Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: MOONCAKES AND TEA PARTY

mooncake1

Next to  Chinese New Year,  the Mid-Autumn Festival is the most important and most popular traditional Chinese holiday celebrated by most Asians throughout the world.  Held during the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, a date when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest (a  symbol of wholeness and togetherness), families and friends gather together under the moonlight to appreciate the moon, light lanterns and enjoy a feast.   Part of  the Mid-Autumn festival experience is the sharing and eating of mooncakes, a rich and heavy Chinese pastry, usually made up of sweet, dense filling covered with a thin, soft crust. Mooncakes are regarded as a “delicacy”, the traditional food of  Mid-Autumn (thus Mid-Autumn Festival is sometimes referred to as Mooncake Festival) and is customarily given to friends and family as gifts.

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This year,  Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 3 so I submitted a proposal for Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 for a  pre Mid-Autumn celebration: a  mooncake and tea party.  In some parts of Asia, Mid Autumn celebration already started in August, with mooncakes being offered at hotels and high-end bakeries.  Since there is no Chinatown in San Diego (Los Angeles and San Francisco both have Chinatown districts) and the only decent place I can get mooncakes is the oriental store, I decided to serve homemade mooncakes instead.

Mooncakes and Tea Party Menu
(recipes will be posted in the next few days)

Mooncakes
Lotus Paste and Salted Egg Yolks, Red Bean Paste,  Mixed Nuts
Ube Mooncake
Mocha Mooncake with Espresso Lotus Paste
Thousand Layers Mooncake
Snowskin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste Filling
(green tea snowskin, peach snowskin and rose-scented snowskin)

Assorted Tea (green tea, lotus tea, jasmine)

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Mooncakes consist of two basic parts:  the filing and the skin.  Although there are many varieties of mooncakes available nowadays, traditional ones still contain either one (or a combination of ) the following  popular fillings:  lotus seed paste, red bean paste and mixed nuts. As for the skin or crust, they vary depending on the region they are produced.  The Cantonese style mooncake is the most common with a soft, thin crust (sometimes considered ‘chewy’).  The Teochew-style mooncake has a flaky crust similar to a puff pastry. And then there is the “no-bake” mooncake called ‘snowskin’ which is made with fried glutinous rice flour. (For more info, check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooncake). My favorite mooncakes are the ones that have salted egg yolks in the center. They can have up to four pieces, symbolizing the phases of the moon.

filling flakymooncake

mooncake10 snowskin1

Making homemade mooncakes is a labor intensive process.  A special mooncake mould, usually made of wood (there are some mooncake moulds made of plastic or silicone)  often engraved with Chinese characters is also needed.

molds

HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL MOON CAKE (adapted from Aunty Yochana’s mooncake recipe and Amanda’s lotus paste recipe)

Lotus Paste Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of dried lotus seeds (each package 170 g)
  • 2 cups water (or more if needed)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 – 150  ml peanut oil
  • 2 tbs honey or maltose syrup
  • 1 tsp lye water
  • 1 tbs condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place water and lotus seeds in a pan and boil on medium heat until all water is absorbed and seeds are soft.
  2. Place cooked seeds in food processor or blender and process until very fine. Set aside.
  3. Heat the wok and melt  4 tbs sugar with a little bit of oil until it turns into caramel color. Add pureed lotus seeds, the rest of the sugar, oil and salt. Stir well.  Add in honey/maltose, lye water, condensed milk and mix well. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until dry and paste comes off the sides of the pan. Cool.

mooncake4 mooncake5

mooncake6 mooncake7

Mooncake Skin or Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 350 gm. Hong Kong flour, bleached all purpose flour or cake flour
  • 90 gm. peanut oil
  • 200 gm. Moon cake syrup or golden syrup
  • 1 1/4 tsp lye water

Directions:

  1. Mix the above ingredients together and rest for at least 1 hour before moulding it with lotus paste.

mooncake13

To assemble Mooncake:

Ingredients:

  • 6  pcs salted egg yolks
  • lotus paste filling, divided into 100 gm balls
  • mooncake skin dough, divided into 50 gm balls
  • egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water)

Directions:

  1. Take  lotus paste ball and wrap over salted egg yolk.
  2. Wrap moon cake skin or pastry over the lotus paste filling and press into mooncake mould.
  3. Knock out from the mould and bake the mooncakes for 10 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and  cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Brush with egg glaze , then return to over and bake for 15 minutes or  until golden brown.
  4. Cool at room temperature.

