The best-known Mid-Autumn Festival food is, of course, the mooncake, which, with its round shape represents the full moon.
What are mooncakes filled with?
Mooncakes classically consist of circular pastry shells filled with a sweet or savoury filling. Part of the culinary appeal of mooncakes is the contrast in textures between the shell and the rich-tasting filling. This is often red bean paste, made from cooked, sweetened azuki beans, which has a distinctive, slightly earthy, nuttiness.
During baking the pattern on the mooncakes will fade slightly. Press them firmly into the mould to achieve a strong pattern. Mooncakes are best enjoyed on the same day as baking but will keep for 1 week in an airtight container. To crisp the pastry warm in the oven for 5 minutes.
How long can homemade mooncakes last?
Mooncakes will keep for a week or so in an airtight container, away from heat and light. But they’re best enjoyed fresh!
Why are mooncakes expensive?
Pre-bought mooncakes can be expensive, but that is often because they are presented and packaged beautifully. A traditional gift over Mid-Autumn Festival, part of the fun of receiving a mooncake is in the elaborate wrapping. Use our recipe below for homemade mooncakes, and present them with ribbons, beautiful paper or even a miniature box.
Filling ingredients Serves: 12
- 200g azuki red beans
- 120g sugar
- 15ml vegetable oil
Pastry ingredients for Chinese mooncakes
- 100g golden syrup
- 6ml lye water
- 35ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour
- 1 egg
- A pastry mould (these are kueh moulds, but they still work)
To make the aduki red bean filling for Chinese mooncakes
- Rinse the aduki red beans and soak in cold water for 6 hours (or overnight.)
- The next day, drain the beans, cover with 1 inch or water and bring to the boil. Simmer the beans with the lid on for 1.5 hours, until soft.
- Drain the beans, transfer to a blender with the vegetable oil and blend until smooth.
- In a wok on a low heat stir fry the beans with the sugar for around 20 minutes until the beans have formed a thick paste.
- Spread onto a baking tray covered in clingfilm to allow the paste to cool quickly. Then transfer to the fridge.
To make the mooncake pastry
- Combine the golden syrup, lye water, vanilla extract and vegetable oil.
- Add the plain flour and mix to form a soft dough. Knead the dough for 30 seconds until it comes together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Method: To assemble the mooncakes
- Divide the dough into 25g pieces and roll into balls. Refrigerate.
- Meanwhile divide the paste into 35g pieces and roll into balls. Refrigerate.
- With plenty of flour roll each pastry ball into an 8cm round disc.
- Dust each disc with flour and wrap around the red bean balls. Gently stretch the pastry so that it completely surrounds the red bean filling.
- Dust each ball with plenty of flour. Press the ball firmly into the mould. Tip the mould on its side and tap to release the mooncake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted)/350F/Gas 4
- Bake the mooncakes for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Brush with the egg and return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until the mooncakes are a rich, golden brown colour.
- Store in an airtight container once cool.