STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Make the Pineapple Filling
Cut off the top of the pineapple and peel it. Then use a pairing knife to remove the eyes.
Cup the pineapple into bite size pieces. Separate the hard core and crush it in a food porcessor first then blend the rest of the pineapple flesh into a rough puree. Transfer all the pineapple puree into a non-stick pot.
If you don't have a food processor, you can dice with a knife, which does take a bit of labor.
Add 2 tbsp of lemon zest, 1.5 tbsp of lemon juice, 125g of sugar, and 62g of honey. Honey is very important; it makes the filling easier to divide. So don’t skip it.
Simmer the pineapple puree over medium low heat until you get about 440-460 grams of pineapple paste. This process will take 20-30 minutes. In the beginner when the puree is wet and running, you can let it simmer on it's own. Once most of the moisture is gone and the paste becomes thick, you have to turn the heat to low and stir it constantly so you don't burn it.
Transfer pineapple paste into a sealed container and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until lukewarm.
Portion the filling into 16 pieces; each one should be 25g. Roll them in between your hands into a smooth balls. The jam is thick and sticky; It is best to wear gloves.
Cover the pineapple filling and set it in the fridge while you are working on the wrapper dough.
Make The Mooncake Wrapper
In a big mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
- 125g of inverted syrup or liquid honey; both will work. If you are interested in how to make inverted syrup, check out this video.
- 46g of vegetable oil, such as corn oil, soybean oil, or peanut oil
- 3g (1/2 tsp) of salt
- 13g (2.5 tsp) of Lye Water; It helps with the mallard reaction and gives the mooncake a nice golden color. However, it is optional; If you skip it, you have to add the same amount of water to ensure the dough comes out with the same consistency.
Mix this until the syrup and the oil is well-combined, then add 235g of cake four. If you don't have it, you can use all-purpose flour.
Use a rubber spatula and mix until a smooth dough forms. It will just take a few minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic film and rest it for about 30 minutes.
Divide the wrapper dough into 16 pieces; each one should be 25 grams. Roll them in between your hands into balls.
Wrap the Mooncake
Take a wrapper dough and use your thumb to poke it in the middle. Keep spinning and shape it into a little bowl.
Place the filling in. Use your forefinger and your thumb to squeeze around and push the wrapper up. When you get the very end, carefully pinch to close it. Roll it in between your hands to make it perfect. I suggest you wear gloves because the wrapper is a bit sticky.
Ok, all 16 of them are done. If you don't have a mooncake presser, you can bake them round. The taste is the same.
However, as a traditional dessert, the mooncake needs a pretty presentation. The filling is 25 grams; the wrapper is 25 grams, so you will need a 50-gram mooncake presser. You can click here to buy it
Take a mooncake ball and dust it with a little bit of cake flour. This will prevent the skin from sticking to the mold. Carefully put it into the mooncake presser. Then, gently press it down onto a baking pan that is lined with baking paper. Stay there for a few seconds to establish the shape then release it. Look at that, beautiful.
It is satisfying to press mooncakes...
Bake the Mooncake
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray some water onto the mooncake. Bake for 8 minutes.
While waiting, quickly mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water. Take the mooncakes out. Brush the egg yolk onto the surface. Don't brush too much at one time, just need a thin layer. Make sure you brush the side as well. If you brush too much by accident, the egg will create a film and ruin the pattern on the mooncake. You can dab it with kitchen paper carefully.
Stick them back to the oven, at the same temperature, and bake for 8 minutes.
Take it out again, and brush another layer of egg yolk. Put it back into the oven. And bake for another 8-12 minutes. This will be the third and the last time baking. Every oven is different. You should stay next to the heat and keep an eye on it. The filling is cooked already; we just want the wrapper to be golden brown.
Mine took about 9 minutes. This is how they look. You are done, but you can not serve them right away. They don't taste good at this moment. The skin is very dry. The color is not right. The aroma is not developed either.
You have to put them in a sealed container and leave them in the fridge for 3 days. This process is called "回油" in Chinese. It makes a huge difference in taste and texture. I made this batch 3 days ago so I can show you a comparison.
The left one just came out of the oven, you can see the dark brown color on the pattern, that is from brushing the egg. If you let it sit for a few days, the color becomes more even.
You can compare the side to see the difference. Freshly baked mooncake is hard and dry. After the Huiyou (回油) process, it becomes soft and moist. Also, the aroma is stronger and more complex.