This moon cake recipe can bring the special Chinese delicacy to your table even it's not the time for Chinese Moon Festival.
In case you are new to mooncake, it's one of the most unique Chinese desserts enjoyed only in the Mid-Autumn Festival time. But you don't have to be restrained by the time tradition.
Some Chinese bakeries offer mooncakes year around. Sometimes I just walk in to have a couple of them; small, cute looking and with the fillings I prefer. They lift my mood, adding rays of sunshine into the day.
In the following moon cake recipe, I take extra care about what I put into the cake. You can say I'm more health-conscious about this recipe than the traditional ones. It tastes good, though.
Azuki beans (red beans), 1 pound
- lard or vegetable oil, 1/2 cup (I use veggie oil for the health purpose. Use lard if you want to stick to the tradition.)
Sesame oil, 1 teaspoon- sugar, 1 cup or to taste
Salt duck egg yolks, 10-20 (optional)
For the Syrup: (You don't have to use up all the syrup prepared below.)
Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
White vinegar, 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice, 3 teaspoon
Water, 2 tablespoon, plus another 2/3 cup
Sugar, 1 pound
For the Dough:
Flour, 2 cups
Oil, 4 tablespoons
Water, 10 tablespoons plus another 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Soak azuki beans in water for 3 hours (overnight is best). Drain.
Cover azuki bean with water in the pressure cooker, seal the lid and bring it to a hiss. Turn the heat low for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool. (If you don't have a pressure cooker, boil the beans with 8 cups of water, then simmer over low heat until skins open. It will be about one and a half hour. Leave to cool.
Tip: The azuki bean filling is not just good in this Chinese moon cake recipe, it can used in many other bakery products, such as buns with the bean filling. Very tasty.)
Place the cooked beans in a blender, process, and filter with mesh strainer. Put aside the skins in the mesh strainer. You'll only use the the bean paste.
Let the paste water sit for about 2 hours. Gently pour out the water.
Place the bean paste in a saucepan, add in the veggie oil, sesame oil and sugar to cook, bring to a boil then turn the heat low, stirring continuously until the moisture has evaporated. Leave it to cool.
Form the bean paste into balls. Determine their size according to the mooncake mold you have.
Tip: It's important to have the bean paste dry. Otherwise the cake will not be as ideal.
Put sugar, 2/3 cup of water, lemon juice and vinegar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
In the meanwhile, stir the baking soda and 2 teaspoons of water together thoroughly.
Add the mix to the pan after turning off the heat. Leave to cool.
Mix the baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water
Mix 2/3 cup sugar syrup, baking soda mix and other ingredients for the dough, kneading until smooth. Let it rest for 30 minutes and knead again for a few minutes. (If for some reason the dough is too dry or too wet, add flour or water to make sure the dough is soft and smooth.)
This moon cake recipe sure is long to write, and to read. Well, we are almost there. (Do you know it takes up to 4 weeks to finish making traditional mooncakes? Think about that, I don't have complaints.)
Moon Cake Recipe - Final Steps :
Divide the filling and the dough into 20 equal portions, or consider the size according to your moon cake mold.
(If you use egg yolks) Put the yolks in 360 F for 6 minutes. Take out to cool, then wrap one in the bean filling to form a ball.
Roll out each piece of dough, then wrap the bean filling ball. Mold the edges to enclose the filling and seal it up.
Put the filled packet in the moon cake mold, gently press to fit. Take it out to do the other side. Remove from the mold.
Repeat the process for the rest of the mooncakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange molded mooncakes on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes.