When loving you to the moon and back, it happens in the kitchen too.
My dear friends,
I am so so so happy to share with you today’s recipe. It is a honor to show you one of the sweetest festival of China, which I share the culture with in my hometown- Taiwan, at this harvest season. To be honest, I am always waiting the coming of fall, I love the weather so much, the celebration idea nowadays is always tied up with Mid-Autumn festival, family or friends gathering with fine foods or barbecue, but the gifting with mooncakes is something one should never ignore; personally I think is the best touch of the year. These sweet mooncake bring me so much joy. And now I wish this recipe could bring you and your family joy too.
First of all, let’s talk a little bit background of mooncake, shall we? there are different stories behind it. But the earliest is around 800 AD Tang dynasty: During the Mid-Autumn festival, the emperor would treat the fresh- onboard governors to some mooncakes as a welcome gift. Later on, this thoughtful act became popular even with common people. The shape of the cake is round like the moon and the name plays along with the idea that mid-Autumn is on Aug.15th of Chinese lunar calendar when the full moon is on. For more than 1200 years family or friends eat mooncake, enjoying the beautiful full moon together.
There is another, more dramatic theory from the Yuan dynasty. At the end of the dynasty, Chinese were so depressed by the governors- Mongolians, they want to rebel but communication is restricted both in mails or orally. How can they find a way to communicate with people? one of the most famous strategists, Bowen Liu, think of this great idea of putting a small note into the mooncakes, it said: Revolt on the Aug.15th. They achieved a successful revolution.
No matter which story we choose behinds mooncakes, the sweetness is what completely get into people’s hearts. The outlooks and favors also have many variations. Savory with meats, yolk, or ice cream, chewy or layered crust.
Let’s get straight to making this deliciousness! today we are gonna make a classic favor- Red bean and yolk from Chinese.
Serve 6 people, make 24 small mooncakes (1.5-inch diameter, 1-inch hight )
cooking time: approximately 1 hr
*For the topping-
1 egg yolk
*For the crust-
100g corn syrup
90g olive oil
290g all-purpose flour
*For the filling-
370g pre-made sweetened red bean paste
12 duck yolks, cut it half (optional)
P.S. I bought these two ingredients at a Chinese supermarket, it’s not common at all in the western supermarket. If you couldn’t find it anywhere. we can make our own.
buy 12 eggs or duck eggs. frozen it for at least three days. take it out, wait for a while at room temperature, then separate the yolks and white.
Put a thick layer of salt on a plate, put the yolks on top of it, cover the yolks with salt, then cover the plate with plastic wrap, marinate it for at least an hour. Take it out, rinse with clean water. Put it all on a parchment paper, spray some wine (rice wine, or white), heat in oven with 170C/340F for 8 mins.
Also, If you are not into yolks, you would need to prepare more paste of flavor you like, about 470g.
Red bean paste:
300g red bean
80g Granulated Sugar
50g peanut oil
Before the day you making, put all the red bean in a big bowl full of clean water, soak for a night.
when cook red bean, drain the red bean first, boil water in a pot with 1500CC water. turn to medium heat, add red bean, stir it sometimes to prevent the burn at bottom, cook until the bean is soft, and the water getting very sticky. turn off the heat, cool it down a bit.
Pull the red bean into blender, until it getting smoothy. then put the red bean back to the pot, cook it with small heat, adding sugar and peanut oil, stir it often, until it getting thick like paste, will take about 20-30 mins.
- Start with the crust, prepare a large mixer bowl, mix corn syrup and honey. then the olive oil. Put in the sifted flour, mix it all well with hands. now you have the dough, cover it with plastic wrap, sit for 30 mins.
- When waiting for the crust, at the same time, cut the yolks half, then wrap each yolk with about 15g red bean paste, make into round shapes. (This may not be easy with bare hands since the paste will getting sticky on warm hands. I suggest do it with a spoon: put some paste on a spoon, then put the yolk, put another layer of paste, use your finger to shape a circle.)
- After 30 mins, we can start assembling the crust and filling. cut the dough into 24 equal sizes. Make it a flat circle with a rolling pin, put the filling on one each crust, wrap it nicely, make sure there is no hole.
- If you have a mooncake mold (I bought mine from Amazon), put the ball in the mold, press it with medium pressure, not too harsh that will break the crust. If you don’t have mold is fine, just make sure the shape is nice.
- Gently brush the mooncake on top with the egg yolk, recommend applying it with soft pastry brush like natural bristles. we will apply it three times. The first time is before baking, the second time is after baking 10 mins, the third time is after 5 mins later after the second time.
- Preheat the oven to 210C/410F, set all the mooncakes on a parchment paper with 1-inch space on a baking plate, bake it for a total of about 25 mins.
Alright! you are done!!! Isn’t it easier than you thought?
After the baking is done, sure you could taste it immediately, however, I recommend to let it sit for a day at room temperature until the crust getting moisture back. That will make the taste even better!
Mooncakes can be preserved at room temperature about 5-7 days. If you are not planning on eating it soon, you can freeze it, then bake it again with the same temperature when you want to eat it later. Of course freshly made tastes better, as usual 😉
I really hope this recipe will bring you some courage when you try to make an Asian dessert recipe. To me, it really is much easier than I imaged before, kinda regret why I didn’t do it often…ohhhh! After this, I also made the other variation mooncake, which is one of my favorites, we called it “ Yolk pastry 蛋黃酥” which is very common and beloved in Taiwan, you almost can buy it at any time at a pastry shop, not only for the festival.
The fillings of egg yolk cake are the same as this mooncake recipe, the difference is the crust. Egg yolk cake has crispy, layered texture, which I personally really enjoy. I will share with you how to make the egg yolk cake some other day. 🙂 I really wish you have the fun of making the mooncakes and enjoy the favor. Tell me what do you think, and have you tasted other mooncakes before? Do you like the favor? so curious to know your thoughts. Happy Mid-Autumn festival! 中秋節快樂！