Saturday, October 02, 2004

mooncake galore part 2:
the not-so-traditional: snow-skin mooncakes

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♥ snow-skin mooncake at emperor garden bakery, chinatown

the not-so-traditional: snow-skin mooncakes or bing pi in mandarin and ping pei in cantonese are unbaked mooncakes. dont you think the name is kinda cute? reminds me of winter! wonder why it's not called "xue bing" (snow cake). It probably came about in the early 90s from Hong Kong. unlike its traditional peer, the snow-skin mooncakes are best eaten the day it is made. they dont keep long so it is usually kept refrigerated.

it seems like there are 2 types of view towards the snow-skin mooncakes. there is this side who claims that snow-skin mooncakes are more oilier and more fattening and then there is this other side claiming snow-skin mooncakes as the healthy low-fat alternative.

i am on neither side. oh! who cares, really? sometimes you just want to be able to enjoy something once in a while without worrying too much about what other people think. beside, we only have mooncakes once a year.

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♥ snow-skin mooncakes
personally i find myself enjoying snow-skin mooncakes more than the traditional one. probably because they are not as heavy. i bought these two snow-skin mooncakes from emperor garden bakery in chinatown. i couldnt resist getting them when i happened to walk past the bakery.

hm. ok. i didnt "happened to walk past". i actually went to chinatown just to get them.

i have to say i dont really like snow-skin mooncakes from malaysia and singapore. somehow, the malaysian and singaporean snow-skins taste very much like sugar paste. you get this sandy-sugary feeling in your mouth. the combination of a super sugary crust with super sweet fillings isnt that much of an excitement to your appetence.

the emperor bakery's snow-skins are a little better. it is more chewy and not as sweet. i always have the feeling that the snow-skin idea actually brunches out from asian glutinous rice-cakes. it reminded me of japanese rice-cake like daifuku except that japanese one is so much softer. it also reminds me of hong kong snack: lo mai chee (glutinous rice-cake usually with peanut or red bean filling and coated with desicicated coconut); and taiwanese "mua-chee" (very similar to japanese mochi. probably like a mix of japanese and hong kong).

snow-skin mooncake from emperor bakery
♥ custard and red bean snow-skin
these snow-skins look a little dry in the pic. in fact, the skins have actually dried up quite a bit. i bought them in the afternoon and carried them around in my bag the whole day. it was a little too late by the time i managed to get them into a fridge. so now you can see snow-skins really dont keep well.

the snow-skin is made of cooked glutinous rice flour (gao fen)* mixed with sugar, shortening and cold water. it involves no cooking and no baking. it's just a matter of measuring and mixing it to the right consistency.add colouring if you want coloured snow-skins.

*gao fen: no, you can get cooked glutinous rice flour by cooking or frying glutinous rice flour!

mini snow-skin and normal snow-skin
♥ big snow-skin on the left and mini on the right
the emperor bakery sells snow-skin in 2 sizes: the usual mooncake size ($7 ea) and a cute mini one ($3 ea or $5.50 for 2). ha! the mini one is just perfect for me. a big-mouth person could probably swallow the mini one in one go: "yi kou chi" (one mouth eat).

there are five different flavours:
- lotus seed paste (lian yong)
- red bean paste (tau sah)
- taro paste (wu yong)
- green-tea flavoured lotus paste (luk cha)
- custard (nai wong)

custard snow-skin
♥ custard snow-skin mooncake
i always have a thing for nai wong. without thinking, i know i definitely have to get the nai wong snow-skin. my other favourite: wu yong, appears to be very very popular. the two times i was there, the taro one was all sold out! *sigh*

the nai wong is not bad but i am a bit disappointed that it has a very intense coconut taste. i could also taste shreds of coconut. maybe it's made with coconut milk. now this would be a very good example of fattening snow-skin.

the snow-skin mooncakes also come filled with yolk. even with this mini one. notice the slightly orangy chunk inside the mooncake. the bigger snow-skin mooncakes comes with one whole yolk.

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♥ red bean paste snow-skin
no taro snow-skin, so i opted for red bean instead. the red bean paste is very smooth and isnt as sweet. i wonder if it's because the mooncake has been chilled so the sweetness has been numbed. sorry yolk-lover, i picked out the yolk again.

sometimes i wonder what's the craze about mooncakes. although sad to say, i also tend to fall into a mooncake-craze when mid-autumn is near. eating mooncake is like eating one large spoonful of the filling together with tid bits of crust probably size of only one-tenth of the filling you are eating.

okie. no complains here. i enjoy my mooncakes once a year. (=^_^=)

Emperor Garden Bakery
(next to Emperor Garden Restaurant)
96-100 hay street
haymarket nsw 2000
ph: (02) 9211 2135

how to make a snow-skin mooncake