Friday, 28 September 2012

Chinese Mooncake

I look forward to Mid Autumn Festival every year because that's the time mooncakes go on sale in all Asian supermarkets. By "sale" I don't mean a clearance sale...They are deathly expensive but because of tradition, everyone has to buy them as gifts.

My favourite kind is the ones with salted duck yolks and lotus paste. The duck yolk represents the moon and during the mid autumn festival, the entire family is supposed to get together under a full moon and enjoy a feast.

There's a myth associated with the mooncake festival of course. There are many versions of the it but they all have something to do with Chang'e and her rabbit, and the potion of immortality. The one I was told goes something like this:

Houyi was an archer Chang'e was his wife. One day 10 suns appeared in the sky and Houyi was ordered to shoot 9 of the suns down. Upon completion of the task, he was given a bottle of elixir as a reward. The elixir was too strong to be consumed by one person so Houyi and Chang'e planned to share the dose on the night of the full moon and to become immortal together. However, on the night of, Houyi was assassinated and Chang'e decided to take the full dose of potion and ascend up to the heavens (and landed on the moon). There's also a rabbit involved. apparently it makes elixirs on the moon and kept Chang'e company when she got up there.

...I feel like a total idiot explaining that story cause it doesn't make any sense what so ever. Anyhow, what I got from that story is that we get to eat mooncake ever year at this time and that's good enough for me.

Oh btw, you know I like to do math when it comes to things like this. A box of mooncakes (4) cost between 39-50 dollars to buy. Really damn expensive so I can't exactly feast on it. But now that I can make it, it is extremely dangerous because the COG is only about a dollar.

6 egg yolks:1.95
lotus paste: 3.85
not gonna count skin cause 10 kg is only 8 dollars

85 g golden syrup or corn syrup
25 g  vegetable oil
3/4 tsp baking soda
100 g flour

Prepare the dough one day ahead.

Combine all ingredients. Mix until the syrup is evenly distributed but do not over mix. Let the dough rest in a plastic bag until needed.

6 salted egg yolks
1 lb pkg of lotus paste

Divide the lotus paste into 6 equal portions, around 76 g per portion. The salted egg yolks will range between 15-17g. Together, the 2 will add up to be around 90g.

My moon cake mold holds 125 g. So the skin for each moon cake should weigh around 35g.

Another way to calculate the proportions is to divide the total weight (125g) by 4, which is 31.25. That traditionally should be the weight of the skin.

I bought the uncooked salted duck eggs in a pack of 6. Separate the yolks from the whites and steam for 8 minutes.

Weigh out each piece of lotus paste to 76 g

Weigh the 3 together to make sure it's 125g, if not somewhere close.

Wrap the lotus paste around the egg yolk

Flatten the dough  into a disk and place the lotus paste in the centre. Bring the dough up around the lotus paste and start smoothing the outside of the dough upward, while pushing the lotus paste inward.The dough will stretch itself around the lotus paste.

Place the finished mooncake into the mold and press down firmly.

The one at the top is my first attempt and I didn't apply enough pressure. Makes a huge difference!

Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. I don't suggest using egg wash for this. It will ruin the pattern on the mooncake.

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