Friday, September 12, 2014

flaky mooncake

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was last Monday.  It's sort of like the Chinese version of Thanksgiving -- a time for reflection, giving, and family.


I celebrated in my own way by reflecting a little on this blog of mine.

Sometimes, I click the"older posts" arrow on my blog a bunch of times until I get back to freshman year.



Sometimes, I have this urge to delete all of my old blog posts and start fresh, so I can have one of those pristine, consistent blogs like Smitten Kitchen or Martha Stewart.


I want to erase all of the times that 14-year-old me gave embarrassing Instagram "lifestyle" posts, the times my pictures were taken with a Pentax point-and-shoot, the times I listed "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" as an ingredient, the times my font size was all wonky and I tried to sound like the Barefoot Contessa (and failed).  

... but then there'd be nothing.  So I stop, and restrain myself from pressing delete.  


As tantalizing as the idea of a fresh start is, I don't think I'll ever do it.   There's something endearing about those old recipes, and having them lined up all neatly in order chronicles my life all the way from ratatouille to flaky mooncakes. All the way from being awkward during my Freshman Orientation scavenger hunt to sitting here as a Senior in the library, tapping away at my college applications.  It's my whole high school existence archived in buttercream, brownie batter, and banoffee banana bread.  It includes all of those milestones:  finding my blogging voice, learning how to get a DSLR, going to the emergency room while making layer cake, and getting butter inextricably wedged into the dials of my camera. 


My backdrop has evolved from a leftover piece of poster-board from my 8th grade science fair project to the fancy-pants piece of marble that my dad got me for Christmas.  


Yes, the perfectionist in me will surely look back at this time with this same sort of head-shaking disdain in a few months when I think I've got funnier stories, better backdrops, and tastier recipes than I do now.  But isn't that the whole point of a blog?  We are moving onwards and upwards from here!


Here's a tasty recipe for flaky mooncakes, traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Something that hasn't changed much since I started blogging is that I've still got to get this timing thing down so I can get you all these holiday recipes before the holiday happens.  Planning, someday it will happen.  Anyways, I was going to bring these in to my Chinese class, but ended up eating them all singlehandedly with my mom (sorry).  The flaky crust is surprisingly simple to make -- using an oil and water dough technique (much less tedious than rolling puff pastry.  Give it a try!

With love, 
Erica



This recipe makes four moon cakes, so feel free to double.


Ingredients

water dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter
1/2 cup water

oil dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter (melted)

filling:
-red bean paste
-lotus paste
-coconut paste (recipe below)

topping:
one egg (for egg wash)
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the water dough, mix the flour, sugar, and shortening together roughly.  Pour all of the water in at once and knead to form a soft dough. Set aside.

For the oil dough, mix the flour and melted shortening together to form dough.

Dust the water dough with flour and roll into a 1/2 inch thick circle.  Roll the oil dough into a ball, place in the middle of the water dough, and seal it inside of the water dough.

Roll out the new ball of dough (the oil dough wrapped in the water dough), into an oval shape.  Then, roll it up like a swiss roll.  Turn it lengthwise, and roll out into an oval again.  Roll up swiss roll-style once more, and roll out into a 1/2 inch thick oval once more.

Cut the oval into four even sections, fill each section with filling of choice and seal.  Place seal side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pastries.  Brush each pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Coconut paste:
1/2 cup cream of coconut or condensed milk
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla, matcha powder, or cocoa powder for flavoring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together into a paste.

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