Not your typical mooncakes
Every year my parents receive many gifts of mooncakes in the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most of the time they are the traditional mooncakes filled with lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks. I thought I would try baking a different sort of mooncake to bring to my family's gathering. I call them American-style mooncakes. I made a trail mix inspired one and a coconut one. Mooncakes need to be baked at least a day (and preferably 2 days) before serving. Freshly baked ones do not have the correct texture since the pastry shell is still too crispy. The resting period allows the pastry shell to "return to oil" which just means that the skin will soften a bit.
Mooncake Pastry Dough
130 g all-purpose flour (10.5% protein level)
90 g Lyle's Golden Syrup
30 g canola oil
1/4 tsp alkaline water (aka kan sui which is a solution of sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate)*
* Note: Although a bottle of kan sui is very inexpensive, I didn't want to buy a whole bottle since I needed such a tiny amount. So I dissolved 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 1 tbsp of water and used 1/4 tsp of my solution instead of the 1/4 tsp kan sui.
1. Mix syrup, oil and alkaline water.
2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add wet ingredients. Mix to form a soft dough.
3. Cover and let dough rest at room temp for 30-60 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 10 balls each weighing approximately 25 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)
"Trail Mix" Filling
70 g almond meal (or chopped almonds)
80 g walnut, toasted and finely chopped
20 g sunflower seeds, toasted
50 g dried sour cherries, chopped
60 g kor fun (aka cooked glutinuous rice flour)
50 g water
20 g granulated sugar
20 g canola oil
10 g walnut oil
10 g sesame seeds (I didn't have any so I used tahini.)
1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Divide filling into 10 balls each weighing approximately 35 g. (This is scaled for my miniature mooncake mold.)
Egg Wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water or milk
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Flatten the pastry dough and wrap it around the filling. Try your best to completely enclose the filling with the dough.
3. Put it into your mooncake mold to shape it. (I used a plastic mooncake mold with a plunger.)
4. Place shaped mooncake on sheet pan.
5. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then brush on the egg wash.
7. Lower oven heat to 350F and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
8. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet pan then remove to cooling rack.
9. When completely cool, store in an airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving.
I also made some coconut mooncake "cookies" using wooden cookie mold to shape them. I call them cookies because they are much flatter than mooncakes.
I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour in my dough for the coconut ones so the dough ended up too soft. As a result, my baked cookies did not keep the carved details of the mold, but they were still delicious. They tasted like a coconut macaroon inside a mooncake pastry shell.