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Mooncakes with Salted Egg Yolks (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Trung Muoi)

Make homemade Mooncakes with Salted Egg Yolks with this step-by-step video recipe | recipe from runwayrice.comThese beautiful mooncakes have a subtly sweet pastry dough filled with sweet mung bean and salted egg yolk. The contrasting textures and tastes of the delicate pastry, sweet mung bean and savory egg yolk is simply mouth-watering and such a delicious treat. Making these exquisite pastries at home is not difficult and I really recommend you give it a try. You’re going to have a lot of fun making them. Yes, they are a bit time-consuming to make but, the end result is so worth it. The mooncakes are such stunning gems that once done you won’t want to eat them! 🙂 Make a batch and gift them to your family and friends for the Mid-Autumn Festival. They will marvel at your baking skills and love you for the thoughtful gift. Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Making the Filling

  • Use a large non-stick pan or wok to cook the mung bean. The larger surface helps to cook-off the liquid quicker.
  • During the entire cooking process, scrap the pan often to prevent any crust from forming on the bottom. The crust will cause the mung bean to be lumpy.
  • If considerable crusting forms, reduce the heat to Low.
  • If you have cooked/roasted glutinous rice flour, add 3 Tbsp to the mung bean puree. This flour helps to absorb the liquid, reduces the cooking time and makes the mung bean more pliable, plus it tastes great!
  • Work with the mung bean while it’s warm and it’ll be easier to shape into balls. If cooled, microwave on High for 1 minute to warm up again.
  • Salted egg yolks take about 1 month to make. If you don’t have them on-hand for this recipe, as a shortcut, use lightly salted hard-boiled eggs or purchase the salted eggs from the Asian grocer.
  • Try making the cakes with double salted egg yolks for more savory goodness.

Making the Mooncakes

  • In this recipe, I use Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of breakfast syrup which I’ve used in past for making mooncakes. I really like the taste of this syrup and it gives the cakes a beautiful golden color. Of course, if you like the breakfast syrup, this is just fine for this recipe. The syrup measurements are the same.
  • Substitute the peanut oil for any mild-tasting vegetable oil such as soybean or canola if needed.
  • The dough should be soft, moist and slightly sticky. If the dough is too dry or crumbly, add equal amounts of golden syrup and peanut oil, 1 tsp at a time, and work together. Err on the side of a drier dough rather than a wetter one. The dough will moisten and soften after the 30-minute resting period. If the dough is too wet, add 1 Tbsp cake flour at a time and work into the dough. A dough that is too wet will not hold the mooncake patterns and will ooze when left to sit at room temperature.
  • After the 30-minute resting period, do a quick test of the dough: Pinch off a small amount and roll into a ball. Let sit for 15 minutes and see if the dough oozes or loses its shape. Adjust the dough accordingly, if needed.
  • Each mooncake weighs 200 grams (7 oz): pastry dough is 80 grams (2.8 oz) + mung bean and salted egg yolk filling are 120 grams (4.2 oz). The typical ratio for dough to filling is 1:2 or 1.5:2.
  • If there are bubbles in the dough while rolling the cakes, prick with a toothpick and smooth.
  • Be sure to coat the cake ball with flour before placing into the mold (in addition to generously dusting the mold). This is the secret to preventing sticking. You can dust off the flour later. Nothing is sadder than having your beautiful mooncake stick to the mold and tearing. 🙁
  • If the mooncake sticks to the mold and tears, smooth out the dough using a small spatula or patch with thin layers of dough. Scrape off the dough from the mold and dust generously with flour before making another cake.
  • Practice makes perfect but there is a trick to getting the egg yolk centered in the cake: Place a toothpick through the egg yolk and use it as your guide when forming the filling ball and making the cakes. Roll the mung bean and dough with the toothpick in place and you’ll always know where the egg yolk is, so you can keep it centered. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect! 🙂

Storing the Mooncakes

  • Cover and refrigerate any remaining cakes. Allow the cakes to come to room temperature before eating. Enjoy within the week.
  • The mooncakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and then store in a resealable plastic bag. Thaw and allow to come to room temperature before enjoying. Optionally, wrap in foil and warm in a toaster oven.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like:

Mooncakes with Coconut Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dua)

Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do)


Ingredients

Filling
14 oz (2 cups) peeled split mung bean
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 Salted Egg Yolks

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2/3 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dusting the molds and rolling the cakes

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Wash the mung bean several times with cold water until the water is mostly clear. Soak the beans in a large bowl of water for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Steam the salted egg yolks over Medium High heat for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside for now.

