Banh Trung Thu Moon Cakes

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We previously wrote about the meaning of Tet trung thu festival and the ubiquitous and delicious mooncakes but never thought of making them ourselves.  We thought it was too complicated to make at home, but fortunately we were proven wrong.  Many moons ago, when Cathy of Gastronomy blog came back from Vietnam with authentic wooden modes for banh trung thu, we got together with friends for an afternoon of baking moon cakes in the middle of spring  lead by our fearless leader, Diep of Good Girl Dinette.  It didn’t matter if Tet trung thu always falls in September/October of each year, we all wanted to learn.  Flour was tossed, eggs beaten and moon cakes we knocked out, literally.  There’s always a pent up craving for moon cakes each year  as they’re only made during the weeks leading up to the  midautumn moon festival.  Mooncake stands will pop up at street corners of Vietnam to satisfy the masses.  Typically baked, this wheat dough pastry resemble a hockey puck, albiet one that’s much more pleasing to the mouth. They  are often filled with lotus seed or bean paste with or without various nuts, dried candied fruits (mứt), salty yolks, and other savories such as sausage, chicken or pork.

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Baking mooncakes at home isn’t terribly hard, you just need a bit of preparation and special mooncake modes which is often the hardest part to find. Traditional modes are carved from a single block of wood and we’ve only seen them in Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Plastic modes however can occasionally be found in Asian markets, particularly in large Chinatowns so keep an eye out for them the next time you go.

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It’s a great activity to have family and friends over, catching up on lost times and pounding out mooncakes. Plus, it’s tons of fun trying to see who makes the best impressions using the mode as it does take a combination of confidence and skill to strike the mode the right spots to knock out the perfect mooncake. Here’s a quick video on how it’s done:

Indeed, baking mooncakes is cherished family tradition every autumn with Diep and her family, not unlike a Vietnamese version of Thanksgiving. If baked mooncakes aren’t your thing, either due to taste of gluten allergy, try rice flour based  ice or snow skin  mooncakes with it’s mochi like chew. If you’re up to the challenge, try Diep’s recipe below and have a great Tet trung thu on September 30th!

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Banh Trung Thu with Roasted Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

filling

5 lbs sweet potatoes
1.5 stick butter, at room temperature
400 grams granulated sugar
1 tbsp freshly ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp kosher salt

dough

600 grams brown sugar
2 c water
130 grams oil
1850 grams ap flour
12 egg yolks
3 tbsp freshly grated ginger

Directions:

Sweet Potato Filling

1. roast sweet potatoes until they are tender and can be easily pierced
with knife.
2. peel and discard skins and mash potatoes.
3. mix together butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. add to
mashed sweet potatoes. let cool.

Dough

1. combine brown sugar and water in a pot and cook over medium heat
until sugar dissolves. cool and transfer to standing mixer with whisk
attachment.
2. add oil and ginger, and egg yolks.
3. slowly add flour. At some point, the dough will be too stiff for the whisk
attachment. replace with a paddle attachment and continue to add the
rest of the flour.
4. transfer dough to a worktable, for rolling.

Assembly

1. form filling into balls. the size will depend on the size of your
mooncake mold.
2. take a bit of dough and roll out until it forms a sheet about 1/8 inch
thick.
3. Enrobe the filling with the dough. pinch the seams to seal. Place on
silpat-lined baking sheets.

Baking

1. pre-heat oven to 350.
2. spray mooncakes with some water, then apply an eggwash for a glossy
sheen afterwards
3. bake for 15 mins.
4. spray mooncakes again. Turn down oven to 300 and bake until crust is
golden.

 

 

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22 Responses to “Banh Trung Thu Moon Cakes”

  1. 1

    ChubbyChineseGirl — September 26, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    Wow! this is awesome! very very awesome. You guys are the only ppl I know who make their own moon cake… and did I mention that’s just awesome!? =)

  2. 2

    Judy Le — September 26, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    I would LOVE to try and make something like this! Do you know of any recipes or ingredient substitutes that would make this possible for a Dairy-free Celiac? Thanks for all the great posts!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — September 26th, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

      try the nonbaked rice flour versions of mooncake.

  3. 3

    Grace — September 26, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    Oh thank you for posting this! I have been looking for a good Vietnamese Moon Cake in NY and have found nothing, so I’m glad I can at least try this at home! <3

  4. 4

    Be — September 26, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    If you are looking for the plunger type of mooncake moulds, there are plenty on ebay.

  5. 5

    Phuong — September 26, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    Thank u chi so much for this mooncake recipe. My search for a quick easy moon cake recipe has officially stopped. I will make them this weekend for my daughter’s birthday.

  6. 6

    Phuong — September 26, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    I have a question. How many cakes does this recipe make?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — September 27th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

      this recipe is from a friend diep, i think we must have made two dozen that day

  7. 7

    Sheri Hulme — September 27, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    You can find lovely wooden moon cake molds all over Chinatown and also on Clement Street in San Francisco. They’re beautiful!

  8. 8

    Anne — September 27, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have wanted to make my own moon cakes!

  9. 9

    elizabethranger (BubbleTeaDinner) — September 29, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    I’m in Vietnam right now, and Tet Trung Thu is tonight! (well, it’s been happening all week), and now I’m craving mooncakes more than ever! Mmmm… I”m also absolutely jazzed at your insistence that they are easy to make at home. Can you imagine the possibilities? You could fill that pastry with anything! This is really, really cool.

  10. 10

    Kim nguyen — October 1, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    Why the skin after baked turn hard as rock, and it is still hard the next day?
    thanks for answering.

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — October 3rd, 2012 @ 11:45 am

      we’re not sure, this is our friend diep’s recipe and will ask her. sorry about that!

  11. 11

    JulieD — October 3, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    These are so gorgeous!!! good job!!

  12. 12

    Great Vietnam Holiday — October 9, 2012 @ 6:19 am

    Love these! They look really good!

  13. 13

    kp — October 10, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

    “MOLD” not “MODE” (:

  14. 14

    recipe video — October 12, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    This was a fantastic recipe. I really enjoyed watching the video. Very good stuff you have here, and really great tasting dishes!

  15. 15

    sochu — November 29, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

    I like eat Moon Cakes, Thank you for share.

  16. 16

    Kelly @ LifemadeSweeter — February 16, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    Wow, these look amaaazing! Thank you for sharing, I have added this to my list of “things to make one day”:))) I absolutely love your blog and all your recipes!

  17. 17

    Phuong H. — July 16, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    They look so yummy!! Do you guys have a recipe for the original filling with just the mung beans?

  18. 18

    Samantha — July 30, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

    I love moon cake! it was always one of my favorite treats as a kid and always looked forward to the moon festival every year. Definitely making this sometime!

  19. 19

    bestmooncake — July 27, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

    wow, i love mooncake i wish i can try Vietnam style mooncake :). what flavour does vietname style mooncake is offering?

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