Mooncake recipes for every skill level

Mooncake recipes for every skill level

Whether you're a gastro genius or a kitchen klutz, we've got a Shanghai mooncake recipe for you this Mid-Autumn Festival
shanghai mooncake
Don't think you could make one of these babies? Think again. Here are three recipes for just about any skill level.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is almost upon us, and if you don't feel like shelling out for a box of designer mooncakes (mooncake prices increased 20 percent this year) or just don't like traditional mooncakes, here's another option for you: make your own.

Here are three recipes that you can undertake based on your skills (or lack thereof) in the kitchen.

 jellyAnyone can master a jelly mold, even for moon cakes. Here: agar-agar jelly mooncakes in various flavors.

Mooncake recipe level one: No skills needed

Agar-agar jelly mooncakes
For:
the person who doesn't want to get near the stove. You can make these agar-agar jelly mooncakes in a microwave.

Ingredients for jelly core (aka your mooncake “filling”)

  • Agar-agar powder
  • Drinking water
  • Coconut cream
  • Condensed milk, to taste
  • Flavorings and colors to taste

Ingredients for outer jelly shell (aka your mooncake “crust”)

  • Agar-agar powder
  • Drinking water
  • Simple syrup (a sugar syrup), honey or another liquid sweetener
  • Flavorings and colors to taste

Equipment

  • Two mooncake molds -- one large, one small. If you can't find them at a local supermarket, circular drinking glasses of various sizes can be used to shape your mooncake. We used a set of scalloped sauce-dipping dishes to make the jelly core, and plastic pudding cups for the outer jelly shell.
  • Measuring cup
  • Several bowls

Method:

  1. Heat agar-agar powder and water in the microwave until it bubbles. The amount you use will be determined by your molds, but use a ratio of one teaspoon of agar-agar per cup of liquid.
  2. Add add cup of coconut cream and condensed milk (to taste). Add any additional flavorings and food colors, but keep in mind that fresh kiwi, fig, papayas, mango, pineapple and peaches affect the agar-agar's gelling ability.
  3. Mix thoroughly and pour into your smaller molds.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove your resulting “cores” and set aside.
  6. For the jelly shell, repeat steps one and two, but double the amount of agar-agar mixture you create. Don't be afraid to experiment with taste by adding flavors and food colors (we did peanut butter, lychee and orange -- just not all in one).
  7. Place your jelly “core” on the larger mold's flat surface and then poor in your jelly shell mixture.
  8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  9. Pop out your jelly mooncakes and you're done.

 duck egg yolkYou can pair red bean with anything, even duck egg yolk. Here: mooncake recipe filling.

Mooncake recipe level two: some skill required

Snowskin mooncake with red bean paste and salty egg yolk
For:
those who don't like the baked crust of traditional mooncake

Ingredients (skin)

  • 180g of fried glutinous rice (kao fen, 烤粉)
  • 15g of wheat starch or tapioca starch
  • 60g of shortening
  • 70g of powdered/confectioner's sugar
  • 400g of drinking water
  • Optional: food coloring and extracts

Note about mooncake recipe ingredients: Shanghai supermarkets normally do not carry wheat starch, glutinous rice flour and sometimes not even shortening. You can make your own fried glutinous rice flour by steaming raw glutinous rice (about 40 minutes for 180 grams) and then dry frying it in a pan until it becomes lightly browned.

Or, you can purchase a snowskin mooncake skin powder mix (冰皮月饼粉) from Taobao -- there are stores that specialize in DIY baking, and you can purchase this mix, molds and the fillings very cheaply. See details at the bottom this recipe.

Last note: If using mooncake skin powder mix for this recipe, omit the powdered sugar and starch.

Ingredients (filling)

  • Red bean
  • Duck egg yolks

Equipment

  • Mooncake molds
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sifter

Method

  1. Sift fried glutinous rice flour and wheat starch/tapioca starch together. Sprinkle your molds with a bit of this mixture.
  2. Add powdered sugar and shortening to the mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in your drinking water. Mix thoroughly. Dough should be soft and pliable.
  4. Depending on the size of your molds, separate the dough into equal pieces (with medium-sized round molds, this dough should yield eight to 10 pieces).
  5. Divide your red bean filling into the same number of pieces. With your clean hands, roll the paste in your hands until it forms a ball. Flatten the ball and then place a salted egg yolk in middle. Wrap your red bean paste around the egg yolk. This is your filling.
  6. Roll the snowskin mooncake dough in your hands and wrap it around your filling.
  7. Press into your mooncake mold. Remove and refrigerate for an hour to chill. Serve.

Mooncake store details
Sister Chestnut's Store, +86 158 0086 5504

I Love DIY in the Kitchen Store, +86 137 6131 0992

If you don't have a Taobao account set up, simply call and tell them that you will pay upon delivery. Or pick up the ingredients at their warehouse.

 ChocolateNothing makes a mooncake look good like chocolate. Here: a dark chocolate shell with yogurt and diced mango filling, graham cracker crust.

Mooncake recipe level three: Chocolate skills needed

Chilled chocolate and yogurt mooncake
For: ice cream mooncake lovers without the mess

Ingredients (shell)

  • 2 packed cups of chocolate, cut into chunks (about three to four large bars)

Ingredients (yogurt and fruit filling)

  • 1 cup yogurt (any kind)
  • Diced, chopped fruit

Ingredients (crust)

  • Cookies, crumbled and set aside
  • Butter, enough to grease the molds, make cookie crust and 2 teaspoons butter for chocolate shell

Equipment

  • Saucepan or double boiler
  • Mooncake molds or round molds
  • A cutlery knife

Method

  1. Melt your chocolate on the stove by filling a medium-sized bowl with chocolate and placing it in a double boiler or saucepan with enough water to come one-third to halfway up your bowl. Place your pan/double boiler over a medium flame.
  2. Wait for the water to boil. When it does, turn the flame down and wait for water to gently simmer. Stir chocolate, making sure that no water has splashed into your melted chocolate.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your molds by generously greasing them with butter. For these mooncakes, the simpler the mold the better.
  4. When chocolate is liquid (the texture should be like cream), add your 2 teaspoons of butter.
  5. Take a spoon and drizzle chocolate mixture into the bottom and sides of your molds. Use a knife to even out the chocolate sides. Make sure the sides are relatively thick with chocolate with an even texture.
  6. Freeze your chocolate shells for 30 minutes.
  7. While molds are freezing, combine your yogurt with about half a cup of diced fruit of your choice (we used mango) and stick the resulting mixture in the freezer as well, using a fork to break up the ice crystals every 10 minutes.
  8. Take the chocolate shells out of the freezer. Add the yogurt mixture, but leave a quarter-inch gap for the cookie crust. Freeze again for 30 minutes.
  9. In a bowl, combine your cookie crumbs with room-temperature butter, until you have a crumbly mixture.
  10. Take out your chocolate mooncakes and apply the crust to the quarter-inch gap.
  11. Very carefully remove the chocolate mooncakes from their molds. Serve.
Joanne Yao is a writer and editor based in Shanghai.
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