Wash the beans again with cold water and then drain. Transfer into a large pot. Add the salt and water. Bring to a boil over High heat. Stir and reduce the heat to Low. Skim off the foam from the top and discard. Continue cooking over Low heat, stirring every 5 minutes, for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the beans are soft and creamy.

Transfer the cooked mung bean into a blender. Add the sugar. Blend on High speed until smooth, approximately 30-45 seconds.

Add the vegetable oil into a large pan along with the pureed mung bean. Cook over Medium Low heat stirring often. Slowly cook-off the liquid until the mung bean transforms from a pudding-like consistency to a stiff dough, approximately 30-40 minutes. The right consistency is achieved when you can fold the mung bean and it holds its shape.

Transfer the mung bean to a bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Use a food scale to weigh one egg yolk. Weigh the mung bean so that the egg plus mung bean total 120 grams. (For example, if the egg yolk is 10 grams, weigh out 110 grams of mung bean to make a filling ball that is 120 grams.) Roll the mung bean making a rough ball. Shape into a thick patty about 3-inches wide and then make an indentation in the center. Place the egg yolk in the middle. Work the mung bean around the yolk, covering it completely. Roll between your palms to smooth and shape into a ball. Repeat these steps to make the remaining 7 filling balls. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for now.

In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour and cake flour.

In a bowl or measuring cup, add the golden syrup, peanut oil and egg yolks.  Whisk together until the egg yolks are completely incorporated.

Make a well in the sifted flour and pour in the syrup mixture. (Scrape out all the syrup from the measuring cup.) Using a fork, gradually work the flour mixture into the syrup: Combine the flour and syrup together by stirring in circles, working from the edge of the bowl toward the center. Continue stirring until all the dry flour is worked into the dough. Push all the dough to one side of the bowl forming a large ball. Scoop out the dough ball and gently knead in your hands for 1-2 minutes. Place on a flat surface and knead the dough for 1 minute. (Don’t overwork the dough.) Shape the dough into a log. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Line a baking tray with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or parchment paper.

Sift the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour into a large bowl. (This is used to dust the molds and make the cakes.)

Sprinkle some sifted flour on the work surface and dough log. Knead the dough gently for 1-2 minutes. Shape into a log again and cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out while working with it.

Use a food scale and weigh out 80 grams of dough. Roll the dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a 5-inch circle. Place a filling ball in the center and then gently work the dough around the filling covering it completely. Gently stretch and pinch the dough together to cover the filling ball. Roll between your palms until smooth. Dust the entire ball with more flour.

Coat the mooncake mold with a generous amount of flour. Lightly tap the mold to remove the excess flour. Assemble the mold.

Place the cake ball inside the mold. Using your fingers or palm, press down gently, flattening and pushing the cake ball into the mold. (Dust with flour if the dough starts to stick to your fingers.) Press the cake evenly into the mold, filling out the corners and keeping the dough inside the mold. Prick a few holes in the cake using a toothpick to allow the steam to escape when baking. Remove the top piece of the mold. Use a rolling pin to tap the sides of the mold to release the cake. Brush off any excess flour and then transfer the cake to the baking tray. Continue with these steps until all mooncakes are made.

Position the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the cakes at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Spritz each cake with water.

To make the egg wash, whisk together the egg yolk, water and sesame oil. Strain the mixture. Brush each cake with the egg wash, coating it evenly.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Return the cakes to oven and bake for 7-8 minutes or until the tops are just golden. (Do not over-bake.)

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely (about 2 hours). Store in an air-tight container for 1 day.

Enjoy the mooncakes with hot tea!

