Mid-Autumn Festival Series: Traditional Lotus Seed Paste Mooncakes
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival ~almost ! Mid-Autumn Festival is only a day away, September 15, 2016. Mooncakes are a customary food to eat during this celebration because they symbolize completeness and togetherness.
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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.
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. 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.
Mid-Autumn Festival related posts:
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.
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.
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.
Traditional Lotus Seed Paste Mooncakes
Makes 8 Mooncakes
Dough: 70 grams Golden Syrup 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 6 salted egg yolks (optional)
1 mooncake mold, 1 3/4 inch in diameter
1 egg yolk, beaten
For the Salted Yolks
Preheat the oven to 175 degree C.
Crack whole salted eggs and retain the egg yolks. (save the egg whites to use in a egg drop soup!)
Lightly rinse under cold water to reveal a firm yolk, dry any excess water with paper towel.
Next, bake the salted egg yolks in preheated oven for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
For the Mooncake Dough
Combine golden syrup, kansui and oil in a large bowl until well mixed.
Sift the flour into the bowl, then fold gently into the batter. Do not overmix as this will toughen the tender pastry crust.
Gently knead dough a few times so the dough comes together.
Seal with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
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.
Divide the lotus seed