon cake back to the oven for further 15 minutes.
—- Done! :)))
The second last picture is how it would look like if the proper mold was used. :) And Here you go, a picture that I just received this morning my best friend’s daughter, 7 years old, making ‘iced skin moon cake’, she is going to be a better baker! Ha…
In Chinese, it is traditionally said that 15th ’s (August) moon is even more rounder on 16th (August). So look up at the moon tonight, it is supposed to be even more beautiful, and the Mid Autumn Festival continues… :))