Traditional Cantonese Mooncakes!

Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner! I'm sure some of us have already started stuffing our faces nibbling on ten million different types of mooncakes that exist on the market nowadays.

 Picture credit: https://www.behance.net/gallery/19361045/Mooncakes

Picture credit: https://www.behance.net/gallery/19361045/Mooncakes

I myself am a sucker for the traditional cantonese mooncakes. That sweet-smelling, melts-in-your-mouth lotus seed paste and the best part - SALTED EGG YOLK...

However,  all good things come with a price. Let's not kid ourselves - these mooncakes are very high in sugar and fat. Store-bought mooncakes usually incorporate lard or peanut oil to produce such fragrant lotus seed paste and the soft fluffy pastry , not to mention the addition of preservatives and additives. Although robust research has established that cholesterol in food (such as egg yolk) has much less effect on total blood cholesterol and the harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol than fats from our diet, salted duck egg yolk is still high in sodium, lead as well as calories, thus should be consumed sparingly. 

Here I am sharing my recipe for a homemade Traditional Cantonese Mooncake recipe, a healthier option as compared to store-bought ones, without compromising the taste and texture.

HOW?

  • It has lower sugar content (halved the normal amount).
  • Incorporates olive oil (high in monounsaturated fats) rather than the typical peanut oil or lard.
  • This recipe gives the smallest sized mooncake - 50g. Remember, portions matter!
  • Homemade goods are free from any preservatives or additives - wholesome is awesome:)!
     

Procedures

1. Soak lotus seeds in water for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. There are different types of lotus seeds in the market. I chose the type known as 湘蓮.

2. Drain away the water and remove any germ found inside the seeds as it gives off a bitter taste, 

3. Fully submerge the seeds in a pot full of water and bring to boil. Make sure the seeds are covered in water at all times. Reduce heat and simmer until tender.

4. Drain and place lotus seeds into a food processor or blender and let it grind till a smooth paste is formed. Pass through a sieve for a finer texture. Such texture should somewhat resemble the consistency of hummus - yum!

5. In a non-stick pan, combine the raw cane sugar with the lotus seed paste. In medium heat, add in the olive oil bit by bit. Note that the paste must combine well with the oil, and that the whole mixture has to be fried until it's thick and dry.

You've just made your own lotus seed paste! Now let's tackle the pastry bit!

6. Mix the olive oil, syrup and alkaline water together. The mixture doesn't actually combine well, but do your best to emulsify it. Sieve in the plain flour and mix. Gather everything to form a dough and knead it gently. Do not over-knead. Wrap the dough up in cling film and leave for 45 minutes. 

7. Mix the egg yolks with the rose-flavoured cooking wine. Dry them with kitchen paper and cut each yolk in fours, Set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C

8. Scoop a tablespoonful of dough and roll it out between two pieces of cling film until it is 3 - 3½ inch in diameter. On the other hand, roll the lotus paste into balls of 35g. Poke a hole with your finger and place egg yolk inside. Roll it back into a ball again. Place the filling into the centre of the dough wrap and fold the dough up around the ball until sealed. 

9. Place the mooncake ball into mooncake mould. Flip it down and press the plunger until you feel resistance, exerting energy from directly above the plunger so the mooncake will not turn out to be slanted (been there done that). Lift the plunger and mould off the surface and press it again to release the mooncake. 

10. Once you're done with forming the mooncakes, place them into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Use the time to whisk up the egg white and yolk for the egg wash. 5 minutes before taking the mooncakes out of the oven, brush the top with egg wash for a golden color. Let the finished product cool completely. Store the mooncakes in an air-tight container for a day or two for the pastry to become soft and shiny. This process is known as "回油"

Voilà! You've successfully made your very own homemade mooncake! Pat yourself on the back! Have some Chinese tea with your mooncakes, whether homemade or pre-bought. This can aid digestion and diminish the sense of oiliness post consumption.  Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone!