Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mooncake festival is here! Spiral Pandan Teochew Mooncakes

Chinese celebrate the lunar 8th month with a special type of cakes called mooncakes. To celebrate the festive, mooncakes in special boxes are given as gifts to family members. On the 15th day of this month, family members are expected to get together, have dinner and enjoy the mooncakes together.

I love mooncakes! and especially when I only get to eat them once a year, I get excited when mooncakes advertisements and posters start to spring up in shopping malls as the lunar 8th month draws near. In this period, you will see how chefs from famous bakeries and hotels let their creative juices flow and come up with excellent mooncakes varieties. At mooncakes bazaars, you get totally spoil for choices on mooncakes flavours.

Novelty is always welcomed but the traditional ones often make the best gifts for our elders. While people are familiar with those traditional baked mooncakes, there is one type that is quite very different. It has a buttery, flaky crust with sweet yam filling. We call it Teochew Mooncake.

I have been contemplating to make mooncakes this year but have yet to buy mooncakes making molds. Incidentally, I stumbled upon a teochew mooncakes recipe by HouseofAnnie and since it didn’t require mooncakes molds, I decided to give it a try. True to what Annie claimed, it is quite simple to make, much simpler than what people may think. But..... It took me more than twice the amount of time to make as compared to what was stated in the recipe... I think it’s the spirals... they have a "snailing" effect on me...

Spiral pandan teochew mooncakes

Ingredients - Filling
  • 300 g Japanese sweet potatoes (purple ones preferred), boiled and smashed 
  • 57 g unsalted butter 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar (can reduce or increase the amount depending on the sweetness of the sweet potatoes 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
Method for filling
  1. Add milk, butter, sugar and salt to the smashed sweet potatoes and mix it till it forms a paste 
  2. Divide the paste into 20 balls and put aside while making doughs for the crust 
Ingredients - Crust - Water Dough A
  • 200 g unbleached plain flour (I used half cake flour and half plain flour) 
  • 28 g icing sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 80 g cold butter 
  • 80 g water 
  Ingredients - Crust - Oil Dough B
  • 180 g unbleached plain flour (I used half cake flour and half plain flour) 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 90 g canola oil 
  • 1/2 tsp pandan essence paste
Method for crust:

Dough A
  1. Sift together flour, salt and sugar. 
  2. Cut in cold butter into flour mixture using finger tips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
  3. Add in water and mix to for soft, non-sticky dough. Add more flour if needed to make dough non-sickly 
  4. Cover and put aside dough A for 20 mins. 

Dough B
  1. Sift together flour and salt 
  2. Make a well in the centre of flour and add in oil and pandan essence. 
  3. Draw in flour from the sides and mix to form soft even-coloured non-sticky dough. Similarly, if dough is sticky, add more flour until non-sticky. 
  4. Cover and set aside for 20 min 
Making the mooncakes
  1. Preheat oven to 185degC. 
  2. Divide A and B into 10 equal balls each. 
  3. Take one ball of A, flatten and wrap B in it. Pinch to seal edges 
  4. With the sealed end facing up, roll the dough into a thin long rectangular strip. 
  5. Roll the thin strip from one end to the other into a (horizontal) "cylinder" with spirals, turn the cylinder 90deg into a vertical cylinder and roll it again into a long thin rectangular shape. 
  6. Once again, roll the new thin strip from one end to the other into a (horizontal) "cylinder" with spirals. Cut the cylinder into half with a sharp knife. 
  7. With the cut side facing down, flatter the half-cylinder into a circular dish. It is useful to make it bigger and have the edges thinner than the centre for easy wrapping of filling. 
  8. Wrap the filling and pinch to seal. 
  9. Place the mooncakes on a line baking tray with the pinched side at the bottom. 
  10. Bake for 30 mins until the top and bottom are a light golden brown. 

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