Mid-Autumn Festival Series: Traditional Lotus Seed Paste Mooncakes – 月饼

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival ~almost ! Mid-Autumn Festival is only a day away, September 15, 2016. If you didn’t know it was Mid-Autumn Festival then you need to catch up on some of my previous posts! Su Zhou Savoury Mooncakes, Snow Skin Coconut Custard Mooncakes, Homemade Lotus Seed Paste (part 1), Homemade Golden Syrup (part 2). Mooncakes are a customary food to eat during this celebration because they symbolize completeness and togetherness.

Traditional Mooncakes consists of a thin tender pastry skin enveloping a sweet dense filling typically lotus seed paste or red bean paste, in addition, it may contain salted egg yolks, which symbolize the full moon. These mooncakes are named after the moon goddess Chang’e these mooncakes were created for. For more about the Legend of Chang’E, go check out The Smoo Diaries! She has a wonderful post on the Legend of Chang’E.

chang_er_end

Photo Credit: http://thesmoodiaries.com/legend-of-change-and-hou-yi/

There are some key ingredients that you will need to make this Traditional Mooncakes, that are typically not found in your pantry. This will include: Golden Syrup, Lotus Seed Paste, and Kansui (lye water, alkaline solution, 枧水). Though you can definitely buy them, it is also just as easy to make them. Golden Syrup was posted just recently here, and Lotus Seed Paste was posted recently here. In the recipe below, I will include the instructions on how to make your home version of Kansui (lye water, alkaline solution, 枧水) with ingredients typically found in your pantry.

 

SO WHAT ARE SALTED EGG YOLKS?

A salted egg is a preserved food made by soaking the egg in a salted brine. The salted eggs become briny in aroma with a gelatin-like egg white and bright orange-red yolk. These yolks are rich and fatty. They are usually prized when used in Chinese Mooncakes, as they symbolize the beauty of the full round moon.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-1

 

SO WHAT IS KANSUI (枧水)?

Kansui is also known as lye water or alkaline salt solution. It is often used to regulate the acidity in dough making. Chinese alkaline solution contains potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda). This solution is key when making the mooncakes as it will give the skin a golden colour. It is also key in making ramen noodles as it gives the noodles a springy texture and yellow tone. You can try find this at the Asian Supermarket, or you can simply make it yourself with two common pantry ingredients: water and baked baking soda.

 

SO WHAT IS BAKED BAKING SODA?

Baked baking soda is basically baking soda baked in the oven for an hour. This transforms the baking soda into sodium carbonate which is a stronger alkaline salt.

 

MAKING BAKED BAKING SODA IS EASY!

Spread a layer of baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake it at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour. The soda will lose about a third of weight in water and carbon dioxide giving you a strong alkali. Keep this baking soda in a tightly sealed jar to prevent it from absorbing moisture in the air. Also refrain from touching this with your bare hands as it can cause irritation to sensitive skin
**To make an alkaline solution for mooncakes, add 1/4 teaspoon baked baking soda to 1 teaspoons water; stir to mix well.

bakedbakingsoda-2

 

Today’s post will be a Traditional Mooncake filled with Lotus Seed Paste, as well as a Traditional Mooncake filled with Salted Egg Yolk and Lotus Seed Paste. These are surprisingly simple to make, it just requires a lengthier process. However, you can definitely take some shortcuts for this to streamline the recipe, by opting for store bought Golden Syrup, canned Lotus Seed Paste, Kansui (lye water, alkaline solution, 枧水), and cooked Salted Yolks.


**The full recipe without photos is on the bottom of the post!**

Makes 8 Mooncakes
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Rest Time: 24 ½ hours

So what you will need is:

Dough:
70 grams Golden Syrup (see recipe here)
25 grams (25 ml) oil
½ teaspoon kansui
110 grams (3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon) cake flour plus extra to dust

¼ teaspoon baked baking soda (see instructions above)
1 teaspoon water

Filling:
1 cup sweet lotus seed paste (see recipe here)
6 salted egg yolks (optional)

1 mooncake mold, 1 3/4 inch in diameter (where to buy? clickhere on details where!)

1 egg yolk, beaten

For the Salted Yolks:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degree C.
2. Crack whole salted eggs and retain the egg yolks. (save the egg whites to use in a egg drop soup!)
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-2
3. Lightly rinse under cold water to reveal a firm yolk, dry any excess water with paper towel.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-3
4. Next, bake the salted egg yolks in preheated oven for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-6

For the Mooncake Dough:
1. Combine golden syrup, kansui and oil in a large bowl until well mixed.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-9
2. Sift the flour into the bowl, then fold gently into the batter. Do not overmix as this will toughen the tender pastry crust.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-11
3. Gently knead dough a few times so the dough comes together.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-14 4. Seal with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

 

To assemble:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
2. Divide the mooncake dough into 8 equal portions, about 25 grams each. Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover the mooncake dough with cling wrap to prevent them from drying.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-16
3. Divide the lotus seed paste into 8 equal portions, about 30 grams each (45 grams each if you plan to skip the salted yolks). Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover the lotus seed paste with cling wrap to prevent them from drying.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-15
4. Prepare the ingredients and utensils needed.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-18
5. To make the filling with the salted yolks: Take a lotus paste ball and make an indentation in the middle with your finger.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-19 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-20
6. To make the filling with the salted yolks: Place egg yolk inside and roll and shape into a ball.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-21 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-22 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-23
7. Cover the mooncake dough portion with a plastic film and roll into a thin disc.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-25 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-26 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-28
8. Place one filling ball in the middle
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-29
9. Wrap and seal the lotus paste ball with the dough disc, roll and shape into a ball.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-30 sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-31
10. Spray the mooncake press with cooking oil and place the stuffed mooncake into the mould, seamless side up and seam side down.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-33
11. Lightly press the mould handle, then remove the mooncake from the mould.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-35
12. Transfer the formed mooncake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, mooncakes should be 1-inch apart.

sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-36 13. Repeat these steps to finish the remaining dough and lotus paste.
14. Spray the mooncakes lightly with water to prevent the dough from cracking.
15. Bake on the middle rack for 9 minutes, until the dough starts to golden along the edges.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-37 16. Remove the mooncakes from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
17. Brush a thin layer of egg wash on the surface of the mooncakes. Only brush the top surfaces, not the sides.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-38 18. Return the mooncakes to the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until golden.
19. Let mooncakes cool in the tray before removing.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-39 20. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.
21. Store mooncakes in an airtight container. The mooncakes can be served after 24 to 48 hours, as this will let the pastry crust become soft, however they will look and taste even better after 3 days. They are then ready to eat!
22. Storage Tips: After this last step, mooncakes can be kept for around 2 weeks in fridge.
sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-40

sweet-rehab-traditional-mooncakes-43

Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed this recipe. I’d like to see how they turned out! “#sweetrehabkitchen“. If you’re interested in more Mid-Autumn Festival posts check out our previous posts for our Mid-Autumn Festival Series.

Su Zhou Savoury Mooncakes
Snow Skin Coconut Custard Mooncakes
Homemade Lotus Seed Paste (part 1)
Homemade Golden Syrup (part 2)

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Traditional Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake
Yields 8
Mini Mooncakes filled with homemade lotus seed paste and a salted egg yolk
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
25 hr 40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
25 hr 40 min
Dough
  1. 70 grams Homemade Golden Syrup
  2. 25 grams (25 ml) oil
  3. ½ teaspoon kansui
  4. 110 grams (3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon) cake flour plus extra to dust
  5. 1/8 teaspoon baked baking soda (see instructions in notes below)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon water
Filling
  1. 1 cup HomemadeLotus Seed Paste
  2. 6 salted egg yolks (optional)
Topping
  1. 1 egg yolk, beaten
Utensil
  1. 1 mooncake mold, 1 3/4 inch in diameter
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For the Salted Yolks
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degree C.
  2. Crack whole salted eggs and retain the egg yolks. (save the egg whites to use in a egg drop soup!)
  3. Lightly rinse under cold water to reveal a firm yolk, dry any excess water with paper towel.
  4. Next, bake the salted egg yolks in preheated oven for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
For the Mooncake Dough
  1. Combine golden syrup, kansui and oil in a large bowl until well mixed.
  2. Sift the flour into the bowl, then fold gently into the batter. Do not overmix as this will toughen the tender pastry crust.
  3. Gently knead dough a few times so the dough comes together.
  4. Seal with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
To assemble
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  2. Divide the mooncake dough into 8 equal portions, about 25 grams each. Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover the mooncake dough with cling wrap to prevent them from drying.
  3. Divide the lotus seed paste into 8 equal portions, about 30 grams each (45 grams each if you plan to skip the salted yolks). Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover the lotus seed paste with cling wrap to prevent them from drying.
  4. Prepare the ingredients and utensils needed.
  5. To make the filling with the salted yolks: Take a lotus paste ball and make an indentation in the middle with your finger.
  6. To make the filling with the salted yolks: Place egg yolk inside and roll and shape into a ball.
  7. Cover the mooncake dough portion with a plastic film and roll into a thin disc.
  8. Place one filling ball in the middle
  9. Wrap and seal the lotus paste ball with the dough disc, roll and shape into a ball.
  10. Spray the mooncake press with cooking oil and place the stuffed mooncake into the mould, seamless side up and seam side down.
  11. Lightly press the mould handle, then remove the mooncake from the mould.
  12. Transfer the formed mooncake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, mooncakes should be 1-inch apart.
  13. Repeat these steps to finish the remaining dough and lotus paste.
  14. Spray the mooncakes lightly with water to prevent the dough from cracking.
  15. Bake on the middle rack for 9 minutes, until the dough starts to golden along the edges.
  16. Remove the mooncakes from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  17. Brush a thin layer of egg wash on the surface of the mooncakes. Only brush the top surfaces, not the sides.
  18. Return the mooncakes to the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until golden.
  19. Let mooncakes cool in the tray before removing.
  20. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.
  21. Store mooncakes in an airtight container. The mooncakes can be served after 24 to 48 hours, as this will let the pastry crust become soft, however they will look and taste even better after 3 days. They are then ready to eat!
Storage Tips
  1. After this last step, mooncakes can be kept for around 2 weeks in fridge.
How to make baked baking soda
  1. Spread a layer of baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake it at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour. Keep this baking soda in a tightly sealed jar to prevent it from absorbing moisture in the air. Also refrain from touching this with your bare hands as it can cause irritation to sensitive skin
  2. **To make an alkaline solution for mooncakes, add 1/4 teaspoon baked baking soda to 1 teaspoons water; stir to mix well.
  3. Store mooncakes in an airtight container. The mooncakes can be served after 24 to 48 hours, as this will let the pastry crust become soft, however they will look and taste even better after 3 days. They are then ready to eat!
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