Monday 1 June 2015

Neapolitan Singapore Flag Snowskin Mooncakes

Presenting possibly Singapore's first Neapolitan Singapore flag snowskin mooncakes with Kinder Bueno "truffle centers"! These patriotic mooncakes not only proudly display our country's flag, they also represent Singapore's multiracial society with the different races living in harmony, just like the three childhood ice-cream flavours that go so well together which we are all familiar with: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla :).

You may ask, isn't it too early for mooncakes and national day? Yes, it is. These mooncakes came about  because I have a request for coming up with a Singapore flag mooncake for our upcoming SG50 church carnival in August. Since nobody had any idea how to start, I thought I would give it a shot :). Thank God that the experiment turned out well!

An olive oil based snowskin recipe was requested so I adapted from another recipe, instead of using my old recipe that is shortening based and remains soft and smooth for a week. The Kinder Bueno hidden surprise was inspired by Shirley, the person who taught me how to make my first snowskin mooncake. So I can't take any credit for this idea. As this is going to be my first (gasp) live demo session for anything related to the culinary arts that is open to the general public (not targeted at seasoned bakers), I have designed the recipe and steps slightly differently from my usual style. I have provided ingredient measurements in cups and spoons, and an alternative way of making the Singapore flag design without specialized fondant/ cookie cutters. Do note that measurement of ingredients with a digital scale is more accurate than using cups and spoons.

Here are the ingredients which can be bought from Phoon Huat and regular supermarkets.

Ingredients (makes 8 small snowskin mooncakes):

About 1/4 cup of sifted cooked glutinous rice flour (kou fien or 糕粉) for dusting

Red dough
30g (3 tbs) kou fien
36g (1/4 cup and 1/2 tbs) icing sugar
7g (1.25 tsp) olive oil
38g (2.5 tbs) water
1/2 tsp strawberry paste (emulco)
1 drop of gel red food colouring (optional)

White dough (main)
30g kou fien
36g icing sugar
7g olive oil
40g water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of white gel food colouring (optional)*

White dough (moon and stars)
5g (1/2 tbs) kou fien
6g (1/2 tbs and 1/2 tsp) icing sugar
1g (1/4 tsp) olive oil
7g (1.5tsp) water
2 drops of white gel food colouring (optional)*

185g chocolate lotus paste
150g white lotus paste
35g melted chocolate (use dark chocolate if you prefer less sweet)
1/2 tsp cocoa powder

2 strips (one packet as shown in photo above) of Kinder Bueno, broken to 8 individual pieces

* if you don't add white colouring, your white snowskin will have a dull yellowish tinge so you may want to omit the vanilla extract to keep the skin as white as possible.

** measure about 1 tbs worth of paste for each mooncake if you don't have a digital weighing scale.

1. Sift together flour and icing sugar into a medium sized bowl for each colour of flour, and into a small bowl for small portion of white dough.

2. Mix together water, oil, paste/extract and colouring into small bowls.

Top photo shows liquid mixture without colouring added. Bottom photo shows one drop of red and a few drops of white colouring added.

3. Add liquid mixture to each of the flour and sugar mixture. Use a spatula to mix until a ball of dough forms.

4. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. This is important to ensure that the dough is smooth.

Don't forget to do the same for the small portion of white dough. I didn't take photo of that.

5. Portion out the chocolate paste to 23g pieces. If you don't have access to chocolate paste like I was on my recent trip to Phoon Huat (out of stock), you can make your own. I used Aunty Yochana's recipe to make chocolate paste from regular lotus paste. Just mix lotus paste, melted chocolate and cocoa powder together until well combined. Simple :). Just make sure that you melt the chocolate slowly over double-boiler or microwave. Do not heat the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate over direct flame. Round off any sharp corners on the Kinder Bueno pieces and shave bits off with a knife until they are about 2cm in size.

Wrap each Kinder Bueno piece with chocolate paste. Set aside.

6. Take one portion of dough and place on a baking sheet about the size of A4 paper. Fold the sheet in half and use that as the non-stick surface to knead the dough a few times until smooth. If the dough feels very sticky, sprinkle a bit of kou fien while you knead. Unorthodox method of kneading :p. Most people use plastic gloves but I like to work with as few logistics as possible and I like to be able to feel the dough texture that I work with, whether it is snowskin, bao or bread dough.