Notes:  The mooncakes are best when left at room temperature for 2 days.  This will give the skin time to “mature”.  Do not refrigerate or it will get hard.  However, they do freeze very well.  Thaw at room temperature before serving.

mooncake15

Resources:

Mooncake Molds:

http://www.wokshop.com/products_main.html
http://esjoie.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/mooncake-moulds-order-open-3/

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» pegasuslegend said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 12:09 }

Wow….just WOW!

» DINING WITH BATALI said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 02:09 }

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!! You must be kidding me – -are you trying to get those chinatown people out of job??? Love love love it!!!! The best!

» Miranda said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 02:09 }

This is fab. I really want to do a Foodbuzz 24,24,24 but I am not sure what to do…i love this

» Miranda said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 02:09 }

This looks fab! I have been wanting to make a Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 but I have trouble with a creative idea. This looks awesome!

» jenn said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 03:09 }

Hopia!! I haven’t had that in a long LONG time. I usually like the bean paste in mine. Great idea and awesome 24 post!

» Jada said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 03:09 }

Beautiful! I LOVE the colored ones, especially–they’ve got a big WOW factor!

» redkathy said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 03:09 }

I’ve never seen anything like them! Fabulous post.

» Joan Nova said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 04:09 }

I’ve never been to a formal Chinese tea, but if this is an insight into what is served, I would love to try it one day. The mooncakes are beautiful and I look forward to seeing the recipes.

» Tita Beng said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 06:09 }

Wow, perfect! How about donating your mooncakes to flood victims here?!

» Nate said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 07:09 }

Hello, fellow 24′er! Congratulations on being selected for a Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event.

Your mooncakes look lovely. The instructions and pictures were very clear. Couple of questions:

1) where / how did you get the salted egg yolks?
2) Do you have a recipe for the Teowchew-style mooncake?

» Carlos said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 08:09 }

Wow, this looks so good!

» virtual chef said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 08:09 }

pegasuslegend: thanks!

MB: if they had a chinatown here, i wouldn’t have resorted to making my own!! LOL!

miranda: just keep sending your ideas for foodbuzz 24, 24, 24. i’ve had several rejected but once in a great while, they like what i propose..:)

jenn: my first attempt last year turned out to be hopia!! after several tries, it started to look like a real mooncake..:)

Jada: i love the snowskin ones, too. no bake, no fuss…just pure sweet goodness…yummm

redkathy: thank you!

Joan: thanks..i’m posting the recipes separately so the foodbuzz post doesn’t get too long. :) watch out in the next couple of days..

tita be: i’ll bring some when we get there in….i don’t know when…!

Nate: hey fellow 24′er! i got the salted egg yolks from the oriental store. i bought the salted duck eggs and remove the white. i used to make my own salted eggs using chicken eggs but it takes at least 30 days…as for the teowchew..yes i have the recipe and will post in the next couple of days.. thanks for stopping by!

carlos: ummm..this is gone…yours is the low sugar version. i even made one called “food for the gods mooncake” which my guests loved!! i am experimenting with the tiramisu version but i couldn’t get the right mix…yet..!

» 8michael888 said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 11:09 }

I love how the cakes turned out Raquel! Great timing for the moon festival too. I’m sure they are as delicious as they look! Yummmmmm!

» Sidney said: { Sep 27, 2009 - 11:09 }

Wow…mooncake festival jus around this weekend…great post on the recipe and method to make mooncake…

» laval said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 12:09 }

well appreciate the recipe of mooncake and would like to know more about the flaky mooncake.

thanking you.

» anncoo said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 12:09 }

How nice, can made own mooncakes :) Good Job!!

» Miriam/The Winter Guest said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 01:09 }

Beautiful cakes! Never heard of them here in Spain, I love the molds…

» penny aka jeroxie said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 05:09 }

This is absolutely amazing! I will be attempting to make my own mooncakes but your are so beautiful! WOW! I am stealing your recipes!

