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Sep 16, 2011

Pseudo Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Pastry

Good grief!
Time flies!
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake festival fell on the 12th of September this year. I am a little late to celebrate but I believe the mood is still in the air ... but then, eating is always in and it doesn't really matter whether we eat the festival goodies on the actual day or after, as long as someone keeps making them.
For some interesting facts about the festival and the Chinese legends behind the mooncakes, click here.
I've been reading so many posts about mooncakes and many other mid-autumn festival goodies, I realized I should bring out whatever's left of the traditional chinese in me. Hence this post of Chinese flaky pastry.
Of course, the little creature with the horns in me had to turn it topsy turvy (again) and make it into something that's probably making my ancestors itch wherever their good souls are. Coming across Cemplang Cemplung's guest post in Xiaolu's blog gave me the idea to make this somewhat Chinese-y sweet pastry with a different filling instead of the usual lotus seed/sweet bean pastes. Actually, there are so many weird concoctions out there for the mooncake fillings these days (tiramisu, durian *ew*, cheese, tofu and what else I can't think of), mine seems pretty tame in comparison.

I'm using the pastry recipe from Cemplang Cemplung. (Check out the pics over there ... gorgeous!!)
The filling is just something I threw together altho I'm sure it's already been done. I'm using one of my favorite vegetables for it ... pumpkin!! I'm sort of getting into the pumpkin mood again. Be warned. (Other pumpkin posts: click here and here)

A short note on the pastry: I've used 2 different techniques here. You can see some of the pastries have spirals and some, horizontal layers. The spiral layering is called, well, Spiral (Escargot) Shaping and the horizontal ones are called Parallel Shaping. To get the Spiral/Escargot layering, you'll need to slice the dough crosswise as per the instructions below. For the Parallel layering, slice it lengthwise. Then roll out, fill, pinch, bake, eat ... simple.


Water dough (outer layer)

50 g plain flour
50 g cake flour
13 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
40 ml water
38 g unsalted butter, room temperature

Chocolate dough (inner layer)
*I thought the chocolate would go really well with the pumpkin but there's not much of the taste altho the color makes the swirls stand out a little better

105 g plain flour
70 g unsalted butter, room temperature
5 g cocoa powder (I'm planning to use double the amount next time)


about 1 cup pumpkin puree
50 g sugar
1 tsp cornflour


Combine all filling ingredients into a pan. Stir to mix until well combined. Cook over medium heat until you get a very thick paste.
Form into little balls of about 1 heaped teaspoon each. (They don't have to be perfectly round). Place on cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator.

Making the water dough:
Place both flours, sugar and salt into a food processor. Buzz to mix them up. Add in the water and buzz until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Add the butter and buzz until it forms a very soft but not too sticky dough. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge while you make the chocolate dough.

Making the chocolate dough:
(I got lazy here and didn't bother to rinse out the food processor.)
Plonk all chocolate dough ingredients into food processor and buzz to get a nice soft non-sticky dough.
Pinch out small amounts of the dough weighing about 15 g each and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Set aside.

Now do the same for the water dough. 15 g each ball of dough.
You should get the same number of balls for each dough. I managed to get 24.

Take a water dough ball, flatten it into a small circle and place a chocolate ball in it. Gather the outer edges of the water dough and wrap up the chocolate ball. Pinch to seal. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough upwards to make an oval shape, dusting lightly with flour if you need to.
Starting from the short end closest to you, roll it up as you would a swiss roll.
Turn the roll 90˚ and roll out upwards again with the rolling pin. Now roll it up again into a swiss roll. Cut crosswise, making 2 pieces, using a sharp knife.
Place cut side down and roll out into circles of about 2" in diameter.
Place pumpkin filling into the center of the circle, gather up the edges and pinch to seal.
Place on greased or lined baking tray pinched side down and bake at 180˚C for 25 - 30 mins. (I think I overbaked mine coz I was somehow waiting for it to brown and it didn't. I did some research later and learnt that it doesn't actually brown very much ... duh. I baked mine for 35 mins.... don't do that.)

*Note: DO NOT egg wash pastry or you'll lose the layerings.

For a step by step tutorial, please visit 6 Bittersweets. Feast your eyes there!

I've put up a larger pic here so you can see the 2 different textures.


