Mooncake Making 101

September is upon us, and for those who live in Hong Kong or Greater China, like me, the month marks the beginning of a new season, kicked off by the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 19.

I remember the first time I arrived in Hong Kong, I shuffled to Victoria Park with all the revelers and celebrants since there were apparently gigantic lantern carnivals and displays – never again. After living in Hong Kong for two years, I now avoid any large holiday celebrations like the plague. Now I know this might not be the best way of viewing these things, but after getting hustled and bustled every which way everyday on the overpopulated streets of Hong Kong for the past couple of years, I tend to veer the opposite direction of the crowds.

But that’s not to say I’m some sort of Mid-Autumn scrooge – in fact, I had loads of fun joining a Mooncake making class hosted by the Renaissance Harbourview Hotel’s Dynasty Restaurant last Wednesday!

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Chef Julienne

The class started with us washing our hands and donning the hotel’s aprons with their campaign slogan “Live Life to Discover” printed on it.

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We then watched the real experts in action:

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brushing the tops of half-baked mooncakes with beaten egg

The Ingredients:ย 

(Apologies in advance if you can’t understand some labels – the class was conducted in Chinese, and the Chris the food blogger beside me was ever-so-helpfully translating as best she could)

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flour

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syrup

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oil

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syrup again? translation help please? I see a water symbol (Update: Crits told me this was ‘alkaline water’ in the comments section!)

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lotus paste – I think this is what makes the mooncake yummy

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After making the dough, you roll it into cylinders and chop them into small pieces like this. Each piece is enough for 1 mooncake (this is the outer bread-y layer)

How to Make Mooncakes:

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flatten (photo courtesy of http://foodncrits.com/)

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put the lotus seed paste and egg yolk on top (photo courtesy of http://foodncrits.com/)

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push the egg yolk into the lotus paste and try to wrap the dough around the lotus paste and egg yolk (photo courtesy of http://foodncrits.com/)

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Roll the dough with the stuff inside into a pear shape and place in the paddle-mold. Hit on the table, hard. You should be hitting in between the top and the middle part. Hit on the right then hit on the left to loosen the mooncake inside, then hit face-down and catch the loosened-falling pre-baked mooncake. Understand?

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my babies. I think I was actually the worst in class. I even dropped my mooncake on the floor after hitting the paddle on the table face-down. I forgot I was supposed to catch it as it fell after being loosened by the paddling.

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You need to half-bake them first, and then take them out to brush egg batter on top

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Brushing the tops of the half-baked mooncakes with egg batter gives them the crispier and golden-brown-topped look. Of course I over-brushed mine and they came out more burnt than the rest.

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and voila! I was overenthusiastic about brushing that one on the left.

So I now have some mooncakes that I’m to leave for one week before eating (so that the egg yolk’s oil can be absorbed by the lotus paste). I tried one from the gift box the hotel gave me, and contrary to my previous mooncake eating experience, it was really good. Traditional like the one I tasted before (and hated), but not bad at all! I really liked the sweet-ish nutty-ish lotus paste filling. Mmmm.

I’m not a baker, but I definitely thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Also, while we were waiting for the mooncakes to bake, we got to sample the uber-famous dim sum from Dynasty at their fantastic dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, providing an excellent view of Victoria Harbour from Wan Chai. The har gow or shrimp dumpling (I think it was drunken shrimp in this case) was the absolute best I’ve ever tried. I had a three-course lunch but I was able to stuff at least three of those in my mouth in addition to the char siu bao, and other random dumplings (#dietfail).

I have yet to sample the results of my baking attempts, but we will see next week after I get feedback from the people I feed the mooncakes to!

Also, happy weekend everybody! TGIF! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Dynasty
3/F, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
+852 2584 6971
http://renaissanceharbourviewhk.com

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11 thoughts on “Mooncake Making 101

    • Yeni R says:

      Thanks! I hear the best are from The Peninsula but they sell out really fast. There are a million varieties to choose from, you might have a difficult time picking! Haha!

      Like

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