The next 'biggest' thing for me is, I have finally attempted to make traditional baked mooncakes!
With the newly acquired knowledge, I set off to get the necessary ingredients. The recipe from the magazine has included instructions on how to make the lotus paste filling and golden syrup from scratch, I thought I should go for ready made ones this year. No matter what, I am a first-timer. I don't want my effort to go into waste if I failed miserably.
I am no stranger when it comes to wrapping the filling with the dough. I learned the trick when I first attempted to make some snowskin mooncakes years ago. You may ask what is so difficult about wrapping dough around the filling? It may appear to be an easy task, but not when you are wrapping a dough that is only 15g while the filling is 35g. By right the dough to filling ratio should be 2:8, so I will actually have to use only 10g dough. But for newbies like me, I opted to up the ratio a little, I worked on 3:7 instead.
I am no professional baker, but since I am lousy with words, I think a video clip will be good to demonstrate how I went about wrapping the mooncake. As it is the school holidays, I got my younger son to help me take the video :) Notice the small piece of dough in comparison to the huge ball of filling? The trick here is to hold the dough between the thumb and index finger of one hand, and the thumb of the other hand should gently press the filling down while turning the dough and at the same time pushing the dough up to cover the filling. Sounds mind boggling right?! Besides the right technique of wrapping, another thing to note is, always dust your hands with flour to prevent the dough from sticking and tearing. Trust me, dust your hand lightly with flour every time you pick up the dough, it will make your mooncake making experience a more enjoyable one ;)
Stamping the mooncake was easy since the mould I have comes with a plunger. The only thing here is, instead of dusting the mould (I am not talking about the traditional wooden mould), I dust the wrapped dough with flour before putting it inside the mould. If you have dusted the mould AND the stamping plates with flour, some flour may get trapped inside the grooves of the patterns, and you may end up with a clump of flour on the imprints.
I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #11: Mid-Autumn Treats (Sept 2011) which I am hosting :)
Traditional Mooncakes (广式咖啡莲蓉月饼)
(makes 12~13 mini mooncakes)
100g plain flour
70g golden syrup (I used Abram Lyle's Golden Syrup with maple flavor)
2ml alkaline water
25ml peanut oil (I replaced with canola oil)
415g tiramisu lotus paste
40g melon seeds
- Mix lotus paste with melon seeds. Divide the filling into 35g portions and shape into balls. Set aside. (Note: I used a dough: filling ratio of 3:7, for 50g mooncake mould)
- Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil, mix well.
- Place plain flour in a mixing bowl,make a well in the centre. Add in the above mixture. Mix with a spatula to form a soft dough. Gently knead the dough till smooth (takes 1~2 mins). Shape it into a smooth round dough. Wrap with cling wrap and leave in fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or over night. This step is known as 醒面.
- Dust work surface with some flour. Give the dough a few light kneading to smooth it.
- Divide dough into 15g pieces. Shape each dough into a ball. Roll each dough over some flour. Dust hand with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc (about 5cm in diameter). Wrap it around the filling and shape it into a ball. (always dust hand with some flour to avoid the dough from sticking).
- Lightly dust the wrapped dough with some flour. Place it in the mooncake mould and press the mooncake out. Place mooncake on a baking tray line with parchment paper.
- Spray some water on the mooncakes. (Note: this helps to prevent the mooncake from cracking during baking.)
- Bake at preheated oven at 180degC for 10mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins (do not skip this step).
- Brush the top with some egg wash. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15mins until golden brown (since all oven works differently, do check after 10mins, and subsequently every other 2 mins to make sure the mooncakes are not over browned).
- Leave mooncake to cool completely and store in air tight containers. Wait for 2 ~ 3 days for the mooncakes to 回油 (for the skin to soften) before serving.