Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

I have this vision in my head, where you got some Malaysian or Singaporean aunty, in front of computer with bifocals, reading this food post and chuckling to herself thinking “What is that boy doing? The mooncakes won’t turn out good like that, my recipe is better”.

*fade out view of Aunty, walking into the kitchen horizon*

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

But hey, all I can say is I’ve given mooncake making a really good and honest go. Experimenting with various skins, ingredient proportions, sugar syrups and ways to make homemade fillings. By the time this post is up, I’d probably have made 4kg of homemade fillings and over a hundred mooncakes. 75% of which have been dispatched and redistributed to the friends I’ve hung out with for that week.

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
First batch of mooncakes, before entering oven

My very first batch of traditional mooncakes took 5 hours to finish, but now I can make 10 mooncakes in 2.5 hours. They’re tedious, and I think the one reason why I do it is my stupid need to make something completely homemade and sincere. Down to the fillings, sugar syrup and salted yolks.

To read about all the prep work needed to make each individual ingredient, follow the links below. In this recipe post, I’ll only be writing up the actual making and baking of the traditional mooncakes.

Mooncake, Phase 1 – Birth of project
Mooncake, Phase 2 – Homemade sugar syrup and salted duck eggs
Mooncake, Phase 3 – Homemade Fillings
Traditional Mooncakes – Recipe
Snowskin Mooncakes – Recipe

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

I know purists would say mooncakes aren’t mooncakes unless you use lard in them. Lard apparently imparts optimum mouth feel to these delights. But sadly, I’ve tried using lard twice this year and the porky smell was just too strong for me. So lard won’t feature in my mooncake recipe.

Mum’s recipe also called for Super Lite Hong Kong Flour, which can’t be found in Melbourne. So I used flour that’s used to make Chinese steamed buns instead.

Truth be told, mooncakes can be easy to make, you don’t have to search the ends of the earth and move mountains to get the ingredients right. Supersoft bun flour can be substituted with plain flour and the painstaking mooncake sugar syrup can be substituted with golden syrup. The fillings can be store bought at many Asian grocers and uncooked salted duck eggs can be bought from poultry vendors at Asian markets. If you don’t have alkali water, omit it.

Finally… if you don’t have the moulds, make little piggys!

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

Yes… piggy Piggy PIGGYS!!

Aaaaaa… sooo kawaiii!!

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

I love love eating mooncakes. That’s why I’ve embarked on this crazy mooncake baking saga. I remember when mum baked mooncakes back in Singapore, I’d pop them into my mouth right after they’d come out of the oven. One, two, three… they’d go into my mouth in quick succession, 24 hour maturation phase be damned. My favourite mooncake would still be the traditional lotus seed paste with 2 yolks, with the skin baked and glazed to a shiny golden brown.

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
Sectioned traditional skin 1-yolk mooncakes Black sesame filling on the left, lotus seed filling on the right

But how did my mooncakes turn out? I’ve passed them to many friends. Some of them really really liked them, some were abit ‘meh’ about them, and some didn’t even comment… *cry*

Personally, I concede that the texture’s quite different from store bought mooncakes. My homemade fillings were softer and wetter to store-bought fillings. The skin also became quite soft and oddly sticky moist after a day or so (presumably from the wetter fillings). Getting the salted yolks to cook to the precise consistency also proved challenging. But taste-wise, I honestly loved my homemade traditional mooncakes. Filling, yolk and skin… all of it.

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
Store bought vs homemade

Here, I’ve got two mooncakes, both are traditional skin lotus seed paste with one yolk. The one on the left is from Maxim’s Bakery and on the right was homemade 5 days before. It was a taste comparison between store bought and homemade mooncakes.

You can see the homemade skin’s thicker, not as even, and the mould’s imprint isn’t as immaculate. The homemade lotus paste also isn’t as super smooth and shiny in texture. My homemade mooncakes don’t hold together very well when you cut into them because everything’s soft and moist. But aside from overcooked yolks, I thought they still tasted pretty good.

Fakegf’s feedback was the yolks were a fail (overcooked), but the homemade lotus paste was much much nicer to eat because it’s fragrant and not ridiculously sweet. I’ve adjusted the attached recipe to hopefully give better cooked yolks.

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
Using a traditional wooden mooncake mold

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

Alternative types of molds. These piston types are more versatile as you can change the plates to get different designs. I especially love the Hello Kitty and Doraemon mini mooncake molds. Great for snowskin (bing pi) mooncakes.

The mid-autumn festival is just around the corner now. You should think about making the mooncakes yourself rather than forking out a fortune buying them. Buy the ingredients in the morning, make them during the day and you can have homemade mooncakes in your home that very evening!

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
Assorted fillings, pre-rolled into compact balls Foreground: chestnut paste Background: black sesame and lotus nut pastes

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
From left: salted yolk, skin dough, lotus seed paste, filled dough

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe
How I wrapped the skin around the filling

Here, I share with you the recipe that mum’s handed down to me. I will tweak it every year as I bake more mooncakes. They may not have turned out as perfect looking as store bought mooncakes, but they still have made me very very happy… If any of you have tried this recipe, let me know how it turns out, I love feedback!

