Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! To me, store-bought mooncake is like the fruitcake of the East- a traditional holiday dessert that really no one loves to eat. But five years ago, Felicia and I bought our mom a set of mooncake molds for Christmas and a delicious, new family tradition began.
Over the years, we’ve experimented with making fresh red bean walnut, black sesame, matcha, and even chocolate mooncake variations. But our favorite flavor for the past two years has been taro white bean and so that’s what’s finally making it onto Pancake Yancake! Also of note, this recipe uses neither alkaline water nor golden syrup. Traditional recipes may use alkaline water to produce that deep, golden color and golden syrup to produce a pliable dough. Baking soda and maple syrup are ingredients our family usually has on hand and they work just fine.
Makes 30 small (1.5″) mooncakes
For the taro filling
- 350g cooked* taro, mashed
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 75g granulated sugar
- 150g walnuts, finely chopped in food processor
- 350g cooked** canneli beans, pureed in food processor
For the dough
- 1 tsp baking soda + 2 tbsp water
- 240g maple syrup
- 100g vegetable or canola oil
- 400g all-purpose flour
For the egg wash
- 1 large egg, beaten
*To cook taro: Cut off skin, cut in cubes, boil for 10-15 minutes or until pierces easily with a fork. Drain. Of note, raw taro can be irritating to skin so wash hands after handling.
**To cook beans: In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, add beans and 1 cup water. Cook on “beans/chili” setting or until soft. Drain.
- To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine baking soda and water. Add maple syrup and oil and mix until emulsified. Add flour and mix until dough just comes together. If dough is too sticky, continue to add flour by the spoonful until dough passes roll test (small piece of dough can be rolled smoothly into a ball). Cover and let dough rest for 1 hr. Meanwhile, make filling.
- To make the filling: In a large pot, combine the mashed taro, coconut milk, coconut oil, and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-10 min or until mixture becomes a thick paste. Let cool. Add chopped walnuts and pureed white bean. Mix until well combined. Divide filling into thirty 30g balls. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the mooncakes: Divide dough into thirty 25g balls. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out dough into a thin circle. Encase a ball of filling completely and smooth shape into an ovoid log. Oiling mooncake mold as needed, mold filled dough onto a lined baking tray. Repeat for total of 30 mooncakes. Midway, preheat oven to 375°F.
- To bake: Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops and sides with egg wash. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- To eat: Let cool. Pastry will harden as it cools. For crunchier texture, can eat warm or shortly after baking. However traditionally, mooncakes are allowed to rest for at least 1 day so that the pastry becomes soft and shiny (from oil seeping out in a process known as 回油). Best consumed next day; refrigerate if keeping for longer.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!