Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! This year it falls on September 27, 2015, and I’d like to introduce you to the lesser-known Suzhou-style mooncake. It’s savory and it does not have lotus paste, egg yolks, or red bean paste stuffed inside. Instead, it’s got a lovely, aromatic pork filling that's surrounded by an incredibly flaky exterior. It’s sold year-round at bakeries, but of course during the ,Mid-Autumn Festival, they’re consumed by the dozen. If you can't find or don't want to use lard, you can use other forms of fat, such as shortening, butter, or oil. I'd recommend lard though. For step-by-step instructions, see here: https://food52.com/blog... —Betty
Combine meat ingredients and shape into 12 balls. Cover lightly with cling wrap and place in the fridge to firm up.
For the water dough, mix all of the ingredients together and knead until very smooth. Add water or flour as needed. The dough should be soft with no lumps. Divide into 12 balls. Set on table, cover with cling wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
For the lard dough, mix all of the ingredients together until they form a dough. Divide into 12 balls. Cover in cling wrap and set aside. The lard dough will be much more dry, yet still oily. It’ll almost flake apart but it should hold together.
Roll the hybrid ball of dough into a long, thin oval. Then roll it into a log, widthwise.
Repeat with the remaining 11 balls of dough, making sure to keep the finished logs under cling wrap to prevent drying out. Let the logs rest for 20 minutes.
Take one log and press your finger down the middle so that the two edges bends upward. Now flatten this semicircle with your palm so that you see two spirals—the two flattened ends of the dough logs—along the surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin circle.
Place one of the firm balls of meat inside the circle and bring the sides of dough up.
Pleat and scrunch the edges of the dough together, making sure to press tightly to seal. Use scissors to cut off any excess dough. Flip the ball over and set it aside, covering it loosely with cling wrap to prevent drying out. Repeat with all of the logs of the dough and balls of meat.
Heat a dry pan over low heat. Place the mooncake, their smooth sides up, in the pan.
Once the bottoms are nicely browned, flip and continue to fry. The outer layer will start to split. Once both sides are golden brown, remove the mooncakes from the pan and serve hot.
You can also bake the mooncakes: Preheat oven to 375° F, brush the mooncakes with an egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with a splash of water, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.