If I did not post a mooncake recipe this year, I would have felt like a bad Taiwanese American. I did make some last year, but that was more of a test run, using somebody else’s recipe. So this time, I went ahead and did some more tests, and came up with one that is 100% my own! Since Lunar New Year is around the corner, as is the Mid Autumn Festival, it is only customary that we eat mooncakes. They are these round little pastries that represent prosperity, and are usually filled with a mung bean, lotus seed paste, or red bean filling. Salted duck egg is often used inside of them as well! I chose to stray from traditional a bit, just because making those kinds of fillings are a lot more time-consuming, and you can achieve a similar paste-like filling from just using sweet potatoes or chestnuts! For the ingredients, it’s fairy straightforward and standard. The pastry uses flour, oil, golden syrup, and alkaline/lye water. For the latter two, golden syrup is just a caramel that is made with sugar, water, and lemon juice, while lye water is made by boiling water with a small quantity of baking soda. Both are easily purchasable in Asian grocery stores, but you can also just make them yourself(which is what I did!). For the filling, we went a little less traditional, using purple yam to create a nice, dramatic filling to contrast the golden brown color of the mooncakes themselves! For the paddles, mine were gifted to me by my Taiwanese family, but I’m sure you can just purchase those online too!
Makes 8-10 mooncakes:
85g golden syrup
1/2 tspn lye water
30g vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
Mix together everything minus the egg yolk to form your dough. For the mooncakes, take 30g of your dough and flatten it the best you can. Take 15g of the filling and roll into a small ball. Wrap the dough around the filling. Generously oil mooncake paddles and press the mooncakes into the paddles to form their shapes. Remove and place onto a lined sheet tray. Brush with egg yolk and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes to finish.
For the lye water, you can make it from scratch by boiling down 2 tbsp water with .1 grams of baking soda for 2 minutes. You don’t need a lot of lye water to make this recipe, but you can also purchase it at Asian supermarkets! You can also use lye water for things like pretzels!
For the golden syrup, you can make it by boiling down 3/4 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Once the sugar is golden brown, take off heat and stir in 1 tspn lemon juice to finish. You can also sub out the syrup with honey!
For the purple yam paste:
200g diced and peeled purple yam
5g canola oil
For the filling, start by boiling the yam in water for 5-10 minutes, or until fork tender. Strain and press through a potato ricer. Add in the other ingredients. If the mixture is super loose, heat on low heat and stir to evaporate any excess water. You want the filling to be thick enough to hold its shape if you were to swipe through it with a spoon. Wrap and refrigerate the filling so that it is fully cold before using for the mooncakes.