The mid-autumn festival in KL isn’t a grand celebration like in China but we do love our mooncakes (and lanterns!) and exchange them as gifts during this festival.
I love red bean paste mooncakes more than anyone in my family while they prefer lotus paste mooncakes with salted egg yolks — so it works out fine for all of us! However, no one in the family were keen in buying mooncakes this year so I took the effort to google recipes in order to bake my own batch of traditional mooncakes.
My first batch was from Christine’s recipe but they turned out hard, cracked and burnt. I may have baked them for too long in the oven.
I didn’t give up hope so I made further research & decided to test on this recipe. The verdict?
Yummy browned mooncakes!
I did not alter the recipe so you can refer to hers for instructions. I made lotus paste & red bean paste (both pre-packaged) mooncakes with melon seeds.
I do have a few tips which I gathered from other blogs that helped me in baking mooncakes:
1. Preferably, let the dough rest, wrapped in cling wrap, in room temperature, for at least a day before making them.
I have tested using it after 3 hours but the skin was tough. I had to wait 3 days after baking for the skin to soften. I made another batch after 1 day, and the skin was softer and tastier but had to wait for the next 2 days after baking for the right texture to set in. I also made a third batch on the third day of ‘resting’ and the skin softened a day after baking.
2. Spray water onto mooncakes before placing them into the oven to prevent cracks.
This extra step worked well for me. If you noticed in the picture, I do have rough-textured mooncakes that look like cracks but it’s actually my method of covering the paste with the dough. That brings to my third tip.
3. Once the paste is covered with dough, smoothen out any breaks that formed on the skin.
I’m not patient when it comes to smoothening the dough, but if you want nice looking skin, go for this step! I also recommend placing the smoothly formed texture onto the mould’s imprint and the folding (where the outer edges of the dough meet) as the base of the mooncake. I’ve tried vice versa & found too many imperfections on the imprints.
4. Watch carefully over your mooncakes as they bake in the oven.
Depending on your oven, the skin might bake faster than the suggested time. My first baking period was 10 minutes, and after which I let them cool down for another 10 minutes before brushing with egg wash. I baked them for another 8 minutes to obtain the glossy texture. Both baking periods were done in 200 degrees C. Just watch them very closely and you won’t get burnt mooncakes.
There are many precautions to take but mooncakes are really not difficult to make.
If you’re planning to make a batch, have fun!