To begin with, its not that I'm really slow at writing up my report on Project Making Mooncakes, its more that the Chow pup and I, once we gathered all the ingrediants [including the infamous lye water] just couldn't get it together to make the dough. But at last, on Wednesday night [a good two weeks after the actual Moon Festival] we finally made the dough and on Thursday, we made moon cakes.
The short version is I think I invented the Chinese fig newton. The crust/dough had that fig newton texture to it and the filing had the same consistency only it tasted like red bean. The mooncakes were very tasty and we plan to make them again since the recipe for the golden syrup makes lots and lots of syrup. As far as complexity goes, I have to say, this wasn't that hard. A little time consuming but not hard. I mean, I've made cassoulet [sp] starting with the duck confit, I make jam when I'm stressed and I've done other lengthy recipes like springerle cookies. Mooncakes are nothing compared to cassolette.
We used the recipe I linked to my original post. The hardest part was finding maltose and lye water in the same store--we had to go to lots of groceries because the place that had all the ingrediants closed at 4:59 and we arrived at 5:01. We had mooncake molds--purchased at an antique street sale in Beijing. For filing we combined pre-made red bean paste with toasted pine nuts.
One thing that may have affected our outcome was how long we let the dough rest. The directions say 5 hours. I work---chow pup doesn't cook on his own, our dough rested for about 18 to 20 hours. Everything still tasted fine but next time we will make them on a weekend and see the longer rest had any affect.
The instructions said to take a ball of dough, flatten it, fill it and fold over to seal---think making an empanada or pierogi. I found that to be quite unsucessful--the dough was "short" and always got holes. Holes are not necessarily a bad thing, as the filing is so thick that it doesn't run out but visually, it wasn't so great. So I switched to a more "ravoli" approach---divide dough by about 1/3, flatten large piece, fill, place second flattened piece on top. That was quite sucessful.
Can't say anything about how long they last, ie shelf life, because we ate them all by Sunday night.
So next year, lets all go out and supplement those pricy store bought jobs by making our own mooncakes!