Mooncake has never been on my 'my favourite' list because I really find it too sweet though I always like Mooncake Festival. I always think Mid-Autumn Festival中秋节is one of the most romantic Chinese Festival. So, when I came across the Aspiring Bakers #11 Mid-Autumn Treats, I decided to surf for some alternative recipes that do not need all the special equipment e.g. the mooncake mold or special ingredient.
Interestingly, I came across 简单快乐's小花月饼 and 薄灰's pumpkin paste traditional mooncake. I thought to myself: brilliant, now I can combine both recipes and make mooncakes without mooncake mold and make the filling from an ingredient I really like!
Pumpkin 500 g (will yield approx 320g filling)
Vegetable oil (suitable amount)
Wheat starch 25g (I replaced with potato starch)
Condensed milk (optional)
1. Cut the pumpkin into cubes. Steam pumpkin for approx 10 mins until it turns soft.
2. Smash and stir fry the pumpkin to get rid of water, add sugar (can be adjusted according to personal preference)
3. Add oil and stir fry until fully absorded. Add condensed milk (optional)
4. Add starch and continue to stir fry until thickened to paste form.
'Flower Mooncake' (as stated in the original recipe)
Cake flour 250g
Baking powder 3g
for decoration - 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp water & some white sesame seeds
1. Mix all ingredients evenly to make the dough, wrap with cling film and store in fridge for 30 mins.
2. While waiting for dough to rest, divide filling and form into small balls.
3. Take out the dough and divide into approx 20 even portions. Keep the dough covered in film to avoid losing moisture.
4. Dough is sticky. Rub palms with oil before handling. Take a small dough, flatten, put the filling paste in the middle.
5. Starting from the bottom, slowly wrap the dough over the filling.
6. Close off the dough and place the closure facing down. Use a small spoon or your thumb to press a small indent in the middle.
7. Use a spatula to crave out 6 slits on the dough to form flower shape.
8. Brush the surface with egg yolk water, sprinkle with sesame seeds and put in oven, preheated at 180 degree C, for approx 15 mins.
Yes, I had been pre-warned that the dough will be sticky BUT it was sooo sticky that I could not handle the flower shaping at all! Starting from step 4, everything turned chaotic for me. I only managed to flatten the dough, put in the filling, close off as fast as I can, put on the baking tray (more like speed throwing it on the tray) and no more touching the dough after that. Any extra touching would end up with the dough sticking to my fingers or palm or any part of my skin that came into contact with it.
I tried 2 batches, since the pumpkin paste was more than enough to go around. With the 1st batch (picture above & below), I didn't even manage to shape the dough smoothly nor wrap the skin evenly. I thought I might have done something wrong with the dough. So I tried out a 2nd batch, yielding the same result with the stickiness of the dough. But having learnt from 1st batch, the 2nd batch (1st picture of this post) turned out slightly nicer looking because I kept sending the dough back to the fridge since the dough was easier to handle immediately out of the fridge.
I must say, my version was a far cry from the 简单快乐‘s version. But the 'mooncakes' turned out to be quite tasty, to my surprise. The skin was supple and slightly chewy, almost having the same texture as those piggy biscuits sold in colourful plastic nettings during my childhood days (maybe some of you share the same Mooncake Festival memory as me?). The pumpkin filling was definitely to my taste since pumpkin is one of my favourite food.
Well, will I try making mooncake again? Maybe... but not this soon. We shall see next year.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and joyous Mooncake Festival. My not so secret wish: that my little baby (EDD 10 Sept) will be born before or on the day of the Mooncake Festival... that will be the best Mid-Autumn gift to us.
Btw, I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #11 Mid-Autumn Treats (September 2011) hosted by Happy Home Baking. I hope it qualifies :).