  1. Oh my goodness that looks really amazing. I love rustic looking recipes. This one is a true winner.

  2. These look so good. I love moon cakes. I have been collecting recipes of Chinese sweets to make for my mom lately. I never really cook any Asian food but my fondest memories are of my mother and I eating all the egg tarts and coconut cream buns from the bakery. I also love Chinese New Year and feel like I better show her I can make some of these things not just American desserts lol.

  3. Those are utterly beautiful, and while I would love to try them, I must first convince myself that the labor required is not too scary. You make it sound easy, though!

    Pumpkin is wonderful. I've lived in the States and I adore pumpkin pie, especially done tiny as tarts - and pumpkin soup and filled pasta (with sage!) and I could go on. Nothing beats the gorgeous orangeness of it for happy autumn color, either!

    Hm... do you have a photo of those cut open, or have they all been eaten already? ;)

  4. Lot of procedures, this is complex. I might see you on the 'Next Great Baker' show. Amazing pictures, as always. I am curious to see how it looked inside, and how it tastes. I guess not much can be done about the latter! Chocolate and pumpkin - probably this flavour combination won't get your ancestors and older folks too excited, but they are probably not reading blogs either so they won't know:) Lets keep this public info a secret

  5. Hi Kim Bee. Thanks so much.

    S.V.: Oh boy, I'm the last person you should learn any Chinese stuff from. In our country, there's so much mix in the culture there's not really any ethnic purity in our recipes anymore. Interesting in it's own way tho. This was my very feeble attempt at being Chinese :D

    eattheroses: Thank you. Nah, it's not that difficult. I'm even using the food processor to make the dough ... how lazy is that?! And I've added another pic of the filling. Didn't think anyone would be interested at first since that was merely a suggestion and can be substituted with azuki paste or peanut butter, etc.

    3Cookies: Nope, not at all. Using a food processor to make dough is blasphemy to some die-hard pastry snobs. I go for the easy way out if I could and if I feel that it wouldn't alter the recipe or textures too much. So being in the 'Next Great Baker' show .... never happen. What's that anyway? We don't have that here or are you pulling my leg again and made that show up? Love the pseudo oxymoron! :D

  6. Whoa, they looks amazing. Not sure if they're supposed to look like beautiful little stones from a beach, so I hope I'm not being insulting, but they look just like the wonderful little pebbles I used to fill a basket with as a kid! I bet they taste amazing too... thanks for sharing the recipe and wonderful photos!

  7. Sorry for making you take another photo but I was really curious, and pleased now:) 'Next Great Baker' is a show in the US. Have a great weekend. BTW maybe you should test and see if these last for a few days rather than finishing everything today. Unless its already gone as I write this

  8. Charles: Thank you. Actually, I did look at them the same way ... like pretty little pebbles, hence the background. But fortunately, they aren't as hard. In fact, they melt in the mouth.

    3Cookies: Haha! Not a problem. I did think of it but like I told Veronika, the filling was replaceable and also it wasn't easy to get a nice half cut since it was so crumbly and flaky. Gotta finish most of them since I had to cut several to get a presentable one to shoot :D Think I'll have to skip dinner tonight tho.

  9. I love how the dough looks all swirly. What a wonderful treat for fall.

  10. The layering looks fantastic, like cookies from a science-fiction film! TYhis recipe sounds very elaborate and complicated and the result as perfect as from a professional confectioner's hands. I love it!

  11. Kristen: Hello. Thanks for dropping by.

    Sissi: Thank you, that's very flattering indeed. But it really isn't as complicated as it sounds.

  12. You ship these right? Haha! Oh my! I would love to try these. I love the way you swirled these. Great treat for Fall.

  13. Ping, these are just beautiful! You may not think they are complicated, but you executed them perfectly! I love the swirls~

  14. Pretend Chef: Haha! Hi Rochelle! I'm sure you can make these yourself. Don't let the instructions scare you. When I first saw the recipe I got a little overwhelmed by it and when I actually decided to get going with it, it wasn't as bad as it sounds. Maybe it's the way I described it .... or maybe if I had some step by step pics but I find it so distracting to wash my hands, click, another step, wash, click ... You can find the step by step from the links I provided.

    Lizzy: Hi there! Awww ... thanks.

  15. wow these babies are gorgeous! i WANT one.. no I WANT ALL..

