Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mini Baked Custard Mooncakes

Are you new to baked custard mooncakes???

Heard that they were extremely popular in Hong Kong since 2012. They are so popular that the online ordering website at The Peninsula, Hong Kong limits the maximum number of boxes of mooncakes you can order. Geez!

I have not been to Hong Kong during any of their mid-autumn seasons and have not tried the real baked custard mooncakes from The Peninsula, Hong Kong. Ironically, this is our story on how we discover these surprising light, delicate and super yummy mooncakes...

"Believe me! These mooncakes are very nice. Must buy one and try..."

As part of our routine before my son starts schooling, my son and I used to go to our local Asian bakery named Breadtop to grab some snacks before heading to our local library at least once in every week. Every time when we were at the bakery, my son chatted a lot with the ladies staff at Breadtop (hee hee... my cheeky boy) and soon we became their familiar regular customers and also friends.

At last year (2013), Breadtop was following the trend of Hong Kong and made their first batch of mini baked custard mooncakes. The ladies at our local Breadtop were telling us that these mooncakes are really good and were persuading us to try. Seeing heaps of these mooncakes stacking at the counter, I was feeling skeptical at first and thought that these mooncakes are just ordinary mooncakes. Being stingy, I bought only one to try. You know what? I was totally wrong...

When we arrived home, 90% of the only one mini custard mooncake that I bought was all ferociously consumed by my son. Before it was gone, I had to beg him to allow me to taste a tiny micro slice and this little bit of information is all I know about this mooncake.

The next day, we went back to the shop and were shocked to see that the heaps of the mooncakes at the counter were all gone! Then, it was drama afterwards... My son was crying out loudly in the shop and the embarrassed me was calming him down. The ladies in the shop offered my son other options. Reluctantly, my son chose the chocolate snow skin mooncakes but he didn't like it at all. At this moment, I see how much my son loves eating the custard mooncakes and I felt so sorry that I had bought only one for him.

You know what? All of these custard mooncakes at other Breadtop shops were all sold out too and we were told to wait until next year...

For this whole year, I have been looking for a recipe that can baked similar custard mooncakes. When I Google for "Egg Custard Mooncake recipe", the only recipe that I can find is at Everyday Leisure but didn't use this recipe to bake these because...

1) I didn't like the addition of Parmesan cheese in my custard filling. Pardon me but it sounds very unconventional to me.

2) I was afraid that the all-butter plus egg yolk pastry might be too delicate to handle as the recipe mentions that the shaped mooncakes have to be chilled to firm before baking.

Then, I found a more stable buttery custard pastry from Happy Flour which doesn't require chilling before baking. Based on the custard filling recipe at Everyday Leisure, I have also modify a custard filling recipe from the book, Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival by Choong Su Yin accordingly.

You know what? I did it! This combination of both custard filling and custard pastry has worked well for me. These mini baked custard mooncakes are making my son extremely happy... Every time he eats one of these mooncakes, I can see an extended smile on his face. And, repeatedly...

mini baked custard mooncakes
Our Mini Baked Custard Mooncakes
Mixing the custard filling
... and steaming it.
Although it looks a little rough at first, it becomes smoother after resting in the fridge.
This pastry requires the use of butter and a small amount of shortening.
Mixing the custard pastry
This pliable dough is easy to handle.
Both had been well-rested in the fridge.
These are the mooncake moulds that I used.
Enclose filling into the pastry
Press them into the mould to shape.
Knock knock knock... Knocking the mould on the tabletop will release these mooncakes off in good shapes.
Apply a THIN layer of egg wash.
Some mooncakes especially the square ones crack a little but can shrink back looking good again after cooling. I have noticed that the square mooncakes don't look as good as the round ones and I wonder why???
Unlike typical mooncakes, these are so light. Like most mooncakes, these are so delicious!

Are these custard mooncakes as good as the ones from The Peninsula, Hong Kong? I'm sorry that I can't comment further on that because I have not tried the ones from The Peninsula, Hong Kong.

