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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival also locally known as The Lantern Festival or The Mooncake Festival is here again.  This festival is celebrated in the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar.  This is the time where all the confectionaries and bakeries aggressively market their mooncakes.

When I was little, the mooncakes are sold in packet of 5 cakes in it and filling used to be simpler, either lotus paste or red bean and for those who can afford it, will opt for mixed nuts with bits of ham in it.  Now, the delicacies are sold in various flavors where you are spoilt for choice!  The options are plentiful - there are pandan flavor, lotus paste with salted eggs, red bean, durian, green tea, mixed nuts, white beans, etc.

There are different kind of mooncakes in the market.  There are the traditional ones like the picture above, or you can have Shanghai Mooncake which has a flaky crust, 'Ping-pei' which is chilled soft pastry and even Jelly Mooncake. Where ever you go, you will see stalls being set up in the supermarket or in the Chinese medical halls, selling all types of mooncakes from various bakeries.  And the price for a piece?  Oh my! It has certainly appreciate for sure!

Personally, I would prefer the Mooncake Biscuits which is made from the leftover dough  of the mooncake pastry.  The leftover dough is being shaped in little animal moulds as in the shapes of little piglet, fish, chicken,  etc.  I'm a big fan of these soft chewy biscuits.  It's yummy with a cup of chinese tea.  However, these biscuits are not easily available unlike the mooncakes.  Since I can't find them near my home, I've decided to bake them myself.  So, this morning, after buying lanterns for my daughters, I popped over to the baking ingredients grocer and bought a wooden little piglet mould.  Then the searching for recipe starts and I found one from Amy Beh's Cookbook.  The recipe requires 3-4 hours of resting the liquid and then another 6-7 hours of resting the dough.  It just takes too long. So I decided to just add everything and let the dough rest for 3 hours...and voila! Here's my very first little piglet biscuits!

200g golden syrup
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 alkaline water
50g corn oil
Mix all together.  (this is the part where you need to let it rest for 4-5 hours but I omit this stage)

300g superfine flour, sifted
a little dark soya sauce for the color 

1. Mix the liquid mixture above with the dry ingredients and mix with wooden spoon. Do not knead.
2. Cover dough with cling film and let rest for 6-7 hours (I let it rest for 3 hours).
3. Shape dough in mold and bake in pre-heated oven at 180C for 7-8 mins.
4. Take it out of the oven and let cool for 1-2 mins.  Brush with egg wash (1 egg yolk mix w 1tsp water).
5. Return to oven and bake for another 5-6mins.
6.  Cool on rack and store.

*Note: For more flavor, I would suggest to add 1tbsp of five spice powder to the flour.

The texture of this biscuit should not be crispy but rather soft and chewy.

And now, the best part.  Lantern time!

I remember when I was a kid, my siblings and I would round up our friends and since we can't afford to buy the lanterns, we put on our creative hat and did our own version of lantern - a makeshift of empty milo tin or margarine tin, make a straight cut about 4 slits around the can (at that time, safety never crossed our minds at all!) and compressed the can a little so that it will 'open up' and placed a candle in the center.  Make 2 holes at the top of the can from opposite ends by knocking in a nail to form the holes and run through a wire so that it will not burn and use a twig as the lantern holder.  And that's our lantern!

I recall then that our neighboring kids (they could afford paper lanterns), always got theirs on fire.  Then they started to cry and demand a new one from their parents.  Well, being kids then, it was kind of satisfying to watch their nice looking lantern burned! Especially when it happened to the arrogant neighbor! That's when my siblings and I thought, 'Huh! No one can fight our lantern..ours don't get burn'! lol.  Well...that was eons ago!

Anyway, my kids and their BFF get to play their lantern today!  And their's definitely not a cut out Milo tin!  They can burn their lantern too if they want cos that's what being kids are all have fun AND the fact that lanterns don't last...unlike a milo can (until it gets rusty)!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all who celebrates this wonderful festival!


  1. We used to think the 5 in a pack was really good, until we tried the ones that comes in boxes!! Hahaha! Your little piggies biscuit looks so cute!
    The girls must be having fun with the lanterns!
    Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to everyone!

  2. the oinks are sooo kewttttt !! happie midautum :) 17:02. jelly mooncake next? keke

  3. yes, my 2 girls r playing the lantern with kid next door rite now..wish i also can play but too 'tua bangka' alredi..haahaa...Happy Mid-Autumn to all too!

    Hi 17.02..thanks for being an 'ardent' fan! no mooncake jelly la..maybe next yr..if I remember to make..haahaa

  4. You are very smart that adding a little dark soya sauce to enhance the colour of the piggies and mooncakes.

  5. Thanks,'s in the recipe that I got from ..heehee

  6. This was such a lovely post. The cake and the smaller pastry are both gorgeous treats, but your remembrance o from childhood was beautiful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary


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