» Jessie said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 06:09 }

great 24 post! I have learned so much about mooncakes, I’ve been seeing them post up often on a lot of food blogs and was curious to know what the filling consisted of. Thank you for informing us!

» Natasha - 5 Star Foodie said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 07:09 }

Such beautiful mooncakes, wow! I’ve never had a mooncake yet, they look so delicious, I would love to try soon! Great 24 post!

» Annie's Pantry said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 08:09 }

These look like so much fun…. I wonder if I can work them in, so that we can make them as a homeschool assignment?…. hehehehe.

» Susan said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 09:09 }

Wow–very nice post–great idea, and thank you for such detailed instructions and beautiful photos. I think it is important to make others aware of culture and tradition…

» Belinda@zomppa said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 10:09 }

LOVE THIS! How neat to make your own….

» Experimental Culinary Pursuits said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 10:09 }

mMmm…reminds me of home when my parents would make batches and batches of this and we’d eat it with Tea and Pommelo! \

» Diana said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 11:09 }

Your moon cake pics are amazing! Congrats on also getting selected for 24!

» Krissy @ The Food Addicts said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 12:09 }

Great job on this post! Very informative about moon cakes. Congrats on the 24!

» The Duo Dishes said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 01:09 }

This is a perfect idea for the 24 post. It’s really well done, and of course the pics are enticing!

» Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 01:09 }

This is really beautiful! Such an elegant and delightful tea party! Very impressive work!

» Ellen McGlynn said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 02:09 }

Fascinating. I would really love to try these sometime. Now that I know they exist, I’ll definitely be looking for them.

» Bianca said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 03:09 }

I was always interested in how to make mooncakes. Thank you for posting!

» Steve Mirsky said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 05:09 }

Do you have any recommendations on where I can buy these cookies online? When it comes to baking, I’m extremely lazy but am an ardent connoisseur :) Thanks!

» sipitysup said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 05:09 }

love this! What a great 24! GREG

» virtual chef said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 05:09 }

rodney: thanks! i have yours sitting in the freezer…:)

sidney: thank you!

laval: i just posted the recipe for the flaky mooncake. check it out…:)

anncoo: thanks! i wish i could make spiral mooncake like yours…i will post my green tea version..love your site! :)

Miriam: thanks!

penny: thanks! let me know how it works out..:)

jessie: you can use just about any filling but i find the lotus paste lends very well as a base for different flavors.

natasha: thanks! i love your 24 post!! thanks for stopping by.

» s. stockwell said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 07:09 }

What a beautiful post! It is fascinating to know what is in these pretty little cakes? and we wish we were up to the challenge of making some…but maybe not? maybe just go to favorite restaurant? not sure the would be on the menu. best, s

» Choosy Beggar Tina said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 07:09 }

Holy jumping those are gorgeous!!! I can’t wait to hit up China town in the near future and go searching for a moon cake mould…..and subsequently make moon cake shaped EVERYTHING for a few weeks. Moon cake moulded meat loaf? Sure! They’re just so darn pretty!!!!

» Jen (Tiny Urban Kitchen) said: { Sep 28, 2009 - 10:09 }

Wow! What an incredible post! I am so impressed that you were able to make so many different kinds of mooncakes. I really love teowchew style cakes – thanks so much for posting the recipe. Have you ever made teowchew style cakes with mochi inside? That is my favorite. Would love to see a post someday if you try it. :)

Congrats on 24. 24, 24!

» pegasuslegend said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 01:09 }

these are beautiful, congrats on top 9

» Shwetha said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 03:09 }

These are absolutely stunning!
Just found your blog and I love it.
I’m a newbie food blogger and can’t wait to try some of your recipes!:)

» Diane said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 06:09 }

Very interesting, I have never heard of moon cakes, are they purely a Chinese tradition. Well done for coming up with something original.

» Farina @ SaltNTurmeric said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 07:09 }

I don’t know what else to say but Wow! Can’t believe you made them all by yourself. I love mooncake esp the ones with egg yolks but I of course just buy them. lol.