Yields: 8 cakes

Looking for more mooncake recipes? Check out the following:

Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1: Making the Syrup and Taro Root Filling (Banh Deo: Cach Nau Nuoc Duong, Lam Nhan Khoai Mon)

Snowskin Mooncakes Part 2: Making the Dough and the Cakes (Cach Lam Vo Banh)

Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)


Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with these beautiful and delicious Mooncakes | recipe from runawayrice.com

Quintessential cakes for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, Learn how to make these Mooncakes with Salted Egg Yolks! | recipe from runawayrice.com

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Salted Eggs (Trung Muoi)

Briny and delicious, these Salted Eggs are simply amazing! | recipe from runawayrice.comIf you’ve never had Salted Eggs, you’re in for a treat. These briny eggs will wake-up your taste buds and have you craving this unique yet simple dish. In this recipe, chicken (or ducks) eggs are soaked in brine and spices permeating them with salty goodness. The eggs can then be hard-boiled, steamed, fried or used as ingredients in other dishes. In future posts, I’ll share some of my favorite recipes using Salted Eggs, so please stop back!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use chicken or duck eggs. Ducks eggs have a thicker shell and ideal for brining. The eggs are fattier and have a rich, buttery flavor.

Use sea salt as it dissolves easily. If all you can find is table salt, this will work, but note, this salt will not dissolve completely.

The ratio of water to sea salt is 4:1, for every 4 cups water, use 1 cup sea salt. You can easily adjust the recipe to make more or less salted eggs.

If you enjoy the aroma of star anise, add 1-2 whole flowers to the brine.

The brining time varies depending on the size of the eggs. For large eggs, brine for 4 weeks. If using medium eggs, check after 3 weeks. Crack one open and if the yolk is solid, it’s ready. Letting the eggs brine for too long may result in a yolk that is misshapen.

The eggs are super salty so be careful to reduce/omit salt, soy sauce or fish sauce in any recipe.

If not using the salted eggs right away, hard-boil the eggs and then freeze for up to 3 months. Please note egg whites do not freeze well. They become rubbery when frozen so when freezing eggs, the edible portion is the yolk.

Watch the video for instructions.

Ingredients

2 dozen large chicken or duck eggs
10 cups water
2 1/2 cups sea salt
2-inch ginger, peeled
1/2 Tbsp peppercorns
2 Tbsp vodka

Other Item
1 gallon jar with lid

Directions

Place eggs into a large colander removing any cracked ones. Gently wash the eggs with cold water and then drain.

Add the water and sea salt into a large pot. Heat the solution over Medium heat stirring constantly until the salt is completely dissolved. (This takes approximately 10 minutes.) Allow to cool to room temperature. (This take approximately 1 1/2 hours.)

Add the peeled ginger, peppercorns and vodka into the jar along with the eggs. Pour in the brining liquid filling the jar to the top. Use a flexible plastic lid or a re-sealable plastic bag filled with water to weigh-down the eggs so they are all submerged in the brine. Put the lid on the jar and seal.

Place the jar on a countertop (away from direct sunlight) or in a pantry and allow the eggs to brine for 4 weeks.

After 4 weeks, the eggs can be hard-boiled, steamed, fried or used in other recipes.

Yields: 24 salted eggs

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Briny and delicious, these Salted Eggs are super easy to make at home. | recipe from runawayrice.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn how to make these beautifully glossy Salted Eggs | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Mooncakes with Coconut Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dua)

Everyone should learn how to make these beautiful cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival!Every year when the Mid-Autumn Festival season approaches, I get giddy thinking about making mooncakes.  First, I love to bake.  Second, I love the artistry of making these cakes.  The entire process from making the filling and dough, rolling and stamping the cakes is such a wonderfully creative process.  Once done, each cake is unique and truly a work of art!

This post shares the recipe for mooncakes with a sweet filling made of shredded coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds–a classic and popular combination.  My recipe is a healthier version using less oil and sugar so you can feel good about making these treats and sharing them with your family and friends.  These mooncakes are so scrumptious and so much fun to make, you’ll definitely want to give this recipe a try.  Happy Mooncake Making!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

I’ve shared other mooncake recipes in prior posts so please check them out for more tips and tricks!

Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)
Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do)
Mooncakes with Salted Egg Yolks (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Trung Muoi)

It’s best to use fresh or frozen coconut.  If using dried coconut, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water along with the sugar.

If using raw sesame seeds, toast them in a skillet just like the sunflower seeds until they are lightly golden.

The cooked glutinous rice flour is a binder and helps the filling to stick together.  If you don’t have this, it’s okay.  If you work with the filling while it’s warm, you shouldn’t have any problems forming the balls.

If you don’t like peanut oil or have allergies, substitute with a mild-tasting vegetable oil like soybean or canola.

Instead of making the syrup from scratch–very time consuming and difficult to get right, I use breakfast syrup.  Nothing fancy, it’s the Von’s/Safeway brand.  They have two varieties, breakfast Original Syrup and Old-Fashioned Syrup (has molasses and brown sugar) and both are good.  Any variety will work, provided it’s nice and thick.  I also like Lyle’s Golden Syrup which is meant for baking and cooking.  It has a really nice distinct flavor.

General rule: the filling to dough ratio is 2:1.

If the dough is dry, add more peanut oil, a little bit at a time.  The dough should be soft and pliable and slightly sticky.

The below recipe is generous and allows for a margin of imperfection.  If everything goes well, it actually yields 13 mooncakes 🙂

It’s best if the mooncakes are not eaten right away.   Let them rest for 24 hours and the cakes will improve in color, taste and texture.

After a day or two refrigerate the cakes.  You can warm them up in the microwave by cooking on Low for 30 seconds.

Freeze the cakes for up to 3 months.  To serve, allow to thaw at room temperature and then warm in the microwave if desired.

Stamp Molds
Each cake:  2 2/3 oz or 75 grams
Dough:  7/8 oz or 25 grams
Filling:  1 3/4 oz or 50 grams

Egg Molds
Each cake:  1 1/8 oz or 30 grams
Dough:  1/3 oz or 10 grams
Filling:  3/4 oz or 20 grams

I bought these little car and fish molds at the Japanese grocery store.  They are used for pressing rice balls and hard-boiled eggs into cut shapes.  They are so cute and perfect for making fun mooncakes the kiddies will adore!  The trick to using these molds is to coat with a generous amount of flour otherwise, it’s very difficult to remove the cake from the mold.  Use a small brush to remove the excess flour before baking.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong) and Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do).

Ingredients

for the Filling
14 oz frozen shredded coconut, thawed
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup roasted roasted sesame seeds
3 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour
3 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp pomelo essence

for the Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup syrup
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 egg yolk

for Rolling the Cakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

for the Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Each cake:  2 2/3 oz or 75 grams
Dough:  7/8 oz or 25 grams
Filling:  1 3/4 oz or 50 grams

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut and sugar.  Cover the bowl and let rest for 2 hours.

Use scissors and cut the coconut into shorter strands.

Toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over Low heat until golden, approximately 7-8 minutes.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the coconut mixture and cook for 6-7 minutes stirring frequently.  Add the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cooked glutinous rice flour and water.  Mix together combining well.  Add the pomelo essence and toss together again.  Remove from the heat.

Use a food scale and weigh the filling for one ball.  Roll into a firmly-packed ball.  (See the video for my trick to making perfectly shaped balls.)  Continue until all the filling is used.

Sift together the all-purpose flour and cake flour.  In a small bowl or cup, add the syrup, peanut oil and egg yolk.  Mix together until evenly blended.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the syrup mixture. (Be sure to scrape out all the syrup from the measuring cup.)  Using a fork, combine the flour and syrup mixture together by stirring in circles from the edge of the bowl to the center.  Continue stirring until all the dry flour is worked into the dough.  After a few minutes, a soft dough forms.  Gently knead the dough a few times with your hands.  (Don’t overwork the dough.)  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Line a baking tray with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or parchment paper.

Sift the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. (This is used to dust the molds and make the cakes.)