7. Dust the surface of the dough with some kou fien and roll into a log. Cut the log to 8 equal portions with a bench scraper or knife. If you have a digital scale, you may weigh out 8 portions of about 28g of dough for each mooncake (14g for each coloured dough).

Repeat for the other colour of dough.

8. Take one small cutout ball of dough and place on the baking sheet. Keep the rest of the dough in the bowl with cling wrap covering to prevent them from drying out. Roll the dough with the baking sheet folded into half as shown in second picture below, until the width is slightly wider than the 5cm scalloped round cookie cutter (you can buy from Phoon Huat) that we are going to use to shape the mooncake. Make sure that the dough is rolled until a straight edge is against the fold such that you get a roughly semi-circle shape (third picture below). Set aside on another baking sheet while you work on the red dough.

Repeat for the red dough.

9. Dust your fingers with some kou fien. Carefully place the red dough next to the white dough, with a bit of the red dough overlapping the white one (first picture below). Cover this with baking sheet and roll until the two pieces are stuck together and even in thickness (second picture below). Flip the dough over such that the side with the white dough over the red dough is facing upwards. Place a ball of filling in the middle (third picture). Dust your hands with kou fien and carefully wrap the filling with dough (fourth picture). At any time you find it too sticky to handle, simply lightly dust with more flour.

Turn the wrapped up ball over and you get this...

I must admit that the boundary is not so neat on my first attempt. It's ok. You can nudge the boundary a bit with your finger until it looks even :).

10. Dust the mooncake with flour and carefully fit it into the round cutter with the pretty side facing down on the baking sheet. Gently press the mooncake into the cutter using your fingers, making sure that the dough fill the scalloped edges for a well defined mooncake shape.

Gently push the mooncake out of the cutter downwards. Turn the mooncake over and you should get this...

Don't worry if yours does not look so neat on your first try. Mine wasn't!

11. Roll the small portion of white dough between baking sheet as thinly as you can. Dust the surface with flour (kou fien). Use a small round cutter to cut out a circle and the crescent moon. Stick it onto the mooncake. Use the smallest fondant star cutter to cut out stars. Directly deposit the star onto the mooncake. Be careful where you place the stars as once they are stuck, they remain stuck and it's difficult to adjust the position.

And you are done :)

But I understand not everyone has fondant star cutters or even small circle cutters at home. So here's how you can do an improvised design with jumbo straw and Yakult straw.

Cut out the crescent moon using a small section of the jumbo straw. Use a short length of Yakult straw to cut out the star and deposit it on the mooncake by using a toothpick to push it out of the straw.

The result isn't as stunning but recognizable :).

Remember to store the mooncakes in the fridge in an airtight container that is not too big (not too much air space) for it to prevent it from drying out. Chill overnight or at least 2 hours before consuming.

Just to share my first experiment with making Singapore flag mooncakes with square cookie cutter, doing without white colouring and adding on the stars and moon before moulding the mooncake using cookie cutter.

I made these before the more beautiful ones you see at the beginning of the post ;)

I have tasted it and shared this batch with family and friends. Most of us find it very nice although one friend and myself find it a little too sweet. The snowskin is nice and smooth and the kinder bueno provides a nice interesting texture to the whole mooncake. As for whether the snowskin is able to stay soft for many days, my old recipe keeps better than this one due to the higher fat content and the fact that the dough is "cooked" a little with hot water. But this method is simpler and does not require a stove. It uses olive oil too so it's healthier :). Best to consume these mooncakes within 3-4 days of making.

I hope you are encouraged to have fun making this to commemorate our nation's 50th birthday :).

You may be interested to know what else you can make with cooked glutinous rice flour other than snowskin mooncakes. Checkout my post for steamed soft cake :).

Update: Thank God that the demo went smoothly and I quickly got over the nerves and actually enjoyed sharing my fun with others :). The feedback for these mooncakes was very good, with people commenting that it's really yummy and tasty! 

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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