Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Year 2021's Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 21st of September and what is not to love about this Festival when it is filled with all sorts of mooncakes.
This year, I am thinking more about incorporating fruits in my mooncake. Since these mooncakes are best consumed fresh it only make sense to include something refreshing as well for the filling. Snow skin mooncakes, if stored correctly, can last up to a week in good storage condition in the fridge if you exclude the strawberries. If you do include the strawberries though, it is recommended that you consume them within 5 days but still store them in the fridge. I place the moon cake in their own individual packaging with an air tight lid.
Snow Skin mooncake are really delicate and has always been something the Asian enjoyed a lot. It reminds me of a traditional Japanese mochis but with a slight variation on the ingredients that are required. This mooncake are best served when they are completely chilled.
Wheat Starch is the key ingredients when making Snow Skin Mooncake
All snow skin mooncake's dough calls for wheat starch in its recipe. The reason to that is that when wheat starch are heated, they turn to a translucent dough, which is what makes the snow skin mooncake looks so delicate and pretty!
So what is a wheat starch, you ask? Wheat starch is a starch derived from wheat grain. Although the starch comes from a wheat grain (grains that usually contains gluten forming protein), they are actually processed in a way that removes the gluten part in the starch. This means that wheat starch is actually gluten free! Note that although the processing of wheat starch removes gluten, there is almost never a guarantee that they are a 100% removed and may still contain some traces of gluten. So, if you a high intolerance to gluten, I wouldn't suggest you take this risk. Unfortunately, there isn't any close substitute to wheat starch but you can use corn starch or potato starch instead. However, these substitutes this will mean that your mooncake will not have the same visual and consistency. I personally have not used these substitutes myself, so I am unable to illustrate the difference on opting out on wheat starch in the recipe.
Before you start with the preparation for this mooncake, there is one essential tool that you are going to need: Mooncake mould. There are a few different types of mooncake moulds out there and the most common and modern ones are the ones that has a self release trigger. A more traditional mooncake moulds are made out of wood, which is also great to use. All these moulds can easily be found on eBay or amazon, which is where I got most of my mould. The below picture if the ones I will be using in this post.
Functions of Rice flour in the dough
Snow skin mooncake doughs usually require that you use 3 different types of flours and they are: glutinous rice flour, rice flour and wheat starch. Glutinous rice flour is undoubtedly needed for that gooey texture in your snow skin and wheat starch as mentioned earlier is to create a translucent looking dough. The third flour, Rice flour, functions to hold everything together combining all the other flours and liquid making the cooked dough easier to work with. Without rice flour, the dough can become really soft and sticky and almost impossible to mould without it losing its shape due to its softness.
Dusting Wheat Starch Flour need to be dry heated
You wouldn't eat raw flour would you? If you are not a fan or raw flour, it is recommended that you always dry heat the dusting flour first to get rid of any nasties. The method is really simple, just place a few tablespoon or the amount of flour you think you will need for dusting the moon cake over a wide fry pan. Stir the flour in the pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the wheat starch starts to look like it wants to clump together. Other alternatives for dusting flour are glutinous rice flour or corn flour, which needs to be dry heated as well.
You can dry heat the flour in the oven as well. Simply turn the oven on at 100C for 20 minutes then turn off the oven and spread the flour out on a baking tray and leave them in there for 20 minutes. Make sure you do not put the flour in the oven with the fan on or there will be a lot of cleaning up to do.
Note: If you want to make a smaller quantity of mooncakes, simply divide them to half recipes to make 8 to 9 mooncakes.
Yield: 16-18 medium mooncake
100 g Icing sugar
60 g Wheat starch
100 g Glutinous rice flour
100 g Rice flour
460 g Milk
60 g Sweetened condensed milk
60 g Vegetable Oil
100 g Yolks (5 medium size Yolks)
40 g Corn Starch
115 g Caster Sugar
480 g Full Cream Milk
40 g Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
50g Cooked Wheat flour for Dusting
16- 18 Small Strawberries - stem removed and trimmed to size
For the cooked Dusting Flour
To prepare the dusting flour, place 50 g of the wheat flour into a frying pan and stir over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. When the flour starts to want create clumps, turn the heat off and transfer the cooked flour on to a tray to fully cool and set aside ready for assembly.
