The Mooncake pastry is normally consumed at a period when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. It is the signature food of the Mid-Autumn festival, a holiday celebrated during the fall harvest. China, Taiwan, and South Korea are the three regions famous for celebrating the Mooncake holiday. The pasty can be made with different types of fillings but the classic Mooncake is made with an egg yolk in the middle which symbolizes the moon.
What is a mooncake in Chinese?
The mooncake in Chinese is a baked product.
When Do Chinese Eat Mooncake
The Chinese normally eat the Mooncake during the Mid-Autumn festival.
Why Eat Mooncake
The Mooncake is normally eaten by the Chinese to express love and best wishes. According to the Chinese tradition the Mooncake is eaten by family members, relatives, or friends.
Why Is Mooncake Round
The Mooncake is round because in Chinese the round shape of the Mooncake symbolizes completeness and unity.
In Chinese, the Mooncake is compared to the full moon and which symbolizes prosperity and reunion for all the members of a family. Round Mooncakes are associated with farming specifically the harvest moon that appears in the night sky in the Mid-Autumn festival.
When Was Mooncake Invented- the mooncake was invented during the Yuan Dynasty, during this period the rebel leader gave out mooncakes to the Chinese residents. Each of the distributed cakes had been made with a piece of paper inside it with a message to kill the Mongols on the 15th of the 8th month. The Mooncake, therefore, enabled a successful rebellion and which led to Zhu Yuan Zhang setting up the Ming Dynasty.
Who Invented the Mooncake- The mooncake had its predecessor, the Taishi cakes which originated from the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. During this period the Taishi cakes were made to commemorate Wenzhong who were the original inventors of the cake. The cake had a characteristic thin edge, and it was thick in the middle. The mooncake is believed to have come after the Taishi cakes.
Why were Mooncakes Invented- Mooncakes were instrumental in the Ming revolutionaries as they helped get rid of the Mongolian rulers of China. Mooncakes were invented to be used as a sacrifice at the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Mooncakes Chinese Story- the Mooncake tells the story of an ancient hero “Hou Yi” who shot down up to nine of ten suns during a disastrous year when ten suns rose at once. He, later on, became corrupted and tyrannical from the newly acquired strength that lead him to be offered a concoction of immortality.
How to Make Mooncake
Making the Dough
The process for making any pastry is by first starting with dough preparation and the same goes for the Mooncake. For this delicacy, you will need vegetable oil, lye water, golden syrup, and plain flour.
1. The first step is to use a kitchen scale and then measure the golden syrup, vegetable oil, and lye water.
2. You will then sieve the flour and proceed to add the above mixture at once. You will then combine all the ingredients using a whisk balloon. As you start mixing the flour, you might experience some difficulties but it will become easier as you continue mixing. You will end up with a soft dough.
3. Using a cling film, you will cover the dough and then refrigerate it for 30 minutes, this is done to allow the dough to relax and also prevent it from cracking when shaping and wrapping.
Making the Mooncake filling
Lotus Paste- the lotus paste can be purchased or made at home. However, making your own lotus paste is the best option because you are better able to control its sweetness and texture. Notable is that the Lotus paste is not always easily available. Alternatively, you can use the red bean paste.
Egg Yolk– the first step is to clean the salted egg and then proceed to crack it open. You will then remove the egg yolk, and wash it to get rid of the egg white. And with a piece of paper towel, you will dry the egg yolk. And then take the lotus paste and wrap it with the lotus paste.
Assembling the Mooncake
Remember that when you are making the pastry it has to end up smaller than the filling, and you will, therefore, measure one part pastry and two parts filling. The filling is usually made from the combination of the lotus paste and the yolk and since egg yolks have different weights, you will first measure the weight of the yolk and then add up to 35g of the lotus paste.
Take the lotus paste and wrap it on the egg yolk and then use your hands to achieve the recommended round shape, but be sure to make the center slightly thinner when compared to the edge. Once you have wrapped the egg yolk with the lotus paste, you will now close the top part by pushing up the paste, and then roll it into a ball and put it aside.
And if you find that it is too soft, you can put it into your fridge and let it firm up before wrapping it up with pastry. You will then wrap the filling with pastry, you will then roll the moon cake with your palms to form a ball. Get a bowl fill it with flour and roll the mooncake inside it.
This step eliminates the chances of the mooncake taking the shape of the mold when shaping. The piston should also be sprinkled with some flour you will then place the mooncake on a flat surface and plunge the piston on the mooncake and the pattern will be printed on the cake.
The next step will be to bake the mooncake in the midpart of your oven at 175ᵒC minimum and 350ᵒC for five to six minutes. Once cooked you will brush the mooncake with egg wash. You will then return the mooncake into the oven and bake for another ten minutes until it is golden brown. You will then remove the mooncake to cool at room temperature.
How to Eat Mooncake
The Mooncake is normally cut into small wedges and taken with tea. And in contemporary life in China, it has become customary for families and business people to present the Mooncake to their guests, including relatives and clients. A tradition that has been instrumental in the creation of the demand for Mooncakes.
Mooncake styles are available in different regional variations some of which are the Cantonese style mooncake that has different types of fillings such as chicken, duck, mushrooms, and nuts. There is also the Hong Kong-style mooncake, the Shanghai, Suzhou, Chaoshan, and Beijing among others.
The Chinese use the Mooncake to denote prosperity and union, the delicacy derived its symbolism from the period when the Chinese were under oppressive Mongol rule. So to help regain back their freedom, the rebel leader sent written messages hidden in the Mooncake telling the Chinese to kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month.