Moon Cake with Adzuki Bean

The 15th day of the 8th Lunar month is what the Chinese called The Mid Autumn Festival or Moon Cake Festival, when the moon is said to be the biggest and brightest of the year. This is one of the most heavily celebrated Chinese festivals, and most people would travel home to see their families.

No Mid Autumn Festival can be complete without enjoying some moon cake under the moonlight! Here is one of the most common type: an adzuki bean filled, Cantonese-style moon cake. You can make them with added salted egg yolk, lotus seed paste as well as dried fruit and nuts. Or, try a different Bing Pi Moon Cake.

Ingredients (filling):

  • 500g adzuki bean, soaked 2 hours and strained
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Ingredients (pastry):

  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 100ml syrup (take from cooking 40g brown sugar in 100ml water)
  • 50ml vegetable cooking oil
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

Preparation:

  1. Put adzuki bean in a deep saucepan with 1 litre of water. Bring to a boil on high heat then simmer it on low for about 1.5 hours, or till husk is detached from the bean.
  2. Mash the bean with a wooden spoon or blend it with a food processor then run it through a sieve to get rid of remaining husk.
  3. Sieve the bean paste through muslin cloth to drain away excessive water.
  4. Place the mashed bean back in the saucepan, and add in the sea salt, vegetable oil and brown sugar. Cook on low heat, and stir constantly till the mashed bean is thick and pasty.
  5. Remove from heat and place bean paste in a large bowl to cool. Divide paste into 13 to 14 balls.
  6. Set the oven on 400ºF/200ºC (180ºC for fan oven).
  7. Sift flour and dried yeast into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Make a dry well in the middle of the flour, and pour mixture of syrup and vegetable oil into the well.
  9. Stir it slowly to mix well then roll lightly with your hands till the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  10. Separate the dough into 13 or 14 parts, each weighing roughly 25 grams. Roll each into a round-shaped thin pastry dough, fill it with the adzuki bean paste ball, and wrap it up carefully.
  11. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour into the moon cake mould, press the filled dough firmly into the mould to get the shape of the moon cake then remove from the mould.
  12. Repeat with the rest of the dough and adzuki bean paste.
  13. Place the ready-to-bake moon cakes in a baking tray, brush a layer of egg yolk to coat the surface of each cake and place the tray on the middle deck of the oven.
  14. Bake for about 30 minutes, till the surface turns golden brown.

Versatility Note:

  1. If you wish to make one that's filled with salted egg yolk (moon cakes with egg yolk are generally more expensive), first bake the salted egg in the oven pre-set to 350ºF for 10 minutes, remove the firmed egg yolk, wrap it in the middle of adzuki bean paste, before wrapping the paste with the pastry dough.
  2. The sugar in this recipe has been reduced, and you can further reduce it according to your desired taste, or switch it to white sugar. But we do prefer brown, as it is healthier and gives a nicer aroma.
  3. You can get hold of moon cake moulds (pictured below) from most pastry equipment shops in Asia. But if you can't get one, you can use a muffin pan. Make a patterned stencil out of clean cardboard according to the size of the mould, place it at the bottom of the mould (remember to sprinkle some flour over it too) whilst pressing the filled cake dough against it. When the cake dough is taken out of the mould, the pattern would be pressed on to the top of the cake dough.
  4. Best enjoyed with some hot Chinese tea, to balance up the sweetness and the oily ingredients.

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