Are these custard mooncakes as good as the ones from Breadtop? Good enough but Breadtop ones has slightly sweeter custard filling with slightly tender pastry. If you are expecting these mooncakes is overly sweet like most traditional baked mooncakes, these wouldn't be the kind that you are expecting because these light custard filling doesn't have the rich and sweet taste at all. Overall, I reckon the sweetness for ours is just right for us but if you have a sweeter tooth than me, you might wish to add a little more sugar in yours.

I have noticed that the pastry of these mooncakes becomes less flaky and more tender on the subsequent days after baking. I reckon that the flavours and textures of both pastry and filling tends to develop after resting enough in room temperature and become very moist and delicate.

This is the recipe that I used to make these mooncakes.

Smooth and Milky Custard Filling
largely modified from the book, Moonlit Mid-Autumn Festival by Choong Su Yin

Makes about 300g
25g butter, soften
60g caster sugar (more if you like your filling to be sweeter but this is ok for us)
3 egg yolks (from 3 large eggs, each 80g), roughly beaten
1 tbsp condensed milk
40ml cream (containing 35% fat)
1/4 cup, 60ml regular coconut milk (I used Ayam brand, light with 13.4% fat)
20g all purpose flour
15g custard powder
10g tapioca flour

In a small bowl, combine flour, custard powder and tapioca flour.

Using a wooden spoon, beat butter and sugar until light and combined. While beating, add egg yolks one at a time and beat until combined. Beat in condensed milk, cream and coconut milk. Sift flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a heat resistance container and steam over medium heat for 25 mins with stirring in every 5 mins. Set aside for mixture to cool.

Knead mixture until smooth. Wrap custard in cling wrap and chill it in refrigerator until required. Mixture can be kept in the fridge up to a week before baking.

Buttery Mooncake Pastry
mostly adapted from Happy Flour

Makes about 24 mini mooncakes
100g butter, softened at room temperature
30g shortening, preferably Crisco
90g icing sugar
1 small egg, 60g, roughly beaten
220g all purpose flour
35g custard powder
1/4 tsp baking powder

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. While beating, add beaten egg gradually and beat until well combined.

Sift flour, custard powder and baking powder into the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.Using your hand, mix mixture together and combine them to form a dough.

Wrap dough with cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr.

Shaping the Mooncakes

As every mooncake mould is different, you have test the amount of dough and filling required to fill in each mould. To test, fill the mould with the maximum amount of pastry that you can fill and weigh the piece of dough. Mine is 35g. For mooncakes with thinner pastry, 40% of each mooncake can be pastry and 60% can be filling but the shaping mooncake with thin pastry can be challenging and so I have 40% of my mooncake to be filling and 60% to be pastry. Can't decide? You can do 50% 50% too... It's up to you.

Divide the custard filling into 15g each and pastry dough into 20g each. Shape each into balls. Set aside.

Using a lightly floured hand, flatten a portion of pastry dough into a flat and round circle. Place a custard ball in the middle of the flatten dough. Enclose the custard filling inside the pastry and roll them into smooth balls.

Place each ball into a lightly floured mooncake mould and press it gently until all the edges of the mould are well-filled with the pastry. To release the mooncake from the mould, keep knocking the mould on tabletop at the sides of the mould to loosen the mooncakes from the mould and allow the mooncake to release off onto the lightly floured surface.

Preheat the oven to 175°C or 160°C fan forced. Line two baking tray with baking paper. Place the shaped mooncakes on the prepared tray. Brush with a thin layer of egg wash and bake for 25 mins. Allow the mooncakes to cool slightly on the tray for 10 mins and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the mooncakes to rest in room temperature before serving. The mooncakes can cookie-like when they are freshly baked and will develop into moist and tender pastry after subsequent days.

I have noticed that square mooncakes tends to crack slightly during baking but can shrink back looking good again after cooling. To minimize cracking, you can either 1) choose either not to add baking powder in the pastry but you will get a flat pastry with no flaky texture or 2) chill the shaped mooncake before baking as it helps to retain the shape better.

Happy Baking
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  1. Ooohhh, nice post.. Yep, mooncake festival coming up.. Many places selling mooncakes already.. And believe it, even before the 7th month started, I've already seen people posting their mooncakes in FB liao.. I was like "wah, 7th month belum start, already start mooncake liao", hehe.. Mum used to buy "chue loong peang" (mooncakes in the shape of piggy in a basket) when I was a kid.. I still like them now.. But of coz I prefer to have your custard mooncake ! Since they are so mini, I can finish all 24! Haha.. Wait, in 2 days k? 1 day = 12 pieces.. Teehee..

