September 25, 2023

Fruit Mooncake 水果月餅

If you've been following our little food adventures, you may recall how delighted I was with our efforts with homemade humble but versatile white bean paste and the revelation that all kinds of flavors could be very successfully infused with it.  Check out our post on Chocolate Filled Raspberry Tang Yuan for one such very successful chocolately infusion.

For Mid Autumn Festival this year we decided to experiment again, this time infusing the flavors and gorgeous colors of fruit into the white bean paste fillings for our homemade mooncakes.  Here are, if I may say so myself, the absolutely beautiful results of our efforts.  Our Homemade Fruit Mooncakes 水果月餅  are out of this world: tender golden crusts beautifully imprinted with traditional mooncake patterns wrapped snuggly about brilliantly hued fruit infused fillings.  

Goddess Chang’e flies to the moon

Mid Autumn Festival 中秋節 is our favorite festival of the year.  It's all about the gorgeously full harvest moon, children up late running everywhere, family eating, friends laughing, merry glowing lanterns bobbing in the velvet night amid luscious bites of rich mooncakes.  

This festival combines a celebration of the fall harvest and a worship of the moon goddess Chang’e 嫦娥, she who drank an elixir of immortality and flew up to the moon to reside forevermore.  Above is a lovely illustration of the ascension of Chang’e.  The illustration shows the moment she achieves immortality and begins to rise up towards the moon.  Her husband, as you can see, is left bereft without her.

But as the story goes, she decided to reside in the moon so as to still be close to her husband.  On the husband’s part, he laid out her favorite cakes and fruits in the garden to offer sacrifice to her as the Moon Goddess.  And that is the beginning of the Mid Autumn Festival and mooncakes.

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Following ever since in the steps of Chang'e's loving husband's devotion, Chinese each year at this time  go moon gazing and eat mooncakes in honor of the moon and her goddess.  We will do the same this year with our lovely homemade fruit mooncakes.  

So let's get on to the making of fruit mooncakes!  We'll start with the fruit infused filling.  Basically you take white bean paste (click for homemade recipe) and then both flavor and color it with fruit.  

There are two ways to go about adding fruit.  You could start with fresh fruit, of course, but I had the idea to start with freeze dried fruit, having had much success adding freeze dried fruit to tang yuan dough.  So I got me some freeze dried mango and dragon fruit, both fruits being quite brilliantly hued, important to making an eyecatching filling.

The second little problem I had was that the freeze dried mango, in addition to being sticky from humidity, was also not really as colorful as a mango should be.  So I ended up pureeing a fresh mango to add to the freeze dried mango, and then cooking the whole down to a thick puree before mixing the white bean paste and cooking it all down to a firm paste.

Update:  And I just now realized that you can actually buy freeze dried fruit already powdered!  So convenient!  Get some already powdered freeze dried mango and powdered red dragonfruit or whatever flavor you like and just mix it straight into your white bean paste.  Saves a lot of time!

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Here is the final result of the fruit infusion into the white bean paste.  You see how the filling paste is completely lusciously colored with the fruit and how it is firm enough to be shaped into balls.  Your fruit mooncake filling is ready!  Just let these chill while you make the wrapper dough.

TIP: The filling balls should be weighed before rolling into balls and the weight should be determined by the size of the mooncake mold you are using.  There are so many different kinds of mooncake molds nowadays. 

To determine the weights needed for your particular mold, experiment with the first mooncake you make, guesstimating by eye for the size and therefore weight needed for the filling and the wrapper until you get one that fills the mooncake mold exactly.  Remember that the mooncake skin shouldn't be too thick.

Filling done and chilling, we next make the wrapper dough.  Mix flour, golden syrup, lard (or oil) and a tiny bit of lye water.  The golden syrup is used to help the mooncake skin retain moisture and become soft and chewy.  A bit of lye water 鹼水 helps to achieve the golden brown color.

Just mix it all up until you have an oily but not sticky to the fingers dough.

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Following the weights that you have worked out to fit your particular mooncake mold weigh out all the portions for the wrapper dough (left) and the fruit infused filling (right).  We used the traditional wood mooncake mold of the smallest size.  I rather like these as they make perfect bite sized mooncakes which is kinda cool.

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The mooncake wrapper is rolled out and the fruit filling placed on top.  The wrapper is gathered up and around until the filling is snuggly enclosed inside.  To get some great tips and cheats on how to wrap the skin evenly and thinly about the filling see our guide on How to Wrap a Mooncake.

Your mooncake is now wrapped.  Time for the fun part, molding!  Drop the wrapped mooncake into the mold.  The side with the thicker thickness of wrapper should face down.  This extra bit of wrapper thickness will allow the mold pattern to be impressed more deeply into the cake which then allows it to retain its pattern more clearly throughout the baking process.

