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How to make a traditional mooncake | Mid Autumn Festival Malaysia

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A mooncake is considered a sweet delicacy in Malaysia and they are eaten extensively through the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Chinese developed them, but they can now be found in Malaysia and many other Asian countries.  This is a simple recipe for the traditional lotus seed paste mooncake.

Traditional mooncakes are quite large and as such are rarely eaten all at once by one person.  Made from a standard mooncake mould, they measure around 10cm in diameter and are around 4 cm high.  Contained within a pastry is a thick centre, often made from typical mooncake ingredients of lotus seed paste or red bean paste and baked.  Often, salted egg yolk can also be found inside.  They are imprinted with a stamp of Chinese characters depicting, amongst other things, the name of the bakery or chef.  

mooncakes crystal skin - making mooncakes recipe with lotus seed paste

Because of their size, mooncakes are generally eaten by cutting a wedge from the cake.  Mooncakes are made especially for the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival in Malaysia.  It’s a special time for celebrating and is held in accordance with the lunar calendar.  On the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival will be held.  It coincides with a full moon.  

Mooncakes can also be made without baking.  Crystal skin mooncakes, or snow skin mooncakes as they are also known, use a rice flour casing and are not baked.  This form of mooncake originated in Hong Kong as a means of cutting down on the high fat and high sugar content of the more traditional mooncake.

Flavours

The traditional mooncake flavours include lotus seed paste, red bean paste and sesame.

Mooncakes are getting trendy though, with modern chefs now coming up with an unusual array of ingredients to spice them up.  Today, you’ll find such things as the flavour of blue pea flowers, pandan, chocolate and custard being enveloped inside the pastry.  Sizes are also changing, with miniatures, perfect for popping whole into your mouth also popular.

Why this recipe works

  • Even though the mooncake looks complex, this recipe is actually very simple.
  • For it to work properly though, you must have the correct mould.
  • There are only a few ingredients and it’s easy to put together.
  • If you aren’t making the lotus seed paste yourself, the recipe is even easier.
  • This is a traditional mooncake recipe learned from a chef at the Dorsett Hotel in Malaysia. I made it with him, so I know it works.

What goes into this recipe

The ingredients differ depending on whether you are making one with baked pastry or the crystal skin version.  The ingredients will also differ depending on the country, region and the person cooking them.

These are some basic ingredients to make blue pea crystal skin mooncakes.

  • 100g glutinous rice flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp shortening
  • 150ml blue pea or pandan liquid. The liquid is made from soaking approximately 10 blue pea flowers in water until the water reaches a deep purple colour.
  • Extra flour for rolling and for the mooncake mould.

Lotus seed paste can be purchased already made.  If you would like to make your own there is a great recipe here.

A chef would do the salted egg yolks themselves, but once again, for ease, try buying these from the market.

Recipe notes

  • It’s important to make mooncakes properly using a mould.
  • The recipe ingredients must also be precisely measured. Use properly jugs and spoons for measuring liquids and weigh all other ingredients.
  • Flouring the moulds is also important. As you can see when you look at them, they are very intricate with lots of places for the cake to get stuck.
  • When mixing the ingredients together, be delicate and don’t overwork the mixture.

How to make mooncakes

Step 1

Pour rice flour into a large flat metal tray/bowl, make a well in the centre and add the icing sugar.

Step 2

Add shortening and rub until combined.  

Step 3

Add blue pea liquid.  Can be substituted for pandan.

Step 4

Using one hand, mix the liquid with the dry ingredients until combined.  It’s important to be very delicate when doing this and don’t overwork the mixture.

Step 5

Get a ball of lotus seed paste and push a hole in the centre.  Add a salted egg into the hole and working very quickly (and with both hands) cover the egg yolk with the lotus seed paste.

Step 6

Roll out the mooncake pastry into a log and then cut it into equal pieces.

Step 7

Press down between two pieces of plastic to prevent it from sticking and roll out to a size that will be large enough to cover the filling.

Step 8

Place the lotus seed paste ball into the centre of the pastry and working quickly once again, rotate the lotus paste in one direction and the pastry in the other, until the pastry covers it all.

Step 9

Lightly flour the mooncake mould and the mooncake ball and then push it into the mould.

Step 10

Tap the mould gently on a hard surface until the mooncake comes out.

mooncakes and mooncake mould - mooncake recipe lotus paste

Step By Step Photos Above
Our recipes all have step-by-step photos, tips and FAQs listed above to allow you to make it as perfect as possible the first time.

mooncakes malaysian lantern festival

Crystal skin mooncake recipe with lotus seed paste

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A recipe for making crystal skin mooncakes, an un-baked version of the traditional mooncake, popular in Malaysia during the Lantern or Mid-Autumn Festival.

Ingredients

  • 100g glutinous rice flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp shortening
  • 150ml blue pea liquid. The liquid is made from soaking approximately 10 blue pea flowers in water until the water reaches a deep purple colour. Pandan liquid can also be substituted.
  • Extra flour for rolling and for the mooncake mould.
  • Lotus seed paste can be purchased already made.  If you would like to make your own there is a great recipe here.
  • A chef would do the salted egg yolks themselves, but once again, for ease, try buying these from the market.

Instructions

  1. Pour rice flour into a large flat metal receptacle. Make a well in the centre and add icing sugar.
  2. Add shortening and rub until combined.  
  3. Add blue pea liquid.
  4. Using one hand, mix the liquid in with the dry ingredients until combined. It's important to be very delicate when doing this and don't overwork the mixture.
  5. Get a ball of lotus seed paste and push a hole in the centre. Add a salted egg into the hole and working very quickly (and with both hands) cover the egg yolk with the lotus seed paste.
  6. Roll out the mooncake pastry into a log and then cut into equal pieces.
  7. Press down between two pieces of plastic to prevent it from sticking and roll out to a size that will be large enough to cover the filling.
  8. Place the lotus seed paste ball into the centre of the pastry and working quickly once again, rotate the lotus paste in one direction and the pastry in the other, until the pastry covers it all.
  9. Lightly flour the mooncake mould and the mooncake ball and then push it into the mould.
  10. Tap the mould gently on a hard surface until the mooncake comes out.

Notes

Recipe notes

The ingredients are different depending on whether you are making one with baked pastry or the crystal skin version. The ingredients will also differ depending on the country, region and the person cooking them.

  • It's important to make mooncakes properly using a mould.
  • The recipe ingredients must also be precisely measured. Use properly jugs and spoons for measuring liquids and weigh all other ingredients.
  • Flouring the moulds is also important. As you can see when you look at them, they are very intricate with lots of places for the cake to get stuck.
  • When mixing the ingredients together, be delicate and don't overwork the mixture.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 12 Serving Size: approx 100g
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 10gSugar: 23gProtein: 14g

    This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

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