Oh, Congrats on being chosen to do Sept 24,24,24,! You and your mooncakes deserve it. :)

» Heather @ chiknpastry said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 07:09 }

So neat – I’ve never heard of these little delicacies – but they sure look tasty, and can definitely tell that they’re also a ton of work!!

Nice blog – that’s one of my favorites about these 24 events – you get to read other blogs thaty ou may not have found otherwise!

» sizzlechef said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 09:09 }

Happy Mooncake Festival.
Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

» Jon Aguilar said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 11:09 }

Simply the best! Rock on Sis!

» chubbychinesegirl said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 12:09 }

wow! thats so awesome you make your own!!! looks amazing!!!!

» Holly said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 06:09 }

I have a bunch of the mooncake molds that I picked up in Chinatown but I have never used them for mooncakes (I used them for butter). You have inspired me to make some.

» virtual chef said: { Sep 29, 2009 - 08:09 }

annie: wouldn’t that be great?! LOL

susan: thank you.

belinda: lot of hard work but worth it!

experimental: wow, i’m jealous! yes, i remember officemates in hong kong telling me to serve this with pomelo..

diana: thanks! and congrats on your foodbuzz 24!! awesome!

krissy: thank you!

duodishes: thank you! i had fun making them…!!

Jenn: thanks, your majesty! ;)

ellen: let me know when you do. would love to hear what you think of them.

bianca: once you make them, you wouldn’t be able to stop…or maybe that’s just me…LOL

Steve: don’t know where you can purchase them online but i would try amazon.com since they sell just about anything! :)

greg: thank you!

sstockwell: probably not on the menu all the time since they usually come out only during mid-autumn. unless you are near a chinatown..! :)

tina: you crack me up!!! dang, i would go for that mooncake-shaped meatloaf….LOL!!!

jen: wow, i’ve never had teochew with mochi…will definitely try that…hmmmm..maybe this week!!! yes!!!

pegasus: thank you!

shwetha: welcome! look forward to your posts!!

diana: as far as i know, they are a chinese tradition and celebrated all throughout asia and elsewhere.

farina: thank you! i love those salted egg yolks, too! i couldn’t find them last year so i got obssessed in learning how to make them. now i can’t stop!!!!

» Alta said: { Sep 30, 2009 - 06:09 }

Wow, these rock! I would totally love to make something like this. Or even just eat one – I never have! Yours are gorgeous!

» Manang said: { Sep 30, 2009 - 08:09 }

You never fail to amaze me!
You really should have a real-world (not virtual) Cafe! I am sure you will have lots of customers!

» pierre said: { Oct 2, 2009 - 12:10 }

THis is pierre from Paris France !!
I have been offered this moon cakes by a chinese and I had been delighted !!
Today this is French “Haute couture ” in my cuisine ! so come and see me see you !!! Pierre

» i bake for you :) said: { Oct 3, 2009 - 11:10 }

Wow! I was going to make all sorts of moon cakes aswell. But I only ended up making snow skin mooncakes. I bet they all tasted awesome!

» Rosemaryandthegoat said: { Oct 7, 2009 - 04:10 }

Where can I buy a moon cake to try one. They are beautiful.

» 'Tie Carol said: { Oct 10, 2009 - 11:10 }

Are you sure you just want “virtual” cafe? You might want to consider making this real and you’ll probably succeed in that, too! Please donate to a good ’cause -send some to Anonuevo Shelter in Tacoma (diabetic version).

» MASATERA said: { Oct 22, 2009 - 08:10 }

wow!! This is fantastic !!!!

» khanh nguyen said: { Nov 19, 2009 - 10:11 }

where do you get the moon cake mold from? the non-traditional moldern looking white ones? trying to find some for my aunt who loves to bake. thanks

» virtual chef said: { Nov 22, 2009 - 01:11 }

I bought the plastic molds in hong kong but you can order them from:

http://esjoie.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/mooncake-moulds-order-open-3/

» Tina Ong said: { Mar 30, 2011 - 06:03 }

Your website is so informative. Our baking community certainly can learn a lot of knowledge from you blog. I am going to try our your recipe with my new purchased mooncake mould soon .

mooncake mould

{ Sep 17, 2010 - 06:09:18 } Homemade Mooncakes « The Wandering Eater

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