See in photo right that the mooncake mold is exactly filled up.  This is what you want to achieve when figuring out the weights needed for the wrapper skin and the filling in the beginning of the wrapping process.  Just enough of everything to fill the mold up exactly.

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Oh, yeah, super important.  Be sure to flour your wrapped mooncake all around before setting into the mold.  If you forget you're gonna have a shy as pie mooncake that just won't want to come out.

Once properly floured the mooncake should come out easily from the mold.  Just turn the mold upside down and give a sharp rap on the table once or twice and the cake should slide out.  Be sure to have a hand under the mooncake to catch it though otherwise if it lands on the table it's gonna be a sad smooshed mooncake.

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This is one of the biggest reasons I enjoy the making of mooncakes.  Don't these molded mooncakes just look super duper cool!?  I get such a kick out of being able to make such pretty things with my own two hands!

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The mooncakes are now baked until just set, then removed from the oven and brushed with an egg yolk wash before returning for a finishing bake.  On the top and the sides, brush a bit of egg yolk and your mooncakes will come out with a most lovely golden glaze.  Don't let any egg pool on the top, though, that will end up obscuring the pattern when baked.

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Fresh out of the oven, look at these gorgeous mooncakes!  You'll be tempted at this point to eat one right away, for sure, but actually at this moment the mooncakes are not yet ready.  The skin is kinda crisp and dry at the moment and need to cool and rest for a couple of days.  This is called the 上油 or 'absorb oil' phase.  What happens in this time is the skin absorbs the oil from the filling and becomes soft and fragrant.

When all is done, it's time to find a quiet spot under the autumn's full moon, hang up your festive lanterns, break open a bottle of osmanthus wine and enjoy yourself some yummilicious fruit mooncakes 水果月餅: soft fragrant fruit fillings of the most gorgeous hues wrapped in delicately patterned tender skins.  Enjoy, dear readers, and Happy Mid Autumn Festival to all!

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Fruit Mooncake Recipe  水果月餅
(26 mini mooncakes)  Prep:10 mins  Wrap time: 20 mins   Cook time: 20 mins



    Mooncake skin


Prepare the filling:  Split the white bean paste in half.  Process the freeze dried fruits into powder form and mix with the white bean paste until completely incorporated, making one mango flavored paste and one dragon fruit flavored paste.  Weigh the fruit infused paste into 0.6oz/17g portions and roll into balls.  Cover and chill in fridge while making the mooncake skin.

Prepare the mooncake skin:  Add flour, golden syrup, lard and lye water into a mixing bowl and mix until an oily, smooth, non sticky dough is formed.  If too dry add a bit more lard or oil.  If too wet add more flour, one tbsp at a time.  Cover and let rest for 15 mins.  

Preheat:  Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Wrap the mooncake:  Weigh out wrapper dough into 0.63oz/18g portions and roll into balls.  Take one ball and roll out to a 3 inch circle.  Place one fruit filling ball on the wrapper.  Place all onto palm, then gather the dough up and around the filling using a gather, turn, gather turn motion until filling is entirely wrapped inside.  

Please see our How to Wrap a Mooncake post for tips and great cheats on the perfect mooncake wrapping method.

Roll the wrapped mooncake gently to return to a nice round ball shape.  Dust generously with flour all around.  

Press mooncake mold:  Drop wrapped and floured mooncake into mold.  Try to drop the side with more thickness of wrapper facing down.  Press gently so that the mooncake completely fills the mold.  Turn mold upside down and tap the end once or twice while holding a hand below to catch the mooncake as it falls out.  Repeat for all the mooncakes.

Place molded cakes onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet with an inch inbetween cakes.  Use a pastry brush to brush off any excess flour.

Bake the mooncake:  Bake for 10 mins.  While baking prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg yolk with 1 tsp water.  Remove mooncakes from oven at 10 min mark and brush egg wash over the tops and sides.  Make sure that the egg wash doesn't puddle in the top patterns.  Place back into the oven to bake another 5-10 mins (depends on mooncake size) or until the mooncakes are a golden yellow.

Let cool completely before putting into an airtight container for 2 days for a 'rest phase'.  After the resting phase your fruitiliciously delicious mooncakes are ready to eat.  Enjoy and happy moon gazing to all! 

Storage:  Keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.



  1. What if I were to use fresh fruit vs freeze dried. How much would I add to the 220 g of white bean paste?

    1. Using fresh fruit is a whole other ballpark, so I'm not sure. You would have to cook down the fruit alot to reduce the extra liquid before adding to the white bean paste. You won't get the nice bright colors that you can get with the freeze dried fruit, so I would recommend using the freeze dried to get the best results. ~ellen