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead the dough gently for 1-2 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Assemble the mooncake mold with the desired plate and then coat with flour.  Tap the mold to remove the excess flour.

Use a food scale and weigh the dough needed for one cake.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Using a rolling pin, flatten into a 3-inch circle.  Place a filling ball in the center and then gently work the dough around the filling covering it completely.  Pinch the dough together to seal the edges.  Roll between your palms until smooth.

Place the ball in the mold.  Pressing gently, work the ball down and into the mold.  Use your palm and fingers to press the cake evenly into the mold.  Prick a few holes in the cake using a toothpick to allow the steam to escape when baking.  Place the mold down on the work surface.  Press down on the plunger for a few seconds.  Lift the mold off the work surface and then push down on the plunger to release the cake.  Transfer the cakes to the baking tray.  Continue until all cakes are made.

Use a small pastry brush to remove the excess flour from the cakes.

Position the oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the cakes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Spritz each cake with water.

To make the egg wash, combine egg yolk, water and sesame oil.  Strain the mixture.  Brush each cake with the egg wash, coating it evenly.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Return the cakes to oven and bake for 7-8 minutes or until the tops are just golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Store in an air-tight container.

Enjoy the mooncakes the following day. 🙂

Yields: 12 mooncakes

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

These mooncakes have a sweet filling made of coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds. Yum!Recipe twist: Use egg molds to make these cute mooncakes!

Beautiful mooncakes--ready to be baked!

Homemade mooncakes--beautiful and so much fun to make!Looking for more mooncake recipes?  Check out these other recipes:

Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)

Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do)

Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1: Making the Syrup and Taro Root Filling (Banh Deo: Cach Nau Nuoc Duong, Lam Nhan Khoai Mon)

Snowskin Mooncakes Part 2: Making the Dough and the Cakes (Cach Lam Vo Banh)

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Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do)

This is a follow-up to my earlier post on Mooncakes.  In keeping with a more traditional recipe, these sumptuous baked treats have a sweet red bean filling.  Depending on where you live, finding mooncake molds can be challenging.  In the below video recipe, I show you how to make mooncakes using a silicone mini pan.  These mini pans are easy to find in stores and online and come in all sorts of cute shapes and sizes.  They work really well and are great substitutes when you don’t have the mooncake molds but still want to make and enjoy these wonderful cakes.

Some Notes:

General rule:  the filling to dough ratio is 2:1.

In the video, I use a Wilton Silicone Mini Leaf and Pumpkin Mold.  The proportions are:

Filling: 2 1/2 oz or approximately 75 grams
Dough: 1 1/4 oz or approximately 38 grams

The traditional mooncake mold I use is 63-75 grams.  The proportions are:

Filling:  1 3/4 oz or approximately 50 grams
Dough:  7/8 oz or approximately 25 grams

Check-out the Piggy Mooncakes recipe I shared earlier for more helpful tips.

Watch the video below for instruction.

Ingredients

for the Filling:
1 cup dried red beans
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar (adjust to your taste)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp peanut oil

for the Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup syrup
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 egg yolk

for Rolling the Cakes:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

for the Egg Wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Rinse red beans with cool water several times until water is clear.  Add beans into a large pot along with the salt.  Fill pot halfway with water.  Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, remove lid and stir.  Cover and simmer over Low heat for 30 minutes or until beans are soft.  (You should be able to easily smash a bean between your thumb and forefinger.)

Scoop out the red beans using a slotted spoon and reserve the liquid.  Add sugar and vanilla sugar and combine well.  Add beans into a food processor.  For every 1 cup of the beans add 1/3 cup of the liquid from cooking the beans.  Puree until smooth and creamy.  Do the same for the remainder of the beans.