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

Traditional Mooncakes

Adapted from mum’s recipe

Skin

Sift together into a big mixing bowl:
300g Bun Flour
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate Of Soda
1/4 tsp Salt

Mix together:
210g Mooncake Sugar Syrup
60g Peanut Oil
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
1tsp Alkali Water

  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture
  • Slowly pour in sugar syrup mixture, a little at a time and mix well till it forms a dough
  • Leave dough aside to rest (uncovered) for 30mins .

Yolk

  • Buy whole, uncooked salted duck eggs
  • Break and discard the whites, gently wash the yolks clean
  • Drain and coat with peanut oil
  • Steam the yolks at the lowest possible simmer for 10-15mins. Taste test one. if still undercooked, steam a further 5 mins
  • Undercooked yolks remains translucent with a sticky plasticky texture, while overcooked yolk will turn opaque and become rubbery, your aim is to get it crumbly .

Filling

Fillings can be storebought, otherwise here is a Recipe for Homemade Mooncake Filling
Skin from above recipe needs approx. 1kg filling

  • Defrost your fillings overnight if it was frozen
  • If adding seeds, mix in 30-50g melon seeds per kg of filling .

Glaze

Mix together, without beating, and the sift it to get a smooth glaze:
1 Egg Yolk
5g Mooncake Sugar Syrup
1tsp Hot Water

Method

Mooncake molds come in various sizes, determine the weight of the mold by putting some filling in cling wrap and push into the mold until it’s filled to the brim. With that weight, you can determine the ratio of skin to filling, I normally have success with 3:7 skin to filling ratio. If you’re good, you may go as thin as 2:8 or 2.5:7.5

  • Knead the rested skin dough (above) till it firms up
  • Divide dough into balls, as determined by the mold being used, place on an oiled tray
  • Likewise, roll filling (+/- yolk) into balls at predetermined weight, make sure they’re compact balls, place on an oiled tray
  • If using salted duck yolks, place yolk on weighing scale first, then add paste to make up the weight of filling required
  • Flatten skin dough on palm of your hand, then pick it up and flatten further using your fingertips
  • Put ball of filling onto the flattened dough and enclose filling by gently pressing edges until filling is sealed
  • Dust the filled dough with flour, put into lightly floured mooncake mold and press in gently
  • Knock or piston out the molded mooncake
  • Place on baking tray lined with baking paper
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 200ºC for 8 mins
  • While baking, prepare the egg yolk glaze (above)
  • Remove, glaze, return to bake at 180ºC for 9 mins
  • The mooncakes are ready to be consumed 24-48 hours later, the maturation time is needed for the cakes to ‘return oil’ from filling to skin
Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

Read the rest of my Mooncake Saga:

Mooncake, Phase 1 – Birth of project
Mooncake, Phase 2 – Homemade sugar syrup and salted duck eggs
Mooncake, Phase 3 – Homemade Fillings
Traditional Mooncakes – Recipe
Snowskin Mooncakes – Recipe

Traditional Mooncakes (月餅) Recipe

39 Responses

  1. Lauren (Ms Baklover)
    Lauren (Ms Baklover) at · Reply

    A true labour of love and one that had fabulous results in my opinion! We all loved them so much. I think the black sesame is my favourite but it is a close call.

    My sister's boyfriend is Malaysian and his mum gave my mum some mooncakes. She said (my mum) "oh they were horrible. I didn't like them". I asked her why and it turned out she had just taken a few huge bites, like you would bite a lamington!!! I explained you are supposed to slice them finely and eat over a few days! LOL!
    My recent post Pause

  2. Hannah
    Hannah at · Reply

    75% given away, and none in my belly. At least I know now how much you truly value our friendship.

    *pouts*

    SPYPOSE!
    My recent post David Jones Easter Fare Dark Chocolate Twin Bilbies

  3. msihua
    msihua at · Reply

    YOU ROCK!! And I'm so excited that I got my little piggy the other day. I want to preserve him! But I'll eat him soon. I'm actually going to wish everyone using your piggy! All credit goes to you of course.. but you're amazing :)
    My recent post SYDNEY: Quay @ Circular Quay, Sydney – The Peter Gilmore Touch

  4. kewpie
    kewpie at · Reply

    well done!!! takes patience to do what u do, and skill to craft those babies! and i am not even talking about the piggies yet…. *claps*
    My recent post Mercie and Kourosh ~ wedding

  5. imsohungree
    imsohungree at · Reply

    OMG PIGGIES! n____n They're sooo cute, my mum busted out her piggy moulds the other day too, but yours are so much cuter!
    My recent post Replete Providore

  6. Det
    Det at · Reply

    Hi, where can I buy the piston types molds or little piggy mold?

  7. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Haha, go for it and use the piggy! She probably looks better than she tastes, but it was fun sculpting her. Next thing I wanna do is manga-like puff pastry wabbits. :D

  8. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    *Hides behind the potted plant*…!!!!

  9. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Haha, actually the piggys were made by hand. Quite easy to do actually, step-by-step. They've got adzuki red bean eyes… aaaa kawaaiii!!!

  10. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    The piggys were made by hand actually. As for the molds, mom bought and mailed them over. But I've heard you can find them on eBay too!

  11. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Thank you. It was a fun (and fattening) project! ;D

  12. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Haha, thank you. Dare to eat the durian snowskin ones I'm making tomorrow? Hahahaha!!

    And pssst… you know what? I eat mooncakes like your mum. I just gobble them down, and without accompanying tea! Aaaa Asian fail!! :D

  13. A Brit Greek
    A Brit Greek at · Reply

    OHMYFREAKIN' GOD!
    I've just found you via google for mooncakes, since my readers are asking for a recipe and I'm like say what???
    I'm so impressed that you made these! WOW!
    Love the Hello Kitty cutters, the black sesame version and those little pigs, ok, best stop rambling now. Must share this post with my readers! Unforch getting these ingredients is close to impossible in Greece. bugger!

    Ciao for now and Happy Mid-atumn Festival!
    My recent post Full Moon Beauty feat. Fei Fei Sun

  14. Fatbooo
    Fatbooo at · Reply

    Glad you enjoyed reading the post, I wonder what your readers in Greece would think about such odd flavoured delicacies like mooncakes!

  15. A Brit Greek
    A Brit Greek at · Reply

    Ha ha, they all wanted a recipe! So I've directed them over to here. I'd imagine they'd think the texture and taste would be a little strange, especially if they were never raised with Sweet Red bean soup or Lotus paste/black sesame balls! Now i'm positively envying anyone who can get decent Dim Sum.

  16. Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg
    Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg at · Reply

    I am impressed. You are very talented! I have had two moon cakes in my life. Store bought – horrible! And then home made – wonderful!:)
    Yours look great and you should be really proud of yourself:)
    Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg recently posted..The Heysen Trail, a picnic and the German Arms Hotel, HahndorfMy Profile

  17. cumicumi
    cumicumi at · Reply

    They look so awesome!! Where did you get the doraemon mold from??

  18. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice at · Reply

    BRILLIANT. I love your mooncake posts… they are such labor of love (I can only imagine) and look absolutely beautiful when finished. I also love the wooden mold you use, as our maamoul mold (for date and semolina cookies) looks nearly identical :)
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice recently posted..Turmeric and Almond Tea Cake (Sfouf)My Profile

  19. Garden Correspondent
    Garden Correspondent at · Reply

    This is such a great post, and I can’t wait to try these recipes! I was just moaning about not having moon cakes for this year’s moon festival. Now I might just have to scramble to get some made for a night-after moon viewing tea…

  20. Lenny
    Lenny at · Reply

    I am glad I found your step-by-step mooncake posts. Thank you so much for sharing the recipes.

    I have a question about your picture showing salted yolk, skin dough, lotus seed paste, filled dough: Is that a cooked or a raw egg yolk? Thanks.

  21. Zurianna
    Zurianna at · Reply

    I need help!!
    I wanted to try your lotus paste recipe then someone else’s skin recipe for a comparison..
    But…….. The other recipe got my mooncake melting in the first 10mins of baking!
    It also says 200 degree of temp.. I dunno what happened to my cakes!! They flatten beforemi could bake further. :(

    Ill be trying your recipe this weekend.. Im not sire if its common or just me! *sob sob*

  22. Zurianna
    Zurianna at · Reply

    Hello there!

    Managed to find time to do my second attempt last night!
    I think the problem is the paste that you mention.
    I decided to get ready made paste.. Since I didn’t have time to make them.
    I guess they are less dense and there was no meltdown!
    As for the crust.. Following ur recipe.. Seemsss…. Better!
    Hahhaa.. Ingredients are more or less the same.. But the measurements are different.
    And…. Ur glaze….. So beautiful!
    Made 14 last night and….. All so gorgeous!

    T.H.A.N.K Y.O.U

    ^_^

  23. Painstaking documentation « A world of my own
    Painstaking documentation « A world of my own at ·

    […] pays off. —– Happy Mid-Autumn day! I went to the Chinese grocery store and bought mooncakes, expecting them to be a medley of red bean paste, lotus seed, even the traditional ones with egg […]

  24. Suwanti Tan
    Suwanti Tan at · Reply

    My moncake skin from your recipe is so uneven, like theres bubble, and it’s very sticky. What should i do? More flour?

  25. Amanda
    Amanda at · Reply

    hey fatboo, where can you find melon seed (gua zi) in Melbourne? I went to an Asian grocer in Box Hill but didn’t manage to find any. Where do you go to get them? And do they come pre-shelled? (hopefully!!)

    Thanks!

  26. Kat
    Kat at · Reply

    Hi Fatboo,

    I baked some mooncakes (mini 50g ones for 20 minutes) with homemade filling and using store-bought golden syrup in Melbourne, but the skin got sticky a day after and peeled easily when I touched it. Do you think this is due to the filling exuding too much moisture hence causing the skin to separate or have I underbaked it? Sigh, my mooncakes are so fragile :(

    Thanks,

    Kat

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