I had never thought of making mooncakes at home as the project seems rather daunting. I was perfectly happy to buy a box or two from the store each year during the Mooncake Festival to satisfy my sweet cravings. That changed when I saw these spiral beauties on Jeannie’s blog, the Baking Diary. I was totally mesmerized my the green Spiral Pandan Mooncakes with a purple Okinawan sweet potato filling. Talk about color in food…these were beyond striking! I had to check out the recipe which was to be found at House of Annie.
On closer examination of the recipe, it reminded me of the Shell Curry Puffs my Grandma taught me how to make way back then. While the ingredients and measurements are a little different, both recipes have many similarities. The pastry is made up of a combination of two types of dough to create the layers. One of the dough is fat and water based while the other is just fat based.
The technique though is quite different. I was curious to see if Grandma’s method would work for this recipe. Instead of making 8 or 10 small logs and then slicing each log into half, I used Grandma’s method by making a single rope and slicing it into 16 pieces of dough. From what I can see, the results are slightly different as their method produced more even colored layers while my method yielded more distinct cream and green colored layers.
I do like those purple sweet potatoes but unfortunately have not seen them here. With squashes coming into season right now, I decided to use the butternut squash instead. While the color combination is not as strikingly beautiful as the purple sweet potatoes, I am delighted to say that the butternut squash and pumpkin seeds filling was very moist and tasty.
Pandan paste is a relatively new ingredient to me and I was eager to give it a try. I managed to buy a bottle during my recent visit to Malaysia and Singapore. Unfortunately, I have not seen it here in Minnesota. Frozen pandan leaves can be purchased here but you would have to extract the juice using the method found in my post on Pandan Cream Pie. Otherwise, I would suggest substituting the pandan paste with vanilla essence and a few drops of green food coloring or omitting it altogether.
- 1 butternut squash (about 1¾lbs (800g) in weight)
- ¼ cup (55g) sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup (60ml) half and half or milk
- ½ cup (30g) toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1½ (225g) cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp (85g) butter
- 3 tbsp (25g) powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2/3 cup (160ml) cold water
- 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 7 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¾ tsp pandan paste
Peel, seed and cut butternut squash into chunks. Put squash in a steaming rack and steam for 10 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Mash till you get a smooth paste. Mix in toasted pumpkin seeds. When cool, shape into 16 balls, approximately the size of a walnut.
In a large bowl, add flour, butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two forks until resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add water and mix to form a soft, non-sticky dough. If dough is a little sticky, add a little more flour. Cover and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
Place flour and salt in a separate bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in oil and pandan paste. Mix to form an even colored dough. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. Cover and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough a into A circle about 8 inches (20cm) in diameter. Place dough B in the center of dough A. Gather up the sides of dough A to wrap over dough B. With seam side down, roll out dough into a rectangle of about 9-in x 12-in (23cm x 30cm).
With the short side, fold dough facing you over by a third. Reach over and fold the other side over.
Turn dough 90° and roll out again into a 9-in x 12-in (23cm x 30cm) rectangle.
Again fold dough into third like the first time. Turn dough 90° and this time roll dough into a rectangle of about 14-in x 12-in (35cm x 30cm). With the long side, roll dough up into a rope.
With both hands on the rope, continue to roll until it is about 1¾ inches in diameter.
Cut off ends and slice rope into 16 pieces, each about 5/8 inch thick.
Roll out each piece of dough with cut side up into a circle of about 4 inches (10cm) in diameter. Place a ball of filling in the center. Gather up the edges to wrap around filling. Place seam side down onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of dough and filling.
Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and let cool on wire rack.
The wonderful aroma of pandan flavor filled the kitchen while these delightful mooncakes were baking in the oven. I could hardly wait to taste them.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!