Let’s bake Mooncakes

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It’s that time of year again… buying overpriced mooncakes! Not this year.

Although the pandemic has been a bit stressful and living in Melbourne means we were under some pretty strict lockdown rules, I was pretty happy to hear that those living on their own could nominate a social buddy to come visit… and so I became Lynn’s buddy! One of the first things we decided to do upon meeting after many months of not seeing each other was attempt to make mooncakes.

My mum used to make mooncakes when I was younger, and she still tells me about the trials and tribulations she went through trying to get the mooncake out of the old school wooden paddle. Luckily for us, I managed to procure these plastic moulds from deep within my cupboard (something my mum bought when she decided she had enough of the wooden paddle, but then discarded the plan altogether).

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Sharing my mum’s woes with Lynn, we were both a bit apprehensive about making mooncakes but were determined to give it a go. Upon reflection, the hardest thing about this whole endeavour was getting an accurate ratio of pastry: filling: egg, especially since we had purchased the lotus paste (we did not have the time to make this, although maybe next time?) and the salted egg yolk.

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We were quite aware (and slightly stressed after remembering my mum’s troubles) that the mould that we had wasn’t quite traditional and thus, were very proud of ourselves when we were able to recall high school algebra to determine the perfect weight required for each pastry, filling and egg. This was a particularly rewarding moment for us, as we actually became friends in a shared math class.. 12 years ago!

It was going so well, until we decided to follow a certain questionable recipe that recommended us to egg wash the pastry a couple of times during the baking process. This unfortunate step caused us to lose the detail from our beautiful rose mould, which resulted in a less than desirable pattern, but alas… it still tastes good.

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When planning to make mooncakes, we didn’t realise that it needed to “rest” for a couple of days. We were most sad that we couldn’t enjoy the culmination of our hard work together, so decided to try one straight out of the oven anyway – it still tasted great, although a bit more crispy. I then, painstakingly, hid my share of mooncakes for 3 days before revealing them to family (lest they eat them) and took the photo above.

The waiting game was meant to create a glossier and softer skin, which I think it achieved? It still tasted just as delicious to me, and was devoured quickly by my family!

Snow skin next time?

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