Any left over dusting flour after assembly can be kept in an airtight container to be used in the future.
For the Custard Filling
1. Heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whish the egg yolks and sugar together. Stream in the warm milk over the yolk mixture while whisking until well combined. Once all the milk has been added, transfer the custard base back into the pot and cook over low heat while continuously whisking. Continue to cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes or until the custard starts to thicken. The custard should not cook for less than 5 minutes. You want to evaporate enough water in the custard for it to set to a firm consistency.
Once the custard has thicken, turn off the heat and whisk in the room temperature butter until well incorporated. Transfer into a clean bowl with cling film touching the surface to cover. Leave in the fridge to cool completely.
The custard will cool set further as it cools making it easy to mould to a ball later.
2. When it is cool, scoop the custard with a medium size ice cream scooped and scrape off the excess. Press a trimmed strawberries in the centre of the custard, ensuring that the tip of the strawberries are not protruding through the custard. Scrape off any excess custard that may have overfill out from the ice cream scoop then release it on to a clean tray lined with parchment paper or cling film. Repeat the same process until you get 16- 18 pieces. Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble. Each piece of fillings including the strawberry weights approximately 40 g.
Note: The Custard can be prepared a day ahead. Ensure that you trim the strawberries that is below level with the mooncake mould to prevent the mould from squashing down on the fruit.
For the Snow Skin
3. Whisk all the ingredients for the Snow Skin dough together to combine then add in the cold milk gradually while continuously whisking until there are no lumps of flour. Lastly, add in the condense milk followed by the oil. The mixture should be quite liquid at this point and the oil may seem to float at the top. This is completely fine.
4. Cover the bowl with a cling film then poke a few holes on the cling film to allow steam to escape. Place the bowl over a rack in a pot of simmering water. Cover with a lid leaving a small gap open and let the snow skin steam for approximately 40-50 minutes or until there are no longer any liquid in the mixture. Refill the steaming water if necessary to prevent it from drying out.
At this point, you will notice the oil starts to rise to the top and this is not considered liquid, the liquid refers more to the rest of the ingredients. Do not worry about the separating oil at this point as we will be kneading them back in to the dough later on.
5. Once the Snow skin is ready. Remove the bowl from the steam pot. With a help of a spatula or knife, cut the gelled snow skin to chunks and scrape the dough off the bowl while it is still hot. Leave the dough to cool enough to handle by hands .
6. Once the snow skin is cool to touch, with a glove hands, massage the dough to incorporate the oil back into the dough by squeezing the dough in the oil with your hands. Continue to knead until it forms to a smooth and pliable dough. Wrap with cling wrap and leave to completely cool in the fridge until you are ready for assembly.
7. When the dough have cooled, divide the dough to 16- 18 pieces of 50 g each, saving a small amount of extra doughs aside.
Working with one dough at a time, dip your gloved hands with the cooked flour then roll the dough to a smooth ball. Press the ball of dough flat between your palms until they are at least more than half a size larger than the custard balls. Ensure that the centre of the dough is not too thin. Pinch a small piece of the extra snow skin dough that you have set aside earlier, flatten and press in the centre of the flattened dough. This ensures that the centre of the dough is thicker so that the strawberry do not protrude through the snow skin.
8. Place the custard filling with the tip side towards the centre of the dough where the extra dough lay. Cup the dough around the filling then press the seams together to seal. Roll the ball of mooncake in some flour then roll it between your palm to get rid of any excess flour.
9. Place the mooncake into the mould with the seam side outwards. Press gently to fit the mould then turn it around to sit on a flat tray. Press the trigger of the mould gently over the top of the mooncake to ensure that you imprint the pattern on top of the moon cake. Release the mould.
Repeat the same process for the rest of the dough and fillings.
If you are not consuming the moon cake straight away, place them in individual patty pans and store them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.