  16. Yummy mooncakes! Totally worth you being a little late :) The spirals are so pretty! Buzzed

  17. Shannon: Hi! Thanks very much .... haha! Not a problem there with your expertise. It's fun making them.

    Jen: Hello. Thank you so much for the compliment.

    Parsley Sage: Thanks for the buzz :D These aren't mooncakes. Just one of those pastries that the Chinese love making during the festival but with my own twist on it. I don't think they're too happy with me. Heh.. You can check out what a proper mooncake looks like with the link provided within the post.

  18. I have written my comment but it disappeared! NVM, I will write again.:D Can you imagine 'Lucy" (me) making these beauties? Looking at the recipe and the mehtod made my brain go spiral! I think I will have to sleep with a picture of your beautiful moon cakes and dream about doing it successfully first before I have the courage to do it for real. I think there is time to dream some more before the next moon cake festival. hehe .. Jokes aside Ping, your mooncakes will definitely win a prize if it is a competition! Bravo! XOXO

  19. Oh...did you have fun making these pastries ? :) I hope you did. Your flaky pastries looks perfect.

  20. QPC: Hi Lucy ... I mean Veronica :D Well, looks like Lucy struck again on the disappearing comment. Thanks very much for the compliment. And I also happen to know that you'll be able to make these without a problem. I've seen how much love and effort you put in your dishes. Besides, however it turns out, just the fact that it's made with so much heart ... they'll be beautiful. You don't have to wait til the next festival either. Whoa, that's so long away. I've seen another post with a chocolate filling. Sinfully yummy!

    Tika: Hi! I'm so happy you approve! Yes, I did have a lot of fun making these but I think I over-flattened my spirals a little. Next time I'll have to make it pop out more. Thanks for coming by :D (I am in awe of your photographs).

  21. Hi Ping, I am totally amazed how beautiful these special mooncakes are. Love the pumpkin filling, especially!
    You did a superb job on them...made them so perfect. I could not attempt to make something so unique like this, unless I would stand next to you to watch you make it.
    Such a wonderful celebration, and history behind it:DDD

  22. I am lucky to have an Asian market behind my store, and even though I can't read anything, I often just try random pastries they have on sale. I love not knowing what I am about to try. These remind me of those mystery packages I buy and bring back to my store - except much prettier!!!

  23. Hi Elisabeth. Thank you so much, my dear friend. It really isn't that hard to make. Maybe I'd got a little long winded on the instructions and that puts many people off. I know I myself get that way when I see a really long recipe. I was trying to be as clear and precise as I could since I couldn't provide a step by step but the links provided are pretty good.

    Hello Kita. Haha! One day they're gonna have fried mashed bugs as an exotic filling :D They do eat fried bugs in Thailand you know.

  24. wow this is beautiful it's like a century egg lol I love this

  25. raquel.erecipe: Hello and thank you for the compliment and for dropping by. Haha! Yes it does look like a century egg or even a robin's egg ... sometimes :D Didn't see that, I keep seeing pebbles and walnuts.

  26. thanks for the comment on my blog ping! it really lifted my moods up! and i've always wanted to learn this technique! thanks so much for featuring this on your blog!


  27. Woaahh.. Ping.. this is wonderful yet scrumptious.. Never try to make like this before.. thx for sharing this.
    And I want to share something for U in my page:
    I just think you deserve some more award:))

  28. Amanda: Hello, my dear. Glad I could help cheer you up. Hope you're feeling better about things. This is a fun thing to do and might even help you relax in between your busy moments.

    My Home Diary in Turkey: Hi Citra! You're welcome. And oh my goodness! ... 3 awards?! You are very generous! Thank you soooo much! Will put them on immediately :D

  29. Hi Ping,
    Thanks for your comments on my blog...

    Chocolate pastry sounds rather intriguing, I can imagine the bitterness of the cocoa powder would complement wonderfully with the sweet filling inside.

    Chocolate and pumpkin ...very Halloween..:)

  30. Hi ping, just want to let you know you may submit your post for the Aspiring Bakers #11 event :)

  31. Tiffany: Thanks!

    Loong: Hello, thanks for dropping by. Yes, I agree the choc would have been an interesting compliment but in this case I didn't use enough for the flavors to bloom. Next time for sure

    Happy Homebaker: Ok! Great! Thank you. I will try figure out all the rules and hope the post goes through. :D