Spoon filling into a pan.  Add vegetable oil to the filling.   Cook the pureed beans over Low heat stirring constantly.  Initially the filling is soft, wet and spreadable.  After 5-7 minutes the filling dries out and starts to pull away from the pan.  After another 3-4 minutes the filling sticks together resembling a dough.  (Total cooking time is approximately 10 minutes.)  Remove from the heat and allow to cool until it can be handled.  Roll into balls depending on the size of your pan.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Sift together all-purpose flour and cake flour.  In a small bowl or cup add syrup, oil and egg yolk.  Mix together until evenly blended.  Make a well in the flour and slowly pour in the syrup mixture.  Using a fork, combine the flour and syrup mixture together by stirring in circles from the edge of the bowl to the center.  After a minute, a soft dough forms.  Continue stirring until all the dry flour is worked into the dough.  Gently knead the dough a few times with your hands.  Don’t overwork the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a tray with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mator parchment paper.

Sift the remaining 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour.  (This is used to roll the cakes.)

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead the dough gently several times.  Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a circle.  Place a filling ball in the center and then gently work the dough around the filling so it’s smooth.  Pinch the dough together to seal the edges.  Roll between your palms until smooth.   Use a toothpick to make a few holes on the underside of the cake to allow the steam to escape when baking.

If using a silicone mold, brush the mold with a generous amount of flour.  Place dough ball into the cake mold and gently press the dough into the mold.  Poke a few holes using a toothpick.  Flip the pan over and shake it gently to release the cake.

If using a mooncake stamp mold, brush the mold with a generous amount of flour.  Place dough ball into the mold and gently press the dough into the mold.  Poke a few holes using a toothpick.  Flip the mold over so the flat side is resting on your work surface.  Press the handle to release the cake.

Remove any bubbling in the dough by pricking with a toothpick.  Use a small pastry brush to brush off any excess flour.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

To make the egg wash, combine egg yolk, water and sesame oil.  Stir and then strain.  Set aside for now.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Spritz each cake with a bit of water.  Brush the egg wash on each cake coating it evenly.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Return cakes to oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes until they are lightly brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in air-tight container.  Enjoy the following day.

Yields:  6-8 cakes

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Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)

Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is just around the corner and I have mooncakes on the brain.  For those not familiar with mooncakes, they are the baked delicacy for the Mid-Autumn Festival.  These delicious cakes come in a variety of different shapes and sizes but what they have in common are rich, dense fillings wrapped in a thin, tender pastry dough stamped with intricate patterns and then baked to a lovely honey color.  You can’t miss these around this time of the year because they are everywhere.  Because they are time-consuming to make and require special molds or stamps, most people find it convenient to just buy them.  The truth is mooncakes are really easy to make and much more rewarding to give to family and friends when they are homemade.

This year instead of making the traditional mooncakes, I decided to do something different and fun and make my mooncakes into the shape of pigs.  These cute little piggy mooncakes are pretty easy to make provided you have a little bit of patience and some time.  What I really loved about making these is that no two piggy looks the same.  When you’re done you’ll have a plateful of adorable little pigs staring back at you and they will make you smile.  They’re almost too cute to eat!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

If you don’t like peanut oil or have allergies, substitute with a mild-tasting vegetable oil like soybean or canola.

Instead of making the syrup from scratch–very time consuming and difficult to get right, I use a breakfast syrup with molasses.  Any variety will work provided it’s nice and thick.  I also like Lyle’s Golden Syrupwhich is meant for baking and cooking.  It has a really nice distinct flavor.

You can vary the filling.  This recipe uses lotus seed but you can use mung bean (see my Shortcut for Cooking Mung Bean), red bean, taro root, etc.  Boil the filling until soft (as I show in the video), add sugar and puree.  Then, cook the filling in a pan until a soft dough forms and roll into balls.  From here, the recipe is the same.

Lotus seeds are generally very hard once dried.  If you have the time, I would recommend soaking for an hour or so before cooking.  Also, if you see any green stems in your lotus seeds, be sure to discard them.  These stem are really bitter and will ruin the filling.

When wrapping the dough around the filling ball, if you get air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick and then smooth out the dough.  If you leave the air pockets, your pigs will have bubbly lopsided faces once they’re baked.

I use beans for the eyes because they don’t melt.  I’ve tried chocolates and other candies and they all melted so my pigs looked like they were crying.  The beans hold-up really well in the oven, are the right size and easy enough to find at any store.  If you have small enough fingers, you can try using sesame seeds for the eyes.

