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a slice of a fresh mooncake
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Traditional Mooncakes with Mixed Nuts

Mooncake is a delicacy of the Mid-Autumn festival. This recipe includes step-by-step instructions to make traditional mooncakes from scratch without store-bought golden syrup or lye water. The recipe will make 8 cakes, 100 grams (3.5 oz) each.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert and Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: banh nuong, banh trung thu
Servings: 8 cakes
Calories: 323kcal
Author: Sophie

Ingredients

For the Mixed Nuts Filling (Not all are required. See Notes at the bottom for more details)

  • 0.35 oz orange peel
  • 1.75 oz lap cheong sausage
  • 0.1 oz kaffir lime leaves
  • 2.8 oz candied winter melon
  • 1 oz candied ginger
  • 1.75 oz pork floss
  • 1.75 oz roasted chicken (about 1 roasted drumstick)
  • 1 oz roasted cashew
  • 0.9 oz roasted pumpkin seed (pepitas)
  • 1 oz roasted watermelon seed
  • 0.5 oz roasted white sesame seed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Mei Kuei Lu wine, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour, toasted (see Notes for more details)
  • 8 salted duck egg yolks

For the Mooncake Dough

  • 7 oz all-purpose flour or cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 oz neutral-flavored oil
  • 3.75 oz homemade golden syrup

For the Egg Wash

Instructions

Prepare the Filling

  • Poach orange peel in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Also poach lap cheong for 1-2 minutes.
  • Julienne then mince orange peel and kaffir lime leaves finely. Cut candied winter melon and ginger into thin strips then dice into small pieces.
  • Cut lap cheong into thin strips then dice into small cubes. Cut pork floss into short pieces and shred roasted chicken into thin strips, if using.
  • Add cashew to a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Then add all remaining nuts and pulse a few more times.
  • Add a bit of oil to a pan over medium heat. Then add roasted chicken and lap cheong, stir and cook briefly until fragrant.
  • Add all other ingredients: pork floss, mixed nuts, candied fruits, orange peel and kaffir lime leaves to the pan. Stir to distribute all ingredients evenly in the mixture.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan, stir to combine. Then add 1 tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu wine, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly. You can taste and adjust the flavorings to taste.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour to the pan. Stir to combine thoroughly. The filling should stick to itself (not tightly, but not too loosely) when you press it together. If it does not stick, you can add a bit more oil and glutinous rice flour. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Place salted duck egg yolks in a heat-proof plate and mix gently with 2 teaspoons of Mei Kuei Lu wine and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil. Cover and steam for 7 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  • Prepare a scale with a piece of plastic wrap on top. Place about 20-25 grams (0.7-0.9 oz) of filling on top of the plastic wrap, then place a salted egg yolk, and top with enough filling so that the total weight is 60 grams (2.1 oz). Wrap the plastic wrap around the filling, twist, turn and apply pressure to form the filling into a small ball. You can watch this step in the video. Continue with the remaining filling. We will need 8 small balls of filling.

Prepare the Dough

  • Add flour either to a mixing bowl or on a clean working surface. Sprinkle baking soda over flour and then mix thoroughly.
  • Make a small well in the center of the flour, then add an egg yolk and 30 grams (1 oz) of oil. Use your hand to break the egg and mix it with the oil. Then add the golden syrup. Fold and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Shape it into a ball, cover and rest for 40-45 minutes.
  • After resting the dough, knead it briefly, just several seconds. Then divide the dough into 8 pieces, each piece weighs 40 grams (0.14 oz). Roll and form each piece into a small ball.

Assemble the Cakes

  • Take a dough ball and flatten it out with your fingers or with a rolling pin. Place the filling ball in the center. Wrap the dough around the filling to seal the filling completely. You can watch how to do this in the video. Continue to wrap all the filling balls with the dough balls.
  • Dust your hands with flour. Roll the mooncake in your hands to lightly dust it with flour. Also dust the mooncake mold with flour thoroughly.
  • Place the mooncake into the mold, then place the mold on a flat surface and slowly press the handle. You may need to release the handle, press again and repeat a few times. The first press can be gentle, then increase the pressure with subsequent presses. Dust the bottom with additional flour as needed.
  • Check the bottom of the mold. If all corners are evenly filled with dough, you can release the cake from the mold.

Bake the Cakes

  • Preheat your oven to 365°F or 185°C. Arrange mooncakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a small and sharp needles to poke several small holes on top and on the sides of the cakes. Try to make the holes not too obvious. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While baking the cakes, prepare the egg wash by mixing all ingredients for the egg wash together.
  • Take the cakes out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 330°F or 165°C. Carefully brush all sides and the top of the cakes with egg wash. Don't let excess egg wash fill the gaps on the top of the cakes or the patterns will not turn out pretty. Bake the cakes for another 7 minutes.
  • Take the cakes out of the oven and brush all sides and the top one more time. Then bake for another 7-8 minutes or until the cakes are golden.
  • Let the mooncakes cool completely on the baking sheet. Then store them in a cool, dry place and cover. They taste best after about 2-3 days. After 3 days, you can store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Video

Notes

  1. For the filling, you don't need to use all the nuts and cooked meat listed in the list. Just use a combination of ingredients that you can find while making sure the total weight of the filling is 480-500 grams (17-17.5 oz), including the salted egg yolks. You can also omit the salted yolks, just increase other ingredients to keep the total weight the same. Each salted egg yolk weighs about 11-14 grams (0.4-0.5 oz).
  2. Among the choices for cooked meat, lap cheong is the most essential one. You can omit the pork floss and roasted chicken, and replace with other ingredients like nuts. 
  3. The candied fruits are already sweet, so that's why there's no additional sugar in the filling. You can use candied winter melon, candied ginger or candied lotus seed. If you cannot find them at Asian grocery stores, you may try using dried fruits that are sweet.
  4. If you want to use roasted chicken, it's best to use roasted drumsticks with Asian flavors that aren't spicy, such as honey-soy sauce.
  5. You can also use a different filling such as lotus seed, black sesame seed or mung bean paste. 
  6. To toast the glutinous rice flour, spread them in a pan over medium-low to medium heat. Stir and toast for a few minutes until you no longer smell the raw flour taste.
  7. Cake flour will result in a slightly softer mooncake skin. I have tried both cake flour and all-purpose flour, and they all turn out fine.
  8. This mooncake dough recipe is specifically tested with our golden syrup recipe. If you decide to use store-bought syrup, the result may be slightly different, but please feel free to adjust and experiment.
  9. If the temperature in your oven is uneven, you may want to rotate the baking sheet so that the cakes will have even colors. I also prefer a light-colored baking sheet over a dark one for this recipe. The bottom of the cakes may get darker colors when baked on a dark-colored baking sheet. You can avoid this by lining the baking sheet with 2 or 3 layers of parchment paper.
  10. When it comes to oven temperature and baking time, you may need to adjust as needed since not all ovens are the same. Some recipes require spraying the cakes with a thin layer of water before baking to prevent cracking. We've never done it and we have baked more than 10 batches of mooncakes and never had cracking.
  11. I recommend reading the post for detailed explanations and tips if you have time.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg