Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is one of the main holidays on the Chinese calendar. The moon is full and at its best and very special sweets are eaten. What are and how to cook Mooncakes or Moon Cakes
There Mid Autumn Festival Zhōngqiūjié 中秋节, is the second most important holiday in China, after the Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year. It is a very ancient custom, which has its origins in the period of the Western Zhou (1045 – 770 BC), when the sovereign, Son of Heaven tiānzǐ 天子 began to worship the moon. This ritual was very popular in peasant civilizations like the Chinese one, they came offered gifts to the moon and we met between dances and music to hope for a good harvest.
Legend has it that …
At that time, the sky was covered with 10 suns that threatened to destroy the earth, its products and humanity, until the archer Hòuyì 后羿, with his magic bow, he shot nine arrows destroying nine suns forever and leaving only one to shine in the sky. To pay homage to the portentous work, the Queen Mother of the West decided to give him an elixir of life, but the man with a pure soul was not interested in living an immortal life if he could not be with his beloved wife Cháng’é 嫦娥.
One day that Houyi was not at home, his perfidious student Péngmēng 蓬 蒙, broke in to steal the elixir and found himself in front of poor Chang’e, who, frightened by the unexpected presence, took the bottle and drank it in one gulp. . In that instant the girl flew to the moon and there she was forced to stay for eternity, the husband destroyed by the incident, to keep the memory of his wife vivid, he began to practice the cult of the moon, in which it seemed to be able to see the woman’s face.
How we celebrate today and what we eat
If we went to China at this time we would no longer find banquets with offerings to the moon, in fact the Mid-Autumn Festival has become an opportunity to get together as a family and hug relatives and friends, who on holidays return to their hometown to celebrate this ancient holiday together with their loved ones, hanging colorful lanterns And contemplating the moon while they eat the typical ones moon cakes, which in China are called yuèbing 月饼.
Moon cakes are today the quintessential symbol of the party, due to the typical round shape that recalls the image of the full moon. If once they were prepared at home, personalizing them with the family seal, or with auspicious characters, today this tradition is slowly disappearing, leaving room for the creativity of pastry chefs and bakers who delight in creating sweets with refined and extravagant tastes. you can buy for a few yuan. However, we want to convey the spirit of the party to you by offering you one of the most classic recipes of moon cakes.
Moon cakes with salty yolk
Lotus seed paste (the inner part)
1/2 tablespoon of salt – 120 g of sugar – 80 g of vegetable oil – 150 g of dried lotus seeds
First, soak the dried lotus seeds for about 6-8 hours, until they soften and open easily in the middle, always check that there is no bitter part inside and remove it if necessary. Then put them in the pot and cover them again with the water, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover with the lid and cook for 2 hours, until the water becomes milky and the lotus seeds are easily dissolved.
In case you are not sure try them, they must be very tender as if they melt in your mouth. At this point, transfer all the contents of the pot into the mixer, both water and seeds and blend well until you get a smooth and velvety consistency. Take a non-stick pan and put the mixture on it, heat everything over medium heat and add 1/3 of the vegetable oil, stir constantly so that the lotus seed mixture absorbs the oil well, when the dough has absorbed everything add 1/3 more oil and repeat the operation until the oil is finished. At this point you can add salt and sugar, immediately put all the above quantity and mix until it becomes full-bodied and compacted into a single dough, remove it from the pot and let it cool.
Dough of tartlets
180 g flour – 125 g of honey – 55 g of peanut oil
Take a bowl and pour in the honey and peanut oil, mix well with a whisk until they are amalgamated, add the flour and mix with a spatula to form a homogeneous mixture, wrap it in cling film and let it rest about 1- 2 hours before starting with the composition of the tartlets.
20 eggs with Chinese salted yolk
Break the salted egg and separate the yolk from the egg white, put the yolk in a bowl of water to remove all residual egg white, then place the egg yolks on a kitchen towel and dry them from any excess water. If you find it hard to find this particular food, typical of Chinese cuisine, you can prepare hard-boiled eggs and use only the yolk, even if it will not be the same thing.
Assembling the cupcakes
First of all you need to prepare the right portions for each cake so you need a kitchen scale, weigh the yolk and if it turns out to be 15 g, weigh 20 g of lotus seed paste, the two together must always weigh 35 g. Take a portion of lotus seed paste, form a ball and then crush it on the palm of your hand so as to have a base on which to place the yolk, take the salted yolk, place it in the center and wrap it in the lotus seed paste to form a new ball. For each 35 g ball you will need 10 g of external dough, then weigh 20 10 g balls. At this point take a ball of dough and crush it on the palm, place the ball with the yolk and lotus seed paste in the center and make sure to cover it well to form the final ball, do so for all 20 balls and meanwhile heat the oven to 180 ° C.
To finish the dessert you need a special stamp, choose the one with the design you prefer, you can easily find it online or in some Chinese shop. Take a ball and roll it up so that it becomes elongated, put it back in the stamp and apply light pressure to keep the design imprinted on the cake. Turn the mold upside down and let the cake out with the help of the plunger, place it on baking paper or on a silicone baking tray. Bake the cakes for 5 minutes at 180 ° C, in the meantime beat an egg with a fork and after 5 minutes remove the cakes and brush them with the egg, after this step put them back in the oven for 15 minutes always at 180 ° C. Once cooked, transfer them to a grill to make them cool faster, when they are completely cold put them in a container and wait 1 or 2 days before eating them in order to make the crust beautiful shiny and the cake will be as soft as the inside.
To see the video recipe follow the link