  2. Hi Zoe, milky and smooth custard filling sounds delicious to me.

  3. yes! i am new to baked custard mooncakes! i made the snowskin ones but this is another to try! lovely Zoe!

    1. Hi Victoria,

      I have been leaving comments in your blog but can't see my comments in your post. I wonder what happened... Hope that you see my comment here :D


  4. Hi Zoe,
    I was so happy when i saw your Custard Mooncakes sharing. Thank you very much !
    Same case to me, last year after I saw a nice picture of this custard mooncake by a famous restaurant here, I have been looking for a recipe of it but end up with disappointment.
    Now, I am craving to try your recipe,thanks again.

  5. This is so tempting and I can't wait to try it out!

  6. Hi Zoe, custard filling mooncakes sound so special from the traditional mooncakes. Another great options to choose. Love it.

  7. Wow Zoe! That's impressive! I have never imagine myself making a mooncake for the Mid Autumn Festival!

  8. Hi Zoe, I absolutely love the Pennisula mooncakes! Thanks for the recipe. I'll let you know if it's close to the Pennisula ones after I try out your recipe. But first, I need to go get a mooncake mold. I've never made mooncakes in my life.

  9. Zoe always I love these when I see in blogs! And these look delicious!!

  10. This custard filling is what i'm looking for,thanks for sharing with us.
    It's certainly is the Best Recipes & thanks for linking with us ^^
    PS: I gonna try this out ,very special compare with tradiational one..haha

  11. Hi Zoe, I believe I've found THE BEST Mooncake! I can imagine how they taste. Thank you very much for sharing this custard Mooncake.

  12. delicious mooncake and this is my to do list recipe

  13. Zoe, how clever of you! I have never tasted custard mooncakes. Since I love custard I know they must be super delicious, hence your boy crying in disappointment at Breadtop!

  14. Hi Zoe,
    Knock, knock. :p
    So this is the custard mooncake that you mention Ryan was so fond of. I must try this then. Before that can you send some over please?? :D

  15. They look so cute! And so delicious! I like the filling :)

  16. Custard filling sounds delish! My hubby will LOVE this!

  17. Hi Zoe, I have not tasted custard filling mooncake. But I saw a mooncake recipe with custard filling, wanted to try but choose to use lotus paste as I dare not 'ga ga cheong' ...

  18. Wow! I miss the moon cake festival , when I lived in malaysia I always look forward to them, and they always had halal corners so I get to savor them. red bean and custard ones are my favorite , but never tried one with this kind of pastry

  19. Hi Zoe,
    I have never seen custard mooncakes, maybe because I am not aware of it, as I am not a mooncake person! I can see why your son love it, it looks good! Thumbs up to you, for being such a wonderful mom, to go all out to make your little boy happy!

  20. Z, love your step by step pics, but that last one kills me. I have got to try to make these babies. I have a couple of wooden ma'amoul molds that should work just fine. xo

  21. I am new to baked custard mooncakes and your post has tempted me to try it out! Just wondering if I can replaced the tapioca flour with either corn flour or potato starch?

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      I have made this custard filling more than once and have been sticking to this recipe all the time because it has been working very well for me. Sorry that I have not tried replacing tapioca flour with corn flour or potato starch in this recipe and wouldn't know if it works :p


  22. These moon cakes look utterly delicious :D
    They are also so beautiful!

    Choc Chip Uru

  23. Wow! This is so impressive and the pastry is so lovely. It's mid-Autumn Festival, I'm going to take out my traditional wooden mold which I bought it from Hong Kong.

  24. Omg, wat a impressive mooncakes, this is too tempting..great efforts you have put Zoe.

  25. Mooncake with custard filling is new to me. These Mooncake sounds good to me. Shall try making the custard filling.

  26. Thanks for sharing too! I am new to this but my kids love custard buns so makes me interested to try!

  27. I love to eat this, last yr got to eat a few times as they started to sell in Singapore, hope this yr able to recd as gift again heeheehee... I tried happy flour recipe a few yrs ago, yours looks so tempting too.

