Snowskin Mooncakes Recipe Makes My Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration Sweeter

Snowskin mooncakes

Active time:1h30

Total time:2 hours

Servings:20 (gives 20 mooncakes)

Active time:1h30

Total time:2 hours

Servings:20 (gives 20 mooncakes)


I never considered myself a picky eater, but when the traditional Chinese holiday rolled around, I didn’t have much to do with the usual foods. Zong zi with peanuts for the Dragon Boat Festival? Just a snack to appease grandma. Mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival? Certainly not. I would prefer mochi ice cream!

Every fall, I celebrate the Moon Festival with mooncakes. This year, I’m ordering them online.

Call me a weird kid, but unlike my Chinese-American friends, I never liked the flavors of red beans and salted eggs so prevalent in my family’s kitchen. Instead, I was drawn to the fruity and creamy treats, like sweet green tea mochi ice cream, milk tea with boba, and strawberry sorbet.

My first taste of a snowskin mooncake, however, made a crack in that wall of spiciness, creating an opening for the vast frontier of Chinese desserts. A chewy bite of the mooncake reminded me of ichigo daifuku, or strawberry red bean mochi. And the frozen snow skin appealed to my ice cream-obsessed taste buds. One bite led to another, and soon I was converted to the earthy flavors of red beans and eager to try the Chinese treats I once avoided.

Snowskin and traditional mooncakes are served during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, between mid-September and October. This year, the holidays will be on September 10.

Because they can take a long time to make, many people buy both types of mooncakes. But for some, including me, it’s much more rewarding to hold a homemade “full moon” in the palm of your hand. So if you’re ready to try making this venerable treat, I suggest you start with snowskin mooncakes.

On the surface, snowskin mooncakes resemble intricately designed puff pastry mooncakes. Inside, however, they couldn’t be more different.

These lighter molded cakes arrived in the 1960s from Hong Kong patisseries seeking to create a dessert that was less fatty than traditional mooncakes, which are typically made with salted duck egg yolks, seed batter of lotus and lard, and can take more than a day to prepare.

Instead, snowskin mooncakes incorporate glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water, and use simple fillings, such as custard and mung bean paste. The creamy custard can be flavored with fruit juice, cheese or cocoa powder, and the snow-white skin can be dyed in various bright colors and molded with floral and geometric patterns.

They’re also a bit more manageable for home cooks, as the creamier snack, while still a project, only takes about two hours to prepare – no cooking required.

On September 10, families around the world will come together and rejoice at the luminescent moon, which is often the biggest and brightest for the harvest season. And while the snowskin mooncake might not be as steeped in tradition as its heartier cousin, it has become a fan favorite during the festival.

Snowskin mooncakes, also called snowy mooncakes or crystal mooncakes, are the lighter, no-bake cousins ​​of traditional mooncakes, which are typically made with lard, egg yolks, and more. salted duck eggs and lotus seed paste. Both varieties are eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival, celebrated by East and South Asians around the world. It takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which in 2022 falls on September 10. Originating in Hong Kong and Singapore in the 1960s, these chewy delights may contain fruit, mung bean paste or cheese, and are usually eaten fresh.

Let this recipe serve as a blank canvas for all your fruity and savory ideas. You can customize the custard with fruit juice, cheese or cocoa powder, or dye the snow skin your favorite color. You’ll need moon cake pans, which offer lots of playful design possibilities (see Where to Buy).

Storage: Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 day.

Or buy: Mochiko (sweet rice flour) and mooncake pans can be found in Asian markets and online.

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  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
  • Cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 cup (160 grams) mochiko (sweet rice flour), such as Koda Farms brand
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed

Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and pale yellow. Sift the cornstarch and cake flour into the bowl and whisk again until well combined. Add milk and whisk until well blended.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the egg yolk mixture and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula until the mixture begins to solidify into a very moist dough-like paste, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t worry if it starts curdling, it’s normal. Transfer the custard to a glass container, smooth the surface and press a layer of parchment paper over the surface. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

Prepare the mochi: Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly dust with an even layer of cornstarch or potato starch.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, water, sugar and oil until smooth with no visible lumps.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the batter and stir with a heatproof spatula until it forms a soft, malleable ball, 5 to 7 minutes. (You can also microwave the dough in 1-minute increments for up to 3 minutes, stirring each time until it becomes soft and malleable.) Using gloves or well-oiled hands, transfer the dough on the baking sheet and divide it into 20 (about 15 grams). Take the pastry cream out of the refrigerator and divide it into 20 pieces (22 grams each).

Dust another piece of parchment paper with cornstarch or potato starch and place a piece of dough on it. Sprinkle lightly with more starch and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 3-inch circle. Add a piece of pastry cream to the center of the mochi and fold the mochi over the filling to enclose it.

Lightly dust the inside of the mooncake pan with cornstarch or potato starch, then place the mochi in the pan. Invert mold and gently press onto an even, powdered surface for 10 seconds. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately or, to serve cold, transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mochi dough can get quite sticky, so there’s no shame in using extra oil to make molding easier. To remove any excess cornstarch from the mochi, use a clean, fluffy brush.

For a vegan option, add red bean paste or mung bean paste to the center of the snow-skinned mochi; they are available online or in Asian markets.

Calories: 118; Total fat: 4 g; Saturated fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 43mg; sodium: 8mg; Carbohydrates: 18g; Dietary fiber: 0g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 2g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

From Jess Eng, Power and Features Intern.

Tested by Jess Eng and Ann Maloney; questions by e-mail to [email protected].

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