A delicate, delectable treat for celebrating Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, snow skin mooncake with custard filling delivers enchanting texture and flavour.
Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) is just around the corner! This year, it falls on the 4th of October. I’ve been busy these days testing recipes for mooncakes, the traditional delicacy that Chinese people enjoy on this special occasion. Today, I’d like to show you how to make no-bake snow skin mooncake stuffed with irresistible custard filling (奶黄冰皮月饼).
What are Chinese mooncakes
As its name suggests, mooncakes (月饼) are cakes that resemble the shape of the moon. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the year which is a full moon day. Apart from the tradition of moon gazing, eating mooncakes is an absolute must for Chinese around the world.
Mooncakes come with different looks and tastes. The most popular type of mooncake, known as Cantonese mooncake, is a brown, round pastry baked in the oven. Waiting for a new oven to be fitted in our Red House, I decided to cook some snow skin mooncakes (冰皮月饼) which doesn’t involve baking.
No bake snow skin mooncakes
Originating from Hong Kong (though some believe it’s from Singapore), snow skin mooncake has a white out layer and is always served cold (that’s how it got the name “snow skin”). Made of glutinous rice flour, rice flour and wheat starch, etc., the skin part has a slightly chewy, sticky and springy texture which I find very interesting and pleasant.
Nowadays, you can find colourful snow skin mooncakes in Chinese bakeries. My recipe suggests you use two natural ingredients to achieve green and purple: matcha powder (finely ground green tea) and purple sweet potato powder (Yes! sweet potato comes in purple too!). You can find them in Chinese shops and some whole food stores.
How to make the custard filling
The filling of snow skin mooncakes come in a wide variety too. Red bean paste, lotus seed paste or chestnut paste are common choices. Personally, I like Chinese-style custard filling (奶黄馅) the most. It’s made of egg, butter, powdered milk, wheat starch, etc. and has a pretty solid texture.
A few tips for you before moving on to my detailed recipe:
- Have a pair of plastic gloves ready. They will come in handy when you handle the sticky dough for making the mooncake’s skin.
- Make sure you chill the dough and the filling in the fridge before assembling the mooncakes. The hardened dough and filling are easier to shape.
- To achieve an authentic look for the mooncake, you need to use a special mooncake mould which is available both in Chinese shops and mainstream online shopping platforms. Apart from classic round mooncakes, I’ve also made some square ones. Small muffin tin or jelly mould can do the job too (No matter what you use, the cake tastes the same anyway).
- Use sifted icing sugar to dust the mould to prevent sticking. Traditional recipes call for toasted glutinous rice flour instead. Personally I find the former works fine and involves less hassle.
Cantonese Mooncake with Salted Egg Yolk
Check out my recipe for a more traditional type of mooncakes. These Cantonese style mooncakes are oven-baked and filled with a delicious filing consisting of salted egg yolk & lotus paste.
Snow skin mooncake with custard filling (冰皮月饼)
For the skin
- 3 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 3 tbsp rice flour
- 2 tbsp wheat starch
- 3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- 120 ml milk, ½ cup
- 1 tbsp condensed milk
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
For the filling
- 45 g unsalted butter, melted, 1.5oz
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2½ tbsp wheat starch
- 40 g powdered milk, ½ cup
- 3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
You also need:
- icing sugar, Sifted , for dusting
Make the skin
- In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the skin until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into a deep plate. Steam over medium heat for 15 minutes (see note 1).
- Scrape the hardened dough off the plate. When cool enough to touch, knead with hands (using gloves to prevent sticking) until smooth and elastic (Colour the dough if you wish. Please refer to note 2).
- Keep refrigerated for 2 hours.
Cook the filling
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a small sauce pan (or a metal mixing bowl). Place it into a bigger pan filled with hot water. Heat up over a low heat.
- Stir the mixture constantly with a spatular until it becomes pretty solid (doesn’t stick to the spatular any more).
- When completely cool, keep in the fridge for 2 hours.
Assemble the mooncakes
- Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. Shape 9 balls with the filling.
- Flatten a piece of dough into a round wrapper with your fingers (gloves on). Place a ball in the middle. Gently push the wrapper upwards to seal completely.
- Place it into a mooncake mould (dusted with icing sugar to avoid sticking). Push gently to shape (see note 3).
Store & serve
- The mooncakes taste best when chilled. Place them in an air-tight container and consume within 48 hours. You may also freeze them for 1 month. Leave to thaw in the fridge before serving.
Wish you a very happy Mid-Autumn Festival if you are celebrating it. And wish you good luck in the kitchen if you are simply interested in making something beautiful and tasty for yourself or someone you love.