Apple Honey Mooncake
Servings: 6 mooncakes ☻ Prep Time: 4 hours ☻ Cook Time: 1 hour
Something I’ve found fascinating is how Chinese holidays always fall on the same date as Jewish holidays. My whole life, I would gather with my family on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar to look at the moon and eat mooncakes (or other yummy food). I was amazed when I realized that this is the exact same day as the start of Sukkot, the Jewish holiday where we sit in booths outside to look up at the sky and eat!
So this year, I thought it was a great Ashkenasian idea to combine the Jewish Apple Honey Cake with the Chinese traditional mooncake for our holiday dinners. These Apple Honey Mooncake ended up with the perfect blend of apple honey cake and traditional Cantonese style mooncake. It’s not overly dense, but still hearty enough to make you feel satisfied.
56 grams homemade or store-bought golden syrup (*note 1)
1/2 teaspoon homemade
20 grams peanut oil (or vegetable oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk with a little salt (for skin egg wash)
- Digital scale
- Food processor
- Mooncake mold 50g (This is what I use, and I love it! There are also other styles and sizes on Amazon. If you are using my recipe, please make sure you are using the 50g ones.)
2. The recipe of kansui that I used is from Maggie at the Omnivore’s Cookbook. She has a great explaination of kaisui in details.
3. Place the mooncakes into an airtight container. After around 3 days, the color of the mooncakes will get darker and a little shiny (oily) . This is because the oil from the filling has started to moisture the outside pastry. This will make the mooncake taste better.
Step by Step Instructions
For the Mooncake Filling:
Heat a sauté pan over low heat. Add vegan butter into the pan. Once melted, add in the apple sauce.
Uncover and cook the apple sauce for about 30-45 mins over low heat. The volume of the apple sauce should reduce to at least half of the starting amount. Use a spatula to stir constantly to keep the apple sauce from burning.
When the volume has reduced to almost half your starting amount, add in honey, walnut flour and corn starch. Adjust the honey based on your preference. Cook until you see some oil separate from the mix in the pan. The mix should be sticky and foldable like a soft dough once finished.
Transfer the filling into a bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour until it’s chilled. Weigh around 22 grams of the filling for each piece and roll it into a smooth ball. Freeze them for at least 4 hours until they are very hard. This step is very important! The frozen hard filling ball will make the process of assembly easier.
For Mooncake Dough:
Mix golden syrup and kansui in a large bowl. Mix with a spatula very well. Then, add peanut oil (or vegetable oil) and mix again until evenly blended. It will look a little separated, but try to blend them as evenly as possible.
Sift the cake flour into the bowl. Gently fold the dough from bottom to top, like you are folding a cake dough, without deflating it. Do not stir the dough in a circular motion. It will toughen the dough and the dough will be too tough that won’t be able to use at all.
When the mix is fully combined, shape the dough into a ball. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky, but still hold its shape. If it’s too dry and falling apart, add in a little more oil. Do not knead the dough too much. Weigh 28 grams of the dough and roll it into a small ball. Seal with plastic wrap (to avoid the dough getting dry).
Work on the mooncakes one at a time. Pick one dough, press it into a flat disc. Roll into a small round sheet. About three times the diameter of the filling ball.
Take one filling from the freezer and place it in the center of the dough. Carefully wrap the dough around the filling. Spread the dough until it seals the filling in completely. It’s ok if some areas are thicker than others, just spread them as much as you can. As you roll them into a smooth ball, remember the thick area, as we will use that part as the top surface of the mooncake.
Roll the ball (dough with filling) a little oval shape, one side should be the thicker area. Slide the plastic pattern disc into the mooncake mold, pattern side down. Carefully place the ball into the mold. The ball should be slightly smaller than the mold.
Place the mold on the parchment and press the handle until you cannot move it any further. Pull the handle up and release the mooncake. Carefully hold the mooncake without squeezing it.
Preheat oven to 360 degrees F (180 C). Place the mooncakes on a big metal baking tray, 1 inch (2 cm) apart.
Bake on the middle rack for 5 – 6 minutes, until the dough toughens and the edges of the mooncakes start to turn golden.
Beat the egg yolk with a pinch of salt. Brush a thin layer of egg ONLY on the TOP of the mooncakes. Don’t brush the sides, and try not to brush too much egg. It can potentially fill up the pattern after baking. Place the mooncakes back in the oven and continue baking until the egg turns them golden brown, about 3 – 5 minutes.
Let the mooncakes cool in the tray before removing. Use a spatula to gently push mooncakes to detach them from the baking tray. Transfer to a plate to cool completely. The mooncake will be very soft and fragile when it’s hot. If you move them when they are hot, you will crush the mooncake easily.
Store mooncakes in an airtight container. The mooncakes can be served after 24 hours, and they will look and taste better after 3 days.