Mooncakes The Tradition
Mooncakes have long been given and eaten around Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is for the love of the moon, watching it and appreciating it. Mooncakes are considered essential at this time of year, and the festival isn’t the same without them. The Mid-Autumn festival is one of the four most important occasions in the Chinese calendar.
Mooncakes are a tradition dating back hundreds of years, the origin is said to be 1046 BC. More recently they have had an update. Traditional flavours of lotus or red bean paste have been replaced by Oreo’s, Tiramisu and even ice cream.
My Take on Mooncakes
With this in mind I wanted to make the traditional mooncake with a not so traditional filling. I opted for fillings that wouldn’t be too dry with the flaky pastry, kaya (a local pandan & coconut jam) and pineapple jam. I cheated and bought the kaya, (it was locally made though) but made the pineapple jam myself.
So here is the recipes for both the pineapple jam and the mooncakes.
1 whole pineapple prepared and dice or 2 tins of pineapple drained
150 gm sugar
prep > 10 mins Cook > 75 mins
- Place the prepared pineapple into a blender and blitz for 10 seconds.
- Transfer to the pan and add the sugar. Cook on a medium heat with the lid on for around 50 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
- Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown in colour.
- Add to a sterilised jar (this can be done in a dishwasher or by washing and placing in the oven wet to dry at 120 c) and allow to cool.
300 ml golden syrup
10 ml alkaline water (make this with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to 200 ml water and just use 10 ml)
130 ml coconut/peanut or flavorless oil
560 g plain flour
1 egg yolk to 1 tbsp water
Prep> 50 mins Rest> 30 Mins Bake> 20 mins Preheat to 190 c or 170c Fan oven
Makes 10 large or 30 small mooncakes
- Mix the golden syrup, alkaline water and oil in a jug.
- Sift the flour and make a well in the middle. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 30 mins.
- If you are using a wooden mould (like above) you need to flour it completely so the mooncakes don’t stick. I found brushing a trace amount of coconut oil around the mould and dusting with flour, knocking out the excess worked a treat! You need to just flour a plastic mould. You can opt for leaving them as balls too, this is also classed as a mooncake but not as decorative.
- After the 30 mins knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Roll out into a long sausage shape, to about a 5cm diameter.
- With a sharp knife cut it in the middle halving the sausage. Repeat this making the 2 halves into quarters and so on until you have 30 discs for small mooncakes or 10 if you are making large.
- Take a disc and warm slightly in your hand, pressing it into a thinner, larger disc. In the centre add a tsp (2 tsp if making large) of filling (jam, peanut butter, Nutella, cookie dough?) and pinch and press the sides together. Forming into a ball.
- Take the mooncake ball and press into the wooden mould firmly. Repeat filling the other two holes. When ready to remove tap the mould on the counter on the two ends and the two sides. This should loosen them. If not keep tapping, they will come out.
- Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- When all are made place in the oven for 8 mins (10-12 for large ones).
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 mins.
- Brush the tops with the egg wash mix and place back in the oven for 8 more minutes(10-12 for large ones), until golden brown.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in airtight containers for 2 days before serving. This will help soften the pastry and bring out the shine.
There’s nothing like a homemade treat. Sure it’s easier to buy them and they do take a bit of effort, but it was also fun. We made these to give to friends, I hope they like them!