The country I pulled from the electronic hat was Singapore, and for a little while I was at a loss as it seems that rather than having it's own cuisine, Singaporean food is based on a mixture of Chinese, Malai and Indian cuisine. However, I was very lucky to stumble upon a fellow baking blogger who just so happened to be from Singapore, and this is where I was first introduced to the mooncake.
I looked at as many recipes I could find for many different kinds of mooncakes, but in the end I settled on an adaptation of a recipe found on the original blog I came across: Happy Home Baking.
Thankfully there are a number of East-Asian supermarkets in my area, so I found it quite easy to get hold of some red bean paste to use for my filling, however, I was advised by a friend that this was an "acquired taste", and I really disliked it - so just go in with an open mind!
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 20 mooncakes
For the filling:
400g red bean paste
For the "water" dough:
140g plain flour
10g icing sugar
50g vegetable shortening
For the "oil" dough:
150g plain flour
80g vegetable shortening
Red, yellow and green food colouring
Flour, for dusting.
- Start by preparing the filling: measure the red bean paste into 20g portions and roll these into balls in your hands. Place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge until ready to use.
- Next prepare the water dough. Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a mixing bowl then rub in the shortening until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in enough of the water to form a soft, pliable dough and then cover this with clingfilm and put in the fridge to set slightly, whilst you prepare the oil dough.
- For the oil dough, sieve the flour into a bowl and then mix the shortening into it by hand, until you get a soft dough (which I found to be similar in texture to a soft playdough!). Divide this dough into 3 equal pieces, and colour these red, yellow and green (respectively). Note: you could use any combination of colours you like here. Roll each dough out into a roughly equal sized rectangle and place to one side.
- Take the water dough from the fridge and knead on a lightly floured surface until it too resembles playdough in texture and pliability. This is where the instructions get a bit confusing, so bear with me! I've posted a step-by-step photo collage below should you need it! Roll this out into a large rectangle and then place the three coloured doughs in the centre of this, overlapping each colour slightly. Fold the edges of the water dough (the white dough) over the coloured dough, then cover with cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until completely flat. Starting at one of the shorter ends, roll the dough into a tight "Swiss roll" style log, and trim the ends. (I hope you're still following!) Cut the dough into 20 slices.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a flat baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
- For each mooncake, take a slice of the spiral dough (which looks super pretty at this stage, might I add!) and flatten it into a circular disk with your fingers. Place one of the red bean paste balls into the centre of the disk and wrap the dough around it, gently pinching the ends to seal. Place the mooncakes seam side down onto a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until all 20 mooncakes have been made.
- Bake the mooncakes for 10 minutes, then removed from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before returning to the oven to bake for a final 10 minutes. The mooncakes will be fairly squidgy when they leave the oven, so allow them to cool on the baking tray for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.