Sunday, 16 September 2007

Mooncake Making Episode 3: Traditional MC - putting it together!

this year is my 1st year of homemade mooncakes... traditional mooncake making surely has been v time consuming... the whole process started with the salted eggs a month ago (actually not lengthy enough, and next year i'll have to start 2-3 months b4 so that the yokes would have matured on time)...

mooncake syrup making could be started well in advanced too... according to some websites, it could be made 1 year in advance! for the syrupy taste to develope!
this is my batch of mooncake syrup - the bottle is enough for 4 batches of MC!! (18 large MC each batch)

mooncake syrup recipe (with my own modifications, makes about 800g syrup)
600g raw sugar (gives nice brown colour)
400g water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbsp treacle (gives even darker, nicer brown colour)
heat all and reduce to syrupy consistency
add treacle near the end

after making 3 batches / 47 mooncakes i still have enough syrup for another batch (of 18)!!

mooncake fillings too could be made in advanced and keep in fridge or even freezer... this time around i went abit overboard and made 4 kinds of filling (doubling the measurements of the recipes)...
here i have (clockwise) - lotus seed paste, mungbean paste, yam paste, chestnut paste...

mooncake filling / paste recipe (makes enough for 16-18 mooncakes)
500g dried beans or dried lotus seeds or dried chestnuts soaked overnight
raw sugar - 130g - 400g
peanut oil - 170-350 mL
microwave or boil dried stuff in water until tender so that it could be mashed - in food processor or ricer
mix in raw sugar and peanut oil - amount depends on the ingredient (can be found on cooking websites or just adjust according to one's gut feeling)
fry in wok until water has evaporated and filling / paste thickens (judge consistency according to gut feeling as well)

now it is time to do the portion that cannot be done in advance...
mooncake dough is v hard to make!! slight changes in portions of ingredients could turn a perfect batch into a disaster!

mooncake skin recipe (recipe modified by me, enough to make 18 large mooncakes)
350g plain flour (low gluten)
60 g - 80g peanut oil
1 1/4 tsp lye water or alkaline water (could be found in only some chinese groceries, it's actually illegal as a retail food additive in south australia, lucky i found it in NSW)
230g mooncake syrup
mix all the wet ingredients together
mix in flour
knead dough, should be just slightly sticky
cover with clingwrap and rest for 1-2 hours before using

when the dough is ready, it should be pliable but not sticky to your hands or latex gloves
a note on using latex gloves - they expand!!! after contacting oily stuff... don't be alarm that one's hands appeared to be shrinking in the gloves while slaving away kneading mooncake dough...

... must keep x-s dough under clingwrap at all times, a dried out piece of dough gives flaky mooncake skins... and wet dough sticks to MC mold like no tomorrow! don't do it!

roll it flat...

add a homemade salted egg yoke in the middle of a ball of filling (eg lotus seed paste here)
salted egg update
after a month of waiting, the homemade salted eggs were crack-opened... about 1/2 were nice a matured with hard golden yokes, but the other 1/2 were still abit runny!
the moral of the story is to start salting eggs at least 2 months b4 and don't be light-handed on the salt!

... it is time to roll the filling ball inside the MC dough...
you know your dough is good when this step takes no time at all... but when it starts to break everywhere...

DO NOT do what i have done and roll the MC ball into flour before molding... instead just lightly dust one's hands with flour and then pat the dough b4 molding... otherwise the finished MC will be flaky like shedding dandruff!

molding is another step that will let you know the dough is good or shite!
in order to avoid dough sticking into mold - try and oil the mold 1st with a little peanut oil everywhere... and lightly dust the MC ball with flour...
believe me... stuck MC ball in mold is no fun getting out! (plus the filling would be wasted in the process)

pressing and wacking! 1) press on top 2) wack once or twice on all sides... and then MC should come out...

this came out easy but too much flour!! don't do this! remember shedding dandruff - not a good look!

mooncake baking
180 celcius for 10 mins
rest for 10 mins outside oven
brush on egg wash (egg + water + oil)
bake at 150-160 celcius for 10-15 mins (or until skin a golden brown)

finished!! and have to be rested until room temp...

they have to be rested for 3 days for the oil to ooooooooze out

all labelled...

and wrapped... ready to be off loaded to good familys...

... close up on the flakiness...

mungbean with (squashed) egg yoke

47 mooncakes (some are given away already...)
nutritional facts
each mooncake contains approx 17mL peanut oil (i've used 1800mL for 47 mooncakes)
with yam filling being the most oily!!

and the best bargain kitchen gadgets around - lid-like ikea splatter guard, ikea mixing bowl (can double up as a singing bowl and has a good resonance and v pretty to look at too!)

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