Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mooncake Piggies

The Chinese mooncake (called yuè bing) is traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn festival. They are usually consumed as delicacies in family and friends gatherings while celebrating the festival.

Traditionally, the dough that is used to make the Chinese mooncakes is also baked into piglet shapes called "jue zai bang" in Cantonese. These mooncake piggies are commonly sold at Chinese bakeries as a chewy snack and they are individually packaged in miniature bright-colored plastic baskets to symbolize "pigs" being bound for sale. 

These are my homemade version of mooncake piggies... I was shocked initially seeing the recipe require to use a kind of syrup that has to be ideally made and stored more than 3 months before use! Then, I thought of replacing this syrup with store-bought golden syrup and was happy that this idea worked well for me. Nice to see that my piggies have a beautiful golden light-brown glow just like the traditional one sold in the stores.

I am submitting this post to the Aspiring Bakers #11: Mid Autumn Treats ( Sept 2011) hosted by Happy Home Baking.

 mooncake piggies

Here's recipe from the book, Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival by Choong Su Yin.
(with my modification in blue)

300g syrup* (I use store-bought golden syrup)
90g cooking oil
3 tsp alkaline water
400g flour (I use Hong Kong flour as recommended in the book)
3 slices ginger (I didn't add this)

egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 2 tbsp milk

*syrup consisting of 1 kg sugar, 500g water and 3 slices lemon, is cooked in low heat until thick and is ideally store more than 3 months before using. It can be kept up to 3-5 years without deterioration.

Put 3 slices of ginger into oil and deep-fry until ginger floats up. Discard ginger and leave oil to cool. (I didn't do this step)

Place syrup into blender (I use mixer with paddle attachment instead). Add alkaline water, then oil and mix until all are well-combined.

Add flour and continue to mix to form a soft dough. (Depending on consistency of syrup used, extra flour has to be added to form an easy-to-handle dough. The book says "You may add some flour if the dough is too sticky as the concentration of syrup is the main factor.")

Cover with cloth and set aside for 2 hr or more.

To make the piggies:

Divide the dough according to the size of the piggies that you want.

Shape the dough into piggie face and body and using a toothpick to draw the features on the piggies face.

Each full piggie cookies has:

- one round dough for its head
- two flat small pieces of dough for its ears
- one small and shorter cylinder-shaped dough for its nose
- two black sesame seeds for its eyes
- one slightly larger, elongated and rounded dough for its body
- four small cylinder-shaped dough for its legs
- one thin and long dough to be shaped into a spiral shape for its tail

Each piggie's face cookie has all except the body, legs and tail.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush piggies with egg wash and bake for 5-10 min.

Remove and brush with second layer of egg wash and bake again for 5-10 min until golden brown.

Note: Piggies will be crunchy when they are freshly baked and will become soft and chewy as they should be on the next day.

Happy Baking

34 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, these are ADORABLE! Thank you for introducing me to yet another entirely brand new food. Fantastic.

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  2. Oh dear! They are so cute! I love to see those piggies in the basket^^. Your kids must be love this so much,right?

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  3. Oh what a loving,
    were perfect!
    Kisses.

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  4. theses are so adorable little piggies!! very well done!! yeah i also heard about the syrup, those sifus will make them many months ahead letting them mature.

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  5. I loves your piglets, so cute. Can pass 2 over here?

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  6. Ngaw....these are so cute!! I've never seen mooncakes which look quite like these ;)

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  7. Oh wow Zoe, these look amazingly gorgeous. I am so impressed. You're so cool! I'm going to make mine tomorrow.
    Kristy

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  8. Jue Zai bang is my husb's favourite. The piggy looks so cute.

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  9. These are the sweetest little things - really brilliant!
    Mary

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  10. Your piglet look so cute, very well done. :)

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  11. Zoe, these are pure awesomeness. Hands down the most fun mooncakes I have seen. Nice work!

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  12. These are soooo adorable! My grandson would love making these with me. :)

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  13. oh my goodness, I think your piggies look absolutely adorable! They look so cute, I don't think I'll be able to eat them ;p

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  14. No wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I don't think I'd be able to eat these. They are way too cute!

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  15. So adorable and creative! My son would go crazy for these. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  16. these are soo much fun!! who can resist eating/looking at these piggies! im not a fan of mooncake (with their overly sweet filings sometimes) but this...i can have a whole tray :D

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  17. Your mooncake piggies are so cute! My kids would love this! I thought you use a mould for the piggies, incredible that you did it by hand!
    Yes, the syrup does need sometime to give a full flavour, I made that before, years ago. After that I just substitute with golden syrup. But I have not made any mooncakes or the biscuits in years, am lazy! Haha! Perhaps, next year, depending on my mood!

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  18. I love these little piggies are adorable and beauty!! gloria

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  19. These little piggies....are too adorable! They look much nicer and cuter than the traditional ones as I remembered. :) Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend. Early Happy Moon Festival to you and your family.

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  20. You are so talented..these look adorable Zoe!

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  21. Thanks for your lovely comment on my agar agar mooncakes... I loves the piggies you made, and am planning to try it out soon (even though mid-autumn is over!)!

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  22. These little piggies put such a smile on my face. If I saw these in a bakery, I would buy them in an instant.

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  23. Hi is there any substitute I can use to replace alkaline water?

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    1. Hi Mae,

      Sorry that I don't have an answer to your question. I tried to google for an answer too and seems that there is no easy substitution for this ingredient.

      Zoe

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  24. Hi Zoe, Love this mooncake piggies of yours; They 're so CUTE! I hope I've enough time to make these cutie for the mid autumn festival !

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    1. Hi Kit,

      Glad that you like these humble-looking piggies. These are the non-fanciful kind with no filling :)

      Zoe

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  25. How cute are these! My piggies would probably turn out like zombies, horribly deformed, but yours are perfect!

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