Of course, when my cousins and I were younger, we saw a lot more of each other and our parents would often organise outings. But, as we've grown up and started work and university, there seems to be less time to spare so I'm very grateful for for the birthdays, anniversaries and festivals that force us to put aside some time and come together.
We are celebrating the mid-autumn festival at my house a little early this year, to accommodate busy schedules. The mid-autumn festival is one I look forward to months in advance because it means I get to further hone my recipe for moon cakes. I started making them the mid-autumn festival when I was 14 and it wasn't until last year that I finally perfected them!
Those of you in New Zealand will appreciate how expensive moon cakes are and, it was a visit from my nana (who was here for a holiday), that prompted me to show off my baking skills. This was almost 10 years ago before I had done much baking or had a fully functioning oven. Although my very first batch didn't turn out that great, I will always remember the day and a half that it took my nana and I to make them and how much fun we had.
|Remember to remove the bitter centres|
|Placing the lotus paste inside the pastry|
|Pushing out the mooncake of the mould|
My nana and I still reminisce about the first time we made mooncakes and, every year, I ring home at mid-autumn festival to give her updates on how the recipe is coming along.
Do you have a recipe that's taken you this long to get right? What about a favourite recipe that you love making with your family and friends?
This recipe was entered into Sweet New Zealand #26, a monthly Kiwi blogging event started by Alessandra Zecchini, hosted by Carmella at Easy Food Hacks.
Mooncakes with lotus seed filling (makes 12)
Lotus seed filling
400g lotus seeds (no centres!)
200ml vegetable oil
lots of water
1. Rinse and soak the lotus seeds for at least 4 hours. This is best done overnight. Remove any bitter centres as you find them.
2. Place the lotus seeds in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the head and let simmer until they are mushy.
3. Drain the lotus seeds and mash into a smooth paste. Use a food processor or mash through a sieve for a very fine texture.
4. In a non-stick pan, combine the lotus paste with the sugar until it dissolves.
5. Stir in 1/4 of the oil until well incorporated into the paste. Repeat with the rest of the oil, adding 1/4 at a time. Keep stirring until the oil is fully combined and the paste becomes thick.
6. Remove from heat and let the paste cool completely.
100g plain flour
60g golden syrup
1/2 tsp lye water
30g vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl, combine the golden syrup, lye water and oil.
2. Sift the flour into the bowl. Lightly combine and knead into a dough. Cover with glad wrap and rest for an hour.
1 tsp water
1. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each into a small ball shape.
2. Divide the lotus paste into 12 equal portions and roll into a small ball shape.
3. Take one portion and roll out into a circle about 1/2cm thick and wrap the lotus paste inside. Don't worry if it doesn't look too pretty, just roll the mooncake in your hands to get rid of any lines and patch any gaps with extra pastry.
4. Lightly spray your mold with oil and place the mooncake inside. Press the handle firmly to make an imprint. Transfer onto a lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining portions.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water for the eggwash.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180°C, brushing the mooncakes with the eggwash at the 10 minute mark. Bake until the mooncakes are a nice, golden brown.
7. Cool on a wire rack before storing. The pastry will become oily over the following days - don't panic as this is supposed to happen :)