In a few days time, it will be Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, which to us means mooncakes! For most of our life, when we thought of mooncake, we pictured a heavy, rich pastry filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and maybe a salted egg yolk inside. They’re good, but you can only eat a couple of bites before it gets to be too much. Then we discovered Taiwan’s version: light, flaky layers of pastry wrapped around sweetened taro root paste. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also really gorgeous!
Last year we did a try on this mooncake at the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival itself, it totally failed as we did it in rush. Some of the recipes use lard, shortening in the dough and/or taro paste but we use unsalted butter. Note: This took way longer than we thought it would take to make. We made the taro paste the day before, and it still took me over 3 hours to make the mooncakes the day of.
How to make homemade taro/yam paste?
These smooth and creamy homemade taro paste using the taro roots with just the right amount of sweetness. The taro paste is suitable as a filling for mooncakes, Asian pastries, steamed buns, cakes, and other desserts.
You can get the whole root for both taro and purple sweet potato at the wet market. You can replace the purple sweet potato with all taro as it is only used to add some colour to the filling. However, you can also get the taro root that has been peeled from the store. If you get the whole root, wear gloves and peel the skin (As taro may cause itchiness on the skin) and weigh to get 350 and 200 grams respectively. Cut into thick slices and then steam 15 minutes over high heat or until you can easily mash with a fork.
Ps: We got the sweet potato powder/ flour at The Source where we are able to measure the ingredients you need. You can replace the sweet potato powder with matcha powder, blue pea water or colouring.
Mash the taro together with the sugar while they are still warm. You can also use an immersion blender or blender to make it really smooth. Transfer to a non-stick pan. Add butter/oil and cook over low heat. It may seem very oily at first. Keep stirring until the oil is all absorbed by the taro and no longer sticky to the pan, may take about 15-20 minutes.
How to store it? Transfer to a plate and let it cools down completely. You can portion it out, and wrap it in cling wrap and put it inside a freezer bag. Simply thaw overnight in the fridge and it’s ready to be used in the recipe.
Preparing the Dough
For this mooncake, you are required to make two kinds of dough, Water Dough (the white layer) and Oil Dough (the purple layer).
Water dough: Using a mixer, mix flour with caster sugar then add in the butter and mix it in mid-speed. It will feel crumbly, resembling bread crumbs. Gradually add the water and continue to mix and knead at high speed knead the dough for 25-30 minutes or until you form a non-sticky dough. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Oil dough: In a large mixing bowl, mix flour and sweet potato powder. Rub the shortening into the flour mixture and form a dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
Assembling the Mooncake
Divide the water dough and oil dough each into 8 equal portions. Keeping the rest covered, take one oil dough and one water dough. Flatten the water dough and place one oil dough in the middle. Wrap the water dough around the oil dough. So the oil dough is nested inside the water dough now. Repeat with the rest of the doughs. Rest it for 15 minutes.
First Roll: Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat oval shape. Roll it up tightly starting from the bottom like a Swiss roll. Repeat with the rest of the doughs. Rest it for 15 minutes.
Second Roll: Turn the dough vertical and roll it out again. Now you have a long flat strip of dough. Roll it as thin as you can as it will give you more spiral in the finished products later. Roll it up tightly again starting from the bottom into a Swiss roll. Cut it into half. Work with one at a time, flip the cut side down and use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle, about 7-inch in width.
Wrap it all up: Place the filling in the middle. Gather the sides to wrap the filling. Pinch to seal at the bottom. When you flip it over, this is how it looks like. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
How to store the leftover mooncake?
Let them cool down completely on a cooling rack. If you plan to eat them the next day or two, keep them in a paper bag. Push all the air out and fold over. The paper bag can help to retain the crispiness and flakiness at least for a day or two.
For longer storage, store the whole paper bag inside a freezer bag. Push all the air out and seal the bag. They can be kept for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw them at room temperature and then reheat briefly in the oven or an air-fryer at 200 C for 8-10 minutes or until crisp again.
We are devastated this Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a festival we enjoy together with the family. While we are under a quarantine order, prayers all sending to our parents wishing for their speedy recovery. May everyone, have a wonderful Mid-Autumn Moon Festival!
Crispy Taro Mooncake
- Taro filling
350g of Taro(before peeling)
200g of Purple sweet potato (bf peeling)
20g of Caster sugar
15g of Vegetable oil
- Water dough
145g of Plain flour
20g of Caster sugar
45g of Unsalted Butter/ Lard
65±g of Coldwater
2g of Salt
- Oil dough
120g of Plain flour
65g of Unsalted Butter/ Lard
15g of Purple sweet potato powder
- White Dough
- Combine together flour, sugar, butter and gradually add water. Stir and knead until the dough comes together.
- In a stand-mix, high speed knead the dough for 25-30 minutes. The dough can be stretched to a thin sheet. If no stand mix, just knead the dough until smooth or could be stretched to a thin sheet.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. (It is important to rest the dough for 30 mins to make it more stretchable later)
- Matcha Dough
- Mix together Sweet Potato powder with butter respectively. If the dough comes too dry, add about 5g more butter. The dough should come relatively oil and wet when finishing.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside
- Make filling to a ball shape of about 22-25g per piece, a total of 16 pieces.
- To Assemble
- Divide white dough evenly into 8 pieces. Divide matcha dough evenly into 8 pieces
- Use palm to press one white dough into a round shape and wrap one matcha dough into it. Seal completely. Cover with a plastic bag to set aside for 15 minutes.