When you pop the cakes into the oven for the last time at 425 degrees, bake for no more than 5-6 minutes.  It may seem like they’re not brown enough but they are.  Resist the urge to bake them longer because they will burn.  The ears and nose brown up quickly and you don’t want to burn them after all of your efforts.  The cakes will continue browning after you’ve removed them from the oven.

The mooncakes are not to be eaten right away.  If you can’t resist and must have one immediately, you’ll notice the cake is crusty and crunchy–this is not the intended texture.  Instead, store the cakes in an air-tight container for at least a day to allow them to soften so they are more cake-like.  So resist the urge to devour these delicious mooncakes.  Store them for a day and you’ll be amazed at how soft and moist they are the next day.

After a day or two refrigerate the cakes.  You can warm them up in the microwave by cooking on Low for 30 seconds.

Don’t forget to remove the eyes before eating or you’ll crack a tooth.  They are decorative only and not meant to be eaten. 🙂

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

for the Filling
1 cup dried lotus seeds (approximately 5 oz)
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar (adjust to your taste)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp peanut oil

for the Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup syrup
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 egg yolk

for Rolling the Cakes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

for the Piggies Eyes
24 black or red beans

for the Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Rinse lotus seeds with cool water several times until water is clear.  Remove any discolored seeds and debris.  Add lotus seeds into a large pot along with the baking soda.  Fill pot halfway with water.   Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, remove lid and stir together.  Skim off the foam from the top and discard.  Cover and simmer over Low heat for 25-30 minutes or until seeds are soft.  (You should be able to easily smash a seed between your thumb and forefinger.)

Scoop out cooked lotus seeds using a slotted spoon being careful not to transfer the liquid and place in a medium bowl.  Add sugar and vanilla sugar and combine well.  Use a food processor or blender to puree the lotus seeds until they are smooth and creamy.

Spoon filling into a pan.  Add the peanut oil to the filling.   Cook the pureed lotus seed over Low heat stirring constantly.  Initially the filling is soft, wet and spreadable.  After 5-7 minutes the filling dries out and starts to pull away from the pan.  After another 3-4 minutes the filling sticks together resembling a dough.  (Total cooking time is approximately 10 minutes.)  Remove from the heat and allow to cool until it can be handled.  Roll into 12-1 oz size balls.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Sift together the all-purpose flour and cake flour.  In a small bowl or cup add the syrup, peanut oil and egg yolk.  Mix together until evenly blended.  Make a well in the flour and  pour in the syrup mixture.  Using a fork, combine the flour and syrup mixture together by stirring in circles from the edge of the bowl to the center.  Continue stirring until all the dry flour is worked into the dough.  After a minute or so, a soft dough forms.  Gently knead the dough a few times with your hands.  Don’t overwork the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a tray with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mator parchment paper.

Sift the remaining 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour.  (This is used to roll the cakes.)

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead the dough gently for 1-2 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Using a rolling pin, flatten 1/2 oz of dough into 3-inch circle.  Place a filling ball in the center and then gently work the dough around the filling covering it completely.  Pinch the dough together to seal the edges.  Roll between your palms until smooth.   Use a toothpick to make a few holes on the underside of the cake to allow the steam to escape when baking.

Use a small spoon to make indentations for the eyes.  Drop in the beans for the piggy’s eyes.  Take a small amount of dough and roll into an oval shape to make the pig’s nose and position just below the eyes.  Take pea-sized amounts of dough and form into triangles for the ears.  Affix the ears to the pig’s head.  Gently flatten the ears against the piggy’s head.  Use a round toothpick to make 2 nostrils for the pig.

Make 6 pigs at a time.  Remove any bubbling in the dough by pricking with a toothpick.  Use a small pastry brush to brush off any excess flour.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

To make the egg wash, combine the egg yolk, water and sesame oil.  Stir and then strain the mixture.  Set aside for now.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Spritz each cake with water.  Brush the egg wash on each pig coating it evenly.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Return the cakes to oven and bake for another 5-6 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an air-tight container.  Enjoy the following day.

Yields:  12 cakes

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