September 6, 2019

Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅

Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡
By Published: 2019-09-06
Yay, it's almost time for Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節...my favorite Chinese festival!  I love the fact that it's a night festival (I'm an owl for sure) and the extravagance of Chinese lanterns floating like glowing gems thru the velvet night, illuminating the happy faces of children up well past their bedtime.  And...glory!...the sight of the Moon Goddess Chang'e 嫦娥 floating high in the sky in all her silvery glory is not to be missed.  

And besides all that I love making and baking and eating mooncakes, those wonderful moon shaped cakes stuffed with all manner of decadently delicious fillings.  (See the list of our other yummilicious mooncake recipes at the end of this post!)  And out of all those decadent mooncakes I think these particular mooncakes might be my favs.  Maybe cuz I dig the fragrant nuttiness of roasted black sesame.  Maybe cuz I lust after walnuts. I don't know...maybe I'm just nutty.  I just know that I love eating these deliciously satisfying Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes 黑芝麻核桃月餅, with it's tender golden crust wrapped around an oh so fragrant sesame filling dotted through with delicious bitter sweet bits of walnut.  I can eat a whole plate of these in one go!  That's right...the whole plate means all five of the mooncakes on the plate you're looking at...gulp, gulp...gone already!  Hee hee...

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Sesame seeds roasting in my trusty cast iron pan

I find black sesame seeds so delicious and unique when used in sweet pastries.  They are basically white sesame seeds but with their hulls (jackets!) on.  The hulls give the black sesame a tiny touch of bitterness and a subtle crunch which is just lovely.  The trick to sesame seeds, black or white, is to roast 'em until they start to pop and the air is filled with their heavenly nutty fragrance.  But be careful to keep the fire low, constant stirring the seeds so that they don't burn.

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Next the roasted sesame seeds are processed until oil extrudes and a paste is formed.  Glutinous rice flour is added to bulk and bind the paste.  A bit of butter or the traditionally used lard (see how to make your own lard) rounds out the paste.  I like to put in a bit of both fats for extra yumminess.  Toss in some chopped walnuts and this simple yet so yummilicious black sesame walnut filling is done.  A most delightfully satisfying filling, fragrantly nutty with that special intense sesame flavor and a soft luscious mochi kind of texture (from the glutinous rice) and the slightest crunch (from the black sesame.)

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

The thin, delicate and fragrant skin of the mooncake is the thing, I think, that truly makes it unique. This supple oily dough bakes up shiny (from the egg wash), firm enough to hold the pattern stamp and yet tender from the special ingredient of lye water or 鹼水.  Once baked and cooled the mooncake is rested for 2-3 days to allow the fragrant oil from the filling to absorb into the skin of the mooncake, melding the two flavors and textures together to create the soft fragrant skin that is unique to the mooncake, a process known as油.

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

The wrapping of the mooncake can be tricky because the perfect mooncake skin is thin and even all around.  It's not hard to get the dough thin as the oily dough is easy to handle but getting the skin evenly thin all around is a bit of a challenge.  But have no fear, brave mooncake warriors, we have developed a cheat for wrapping mooncakes with a thin even skin!   More on that below...

Ready to wrap?  First weigh out the dough.  Roll out thin in a circle and place a round of filling in the center.

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

Fold the dough around the filling, keeping the thickness even and letting any extra dough fold together and stick out.  Cut off the extra dough with scissors.  Pinch edges to seal.  Any holes can easily be patched by adding a piece of rolled out dough and pinching to seal.  

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

Smooth the now dough wrapped filling gently into a ball.  You now have a thin even skin wrapped around your mooncake!  For more detailed explanation and lots more photos of the process check out our post on How to Wrap a Mooncake.

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

Your rather ordinary ball of dough and filling is pressed into a wooden mold and comes out an elegantly shaped Chinese cake!  I LOVE the traditional wooden mooncake molds!  They are so amazingly beautiful and just more...



Pssst...don't forget to flour the mold well each time or else the mooncake might not decide to come out of the mold...forever!

