Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (even though it’s spring in NZ!). This year I’ve found joy in sharing mooncakes with others who haven’t tried them before. This hasn’t always been the case as I’m still somewhat traumatised from the days when kids at school would call the food I loved “disgusting and smelly”. It made me want to disassociate from my food, and ultimately my culture. After many years of eating floppy white sandwiches that would stick to the roof of my mouth, I’m so glad there’s a lot more openness around culture and food now.
Celebrating festivals like Mid-Autumn Festival is important for immigrants like myself to connect to our cultural identity. Feeling more safe to lean into my Chinese identity now, I find myself digging deeper into why we celebrate these festivals.
Mid-Autumn Festival is likened to Chinese thanksgiving because involves family reunions, harvests and feasting with gratitude. It dates to more than 3000 years ago when the Chinese emperor would worship the moon for bountiful harvests. Like a lot of Chinese traditions which involve wordplay, the full moon symbolises family reunions, when the moon is the fullest and most bright.
Why the bunny? Mid-Autumn festival is based on the legend of Chang’e, the moon goddess who lived on the moon with her pet rabbit.
Traditional higher-end mooncakes come in tins of 4 and can often be very pricy. My favourite flavour is always lotus paste with twin yolks. But even better, the modern twist called the snowskin mooncake has an outer layer that is stretchy like mochi. I was so delighted to come across this recipe on Youtube so I can make snowskin mooncakes without a mould. In the recipe below, I made adjustments using the ingredients I had and chose to use the microwave instead of steaming to speed up the process.
The best thing is being able to use these cute bunnies as cake decorations. They work a treat for bunny cupcakes or the cutest bunny cakes!
Snowskin Mooncake Recipe
- 45 g milk powder
- 25 g cornflour
- 100 g milk
- 2 eggs
- 45 g castor sugar
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp matcha powder
- 33 g glutinous rice flour
- 33 g rice flour
- 20 g cornflour
- 20 g castor sugar
- 150 g milk
- 13 g condensed milk
- 20 g oil
- Handful of black sesame seeds
- In a bowl whisk together the milk powder, cornflour and milk until smooth
- Add in the eggs and castor sugar. Continue whisking until smooth
- Using a sieve, strain the mixture while pouring it into a nonstick pan
- Add the butter and cook over low heat
- It will start to clump, keep stirring until the mixture forms into a dough. Use your spatula to get rid of any lumps
- Divide the filling into 3 portions
- In separate bowls, add matcha powder to one portion and cocoa powder to another portion, leaving one with the original custard flavour
- Wrap the 3 portions with gladwrap and put into the fridge
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients under snowskin ingredients and whisk until smooth
- Pour the mixture through a sieve into another bowl
- Put a plate on top of the bowl and microwave for 1min
- Take it out, stir it around. Some of the liquid should be absorbed
- Put it back in the microwave for another minute
- Take it out and knead the snowskin dough until smooth and stretchy
Putting it together
- Take out 12g of the snowskin dough and knead a drop of pink food colouring through
- Take the custard filling out of the fridge and divide 4 portions of each flavour
- Roll each portion into balls. There should be 12 balls
- Weigh out 20g of the white snowskin dough, roll it out and flatten on your palm, creating a thinner part in the centre
- Take 1g of the pink snowskin dough and flatten in the middle. The colour should peek through the other side
- Put one of the filling balls in the middle and seal the ball, rolling it into a smooth round ball
- Dust glutinous rice flour on top and roll until smooth
- Using chopsticks, gently create two lines where the pink is for the rabbit ears
- Add black sesame seeds to create the eyes
- Roll out a tiny ball of dough for the bunny tails and use a bit of water stick it on
- Repeat with the other 11 balls to create 12 snowskin mooncake bunnies