  28. Hi, Zoe. Nice mooncake. Will try this later for sure!

  29. Hi Zoe, i have not tasted custard mooncake but think I've see something like custard filling or flavour in some confectioneries. Will lookout for it .. Your batch of nicely baked mimi custard mooncakes really light, delicate & yummy.

  30. Love the filling inside these moon cakes as I love custard!

  31. hi zoe, i'm not aware of these custard mooncakes, not sure if any outlets selling them here at my place, i doubt. so lazy to make mooncakes, hopefully one day i can get to try the ones from hkg..hehe..

  32. Hi Zoe, Amazing mooncakes & look so tempting ! Now I've to really get started if I wanna catch up with you all ! LOL Glad to be back in the wonderful world of food blogging after MIA for 2 long months ! :p

  33. Hi Zoe,
    The mooncakes are so pretty! I'm making this weekend too.

  34. Hi Zoe, I have bookmarked this and will try this. Have been looking for this recipe for a while..

  35. Hi Zoe I used your recipe and made these mooncakes yesterday. They taste absolutely divine. The only thing is they cracked. Wonder why?

    1. Hi Veronica,

      There are cracks on my freshly baked mooncakes too. I realised that the square ones have more cracks than the round ones. Eventually, they will shrink back slightly to form nicer surfaces :D


    2. Hi Veronica,

      Just visited your post and saw what you mean. I noticed that you have replaced shortening with a smaller amount of rice bran oil and wonder if this is the reason...


  36. Love, love, love this! Bookmarked this and kept looking at the recipe but putting on hold for the moment. Will definitely try this, most probably after this year's mid autumn festival by then. Lol!

  37. Hi..Zoe,

    How long can we keep this moon cakes?

    This is because this recipe use coconut milk.


    Tracy Chin

    1. Hi Tracy,

      We have finished our mooncakes all within a week. I kept mine in the fridge and bring them out to room temperature about 1-2 hour before consuming them.


    2. Thanks for your prompt reply. We need not re-bake it after we take it out from fridge? Tracy Chin

    3. Hi Tracy,

      I usually don't re-bake this mooncakes. In fact, it is a slightly crispy when it is freshly baked and develop a nice tender texture on the next day and we like these mooncakes the best when they are more on the tender side.


  38. Hi Zoe, I am also from Melbourne, Can you tell me where you get your shortening? I have been searching for awhile for this to make snow skin mooncake but has no luck so far. Found Copha shortening at the butter aisle in Woolworth but it so hard even after leaving out in room temperature. Thanks Jill

    1. Hi Jill,

      I bought my Crisco shortening from USA Foods (online). Yeah... Please don't use Copha shortening! It is high in saturated fat and wouldn't work in this recipe.



  39. I read some other baking moon cake receipts. It is said to spray some water on it before putting into oven, so that it wont crack while baking. Bake for a bit then brush with egg and keep baking. I don't know about the timing coz I don't cook.
    I just have a habit to Google some of the foods I ate and see how it was made. I hope this help with your cracking problem and make the square ones look better:)

  40. HI Zoe,

    Hubby's friend baked a batch of mooncakes with custard fillings, it was so yummy I had to have more! Can I ask where did you get the wooden mold? Thanks heaps for the recipe! Very excited about this! xx

    1. Hi, Sorry that I can't really remember exactly where I bought these mould. I think they should be from Phoon Huat and I bought them many years ago. Hope that you enjoy baking these custard mooncakes :)


  41. Hi Zoe,
    Is tapioca flour same as tapioca starch? Can i use tapioca starch instead of tapioca flour?

    1. Hi Carmen, Tapioca flour and starch are not the same! According to Bob's Red Mill, tapioca flour is not pregelatinized. Pregelatinized means that the starch has been cooked and dried, making it ideal for quick thickening. However, the least amount of tapioca flour used in this recipe should be able to replace with tapioca starch. Having said that, I have to say that I have not tried replacing tapioca flour with tapioca starch yet and wouldn't know if it will work :p

    2. thanks a lot Zoe, i will let you know how it turns out with tapioca starch ;)