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡

I adore making mooncakes.  It makes me happy to make such beautiful and yummilicious cakes.  And everyone loves me when I makes these gorgeous treats for them to gobble up.  Hey, what can I say, making and baking mooncakes is a win win situation!  Happy Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 to all!

black sesame, cake, chinese, mid-autumn festival, dessert, mooncake, recipe, traditional, Walnut, 黑芝麻, 核桃, 月餅, 中秋節, 黑芝麻核桃餡


Black Sesame Walnut Mooncakes Recipe  黑芝麻核桃月餅
(makes 16 mini mooncakes) Prep time (not including resting time): Cooking time:  

Black Sesame Paste Filling Recipe 黑芝麻核桃餡

Ingredients 
1 cup black sesame seeds, 140g
1/3 cup caster sugar, 45g
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp butter, 70g
1/3 cup glutinous rice flour 糯米粉, 53g
2-3 tbsp glutinous rice flour, extra
1 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:
Roast sesame seeds, stirring constantly, in a heavy bottomed pan over low heat until fragrant and starts to pop, a couple of mins.  Let cool.  Process in food processor or grind with mortar and pestle until oil releases and it forms a paste.  Add sugar, maple syrup and butter and pulse until incorporated.  Add 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour and pulse until the paste separates from the sides and holds together.  If filling not holding together add the extra rice flour, a tbsp at a time, until it does.  Add in walnuts and stir in evenly.  Divide into 16 balls, should be approx. 20g each.

Mooncake Dough Recipe 月餅皮

Ingredients 
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 156g
6 tbsp golden syrup, 127g
2.5 tbsp lard or peanut oil, 34g
1/4 tsp lye water 鹼水
1 egg, lightly whisked

Directions:
Mix flour, golden syrup, oil, and lye water together in a bowl.  Knead until smooth.  Cover and let rest 30 mins.  Divide into 16 balls, approx 15g each.

*******

Once your filling and dough are made and weighted out, it's time to wrap and stamp the mooncake.  First preheat oven to 375°F.

(Please note that our recipe is tailored for our traditional wooden mini mooncake mold but you may have a different size mooncake mold.  In that case you will need to adjust the weight amounts of your skin and filling by trial and error until the resulting mooncake can completely fills up your mold when pressed in.)  

Flatten one ball of dough to 3" round circle, approx 1/8" thick (3mm).  Place the sesame walnut ball in center and then wrap dough up around filling, keeping the thickness even by meeting together and folding extra dough outwards in flaps and cutting off with a scissors.  Lightly pinch dough edges together to seal.   Smooth into a round ball.  (See our post on How to Wrap a Mooncake for more details on wrapping.)

Flour your mooncake mold well (use an old toothbrush) and gently press the mooncake in until it fills the mold completely.  Once the mooncake is in, flip mold over, angle it about 30° angle to the table and give the bottom end a quick sharp tap or two on the table until the mooncake slides out.  Keep an eye on it so that you don't accidentally smash your mooncake as it comes out.  (Which, sadly, I've done more times than I care to tell.)  Also remember to flour each and every time or else madame mooncake might decide to live inside the mold and never come out.  Place onto parchment covered baking sheet, leaving 1" in between cakes.

Bake for 10 mins.  Remove from oven and brush the tops and sides lightly with beaten egg wash.  (Don't let the extra egg wash pool into the mooncake pattern, it will blur the top pattern as you can see from my photos.  Just a light wash is enough.)  Bake another 10-15 mins or until the mooncake is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Once cooled keep in air tight container at room temp for 2-3 days to rest before eating to allow skin to soften and absorb oils from the filling.  To serve cut in half or quarters to show off the filling.  Or just pop the whole darn thing in your mouth at once, that's the great thing about mini mooncakes!

Store in airtight container for up to 10 days at room temperature.  Happy mooncaking!

The beautiful lantern display at our neighborhood park this year!


More Marvelous Mooncakes at The Hong Kong Cookery:

make your own mooncake recipeLotus Paste and Salted Egg Yolk Mooncake 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅

Chinese candied citrus, chinese olive seed, cooked glutinous rice flour, five kernel mooncake, Five Nuts Mooncake, homemade golden syrup, mid autumn festival, recipe, 五仁月餅, 桔餅, 欖仁, 糕粉Five Nuts Mooncake Part I 五仁月餅

chinese, crystal mooncake, festival, ice skin mooncake, mid autumn festival, recipe, Snow Skin Mooncake, traditional, 冰皮月餅Snow Skin Mooncake 冰皮月餅
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