Pros of living in China – holidays for the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节), which is on September 15 this year.
I love the Mid-Autumn Festival, and not just because of the extra days off. My all-time favourite Chinese legends include the story behind the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as the one behind the Dragon Boat Festival. I’m not going to explain the whole story, but basically there’s a lady with her bunny who are immortal and live on the moon. The bunny doesn’t really have much significance, but when the lady started flying up to the moon, she just decided to grab her bunny and bring her along…so that’s that (there are multiple versions of the story but that one’s my favourite).
Another reason why I love the Mid-Autumn Festival – mooncakes! I love mooncakes – both traditional and snowskin ones. They’re just so unique and they taste amazing. When I was little, we made mooncakes at school, but all the doughs were made and you just had to mould the shapes. Ah, good times.
I haven’t yet made traditional mooncakes from scratch, because apparently you need alkaline water and I’m not sure where to get that? If anyone knows – please let me know!
But anyways, I decided to make snowskin mooncakes instead! Snowskin mooncakes look very similar to mooncakes, except their outside layer is very different. Also, traditional mooncakes often have a salted egg yolk in the centre, while snowskin mooncakes don’t. Both are delicious 🙂
I’ve also provided you with a few step-by-step photo guides for how to make the mooncakes. There’s more than one set, but here’s one to start off with:
Yup. It’s really not too difficult.
In terms of fillings – there are endless flavours that you can use. In traditional mooncakes, lotus seed is the best, but with these, black sesame and red bean are both amazing as well!
I got my red bean filling pre-made. In the photo above, that dark package with the red lettering on it is the red bean filling that I got. It’s already sweetened, so I didn’t have to do anything to it. To make the the black sesame filling…well, let’s just say I got creative.
On the left, we have a Chinese sweet treat. They’re these crumbly black sesame squares and I practically had boxes of them. They’re mostly just made from black sesame powder and sugar, so I just added a tiny bit of water at a time until it resembled the dough/paste on the right. Of course, if you have black sesame paste, it would probably be best just to use that, but nevertheless – this works!
Lastly, go crazy with colours! The wonderful thing about snowskin mooncakes is that they come in all sorts of colours. You can even use different coloured doughs to achieve a marble-y effect if you’d like. I stuck with some pretty simple colours. You can choose to use food colouring or natural colourings (beetroot powder, spirulina powder, chlorella powder, açai powder etc.).
- 100g cooked glutinous rice flour (Gao Fen)
- 120g powdered sugar
- 25g vegetable shortening
- 80ml cold water
- Fillings of choice (e.g. lotus seed, black sesame, red bean)
- Food colouring (or natural food powders such as beetroot, spirulina, chlorella, açai)
- In a mixing bowl, sift together the rice flour and powdered sugar
- Rub the shortening into the mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
- If using food colouring/coloured powders, combine a little with the cold water. If you want different coloured mooncakes, then separate your dough into however many colours you want and, to each dough, add a tablespoon of water at a time and knead until a soft dough forms (you may need more or less)
- Weigh out about 25g of dough and about 50g of your filling (there should be a 1:2 ratio for the dough and filling)
- (Next steps involve making the actual mooncake, and it’s easier to use pictures than to explain in words. In the following images, the pink/red ball is the dough and the black ball is the black sesame filling)
Another set of photos (green is dough and black is filling)
Chill the mooncakes 6 hours before serving and store in fridge. Enjoy!