Mooncake fever has landed here in Malaysia with bakeries and commercial stores carrying a wide range of traditional (baked) and snowskin (non-baked) mooncakes. I have never really been a true fan of mooncakes – we just eat one and give the rest away to friends or family. This coupled with the fact that I have no love for mooncakes with salted egg or any of those funky flavours like mango or durian. (Perhaps in that sense, I’m a traditionalist.) My mum likes her mooncakes with plenty of mixed nuts and my dad? He stays away from mooncakes – too sweet for his tastebuds!
So yes, whenever mooncake festival hits, we end up buying one or two cakes to satisfy the craving. Looking at the prices a few days back, I was shocked at how pricey mooncakes are, especially snowskin mooncakes. The cheapest was RM14 for a baked mooncake (lotus filling, no salted egg yoke centre) while the contemporary mooncakes (different filling like chocolate, tiramisu, etc, or with egg yolks) retail for anywhere from RM22-25.
I decided there and then to try baking mooncakes instead of buying them. This is a challenge for me because somehow, I have always had the impression that they were tough to make. So I cheated and bought ready-made filling first to get a hang of making the skin and to search around for a good filling recipe. After the kids went to bed, I set about to making the mooncakes. The first batch is still cooling in the kitchen as I’m writing this out but several notes to make:
- Definitely need more practice getting the ratio of skin to filling right. I used 60gms of pure lotus paste with 30 gms of skin but I reckon I can cut that down to 20 gms since my cakes came out with fat bottoms.
- I need to get myself an accurate measuring cup for liquids – I think I used too much golden syrup/oil which resulted in a rather wet dough…or maybe it’s supposed to be that wet. Hm.
- When rolling out the filling into balls, one must oil one’s hands but do not do this with the skin. In fact, flour is the way to go for the skin. Saves you some misery. No rolling pin either – pointless and creates a lot of mess. The skin is soft so it’s very pliable and easy to work with.
- I let the dough for the skin rest for 45 mins for the first batch. The second batch – which I’ll make tomorrow – will use dough that has rested for an entire night. Lets see if there is a difference in the taste and texture.
As for the taste, I’ll have to comment on that later – freshly baked mooncakes don’t taste as good as ones that have been resting for at least 24-48 hours. Tehehehe.