Snowskin mooncakes are easy to prepare using only 4 ingredients and do not require any baking. They have a powdery appearance which looks so delicate and are served chilled. Therefore, it is no surprise that this traditional cake is given the nickname crystal mooncake or snow ice mooncake. Usually, these mooncakes are only available one month before and during the Mid Autumn festival when it is full moon.
Full moon in the Chinese culture is a symbol of prosperity. Just like glutinous rice balls, the round shaped mooncakes symbolize family togetherness and completeness. Due to its exclusivity, mooncakes are rather expensive. If this is not enough of a reason to make them yourself, the recipe only requires mixing of the ingredients and shaping the mooncakes!
Snowskin mooncake without shortening
For this recipe, you can use any vegetable shortening as it helps the mooncake to retain its shape when chilled. Avoid using margarine as the flavour will overpower the taste of the mooncake. If you do not have shortening in hand, replace it with colourless vegetable oil. I recommend using 20g of oil and gradually adding the remaining 10g if the dough is still dry.
Substitute for cooked glutinous rice flour
This is not to be mistaken with the common glutinous rice flour. Cooked glutinous rice flour is a special flour which is often used in Chinese sweets. You can buy it from Asian grocers or make them yourself by frying the glutinous flour in a dry pan over medium heat. It will take about 5 to 8 minutes for the flour to turn into a light shade of yellow. Once it does, let it cool to room temperature.
The dough cracks/too dry
When the dough keeps cracking, it indicates that the dough is too dry. If you are making a large batch of mooncakes, the dough should be covered with a piece of damp cloth and avoid placing the dough under direct wind or fan.
To make the dough pliable again, add a few drops of water at a time and knead to evenly spread the moisture. The perfect dough should be smooth and flexible.
Mooncake moulds and a substitute
To give it the signature look, you need to get the mooncake moulds. They can be bought online or at local bakery stores if you are in Asia. I used a mould that is of 6 cm in diameter and 4 cm in height.
If you do not want to buy the mould for a one time off mooncake making session, use a ramekin or any small bowl and lightly press the filled dough to create a round shape. It will not be perfect but do not let the absence of the mould stop you from making these pretty sweets.
Filling and flavour ideas for snowskin mooncakes
The skin of the mooncake has a very mild flavour. Adding colouring or flavouring of your choice is an option. Knead in some liquid natural food dye or flavouring and mix evenly.
Lately, you may be able to find creative flavours but the classic ones are lotus paste and red bean. Some other filling which you can opt for are custard, chestnut paste, mung bean paste and even ice cream!
How to eat snowskin mooncake?
Snowskin mooncake is normally best enjoyed when it is chilled. Refrigerating them helps to solidify its shape so that it does not soften when cut. It is best to enjoy them with a cup of tea as the light bitterness from the drink will help to balance the sweetness of the mooncakes.
How long can snowskin mooncakes be kept?
These mooncakes may go bad if not kept properly. If you spot molds on the mooncakes, it is best to discard them. Their shelf life can be extended for up to 2 weeks if kept in a dry airtight container. Storing them in this manner is very important to keep the snowskin soft.
Snowskin mooncakes can be frozen for up to a month too. However, freeze them individually or they will stick together. Once they are firm, transfer them into freezer bags or an airtight container.
Halal, vegan and gluten-free
Yes, this snowskin mooncake is halal, vegan and gluten-free. Since it is not an adapted recipe, you can be sure of the authentic flavours.