Snow skin mooncake is rapidly overtaking traditional mooncakes as the dessert of choice during the Mid-Autumn Festival. With its smooth snow-like texture and pleasantly sweet fillings, this Chinese traditional snack is a popular make-at-home snack!
Have you ever wanted to make your own homemade festive treats with minimal muss and fuss? Have you heard of these new sweet sensations sweeping Asia, but are sceptical of their nutritive value? If so, then this article is for you! Read on as we introduce you to everything you need to know about this choice confection.
Our recipe is authentic and delicious while being accessible for beginners. Moreover, by making using our home recipe, you not only can choose how you would like them to look but also control its ingredients to fit your diet!
Without any further ado, here is a quick online primer all about snow skin mooncake.
What is it?
These snacks, called "bing pi yue bing" (冰皮月饼) in Mandarin, were developed fairly recently and weren't traditionally made as the baked ones were. Their name derives from the Mandarin word for ice or crystal.
This non-bake style developed in the 1960s in Hong Kong, because traditional desserts were too fatty and rich for some tastes. It spread throughout Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in the 70s and 80s.
Today, these non-bake mooncakes have become a more sleek, trendy version of the age-old dessert, and contains a variety of unconventional and diverse fillings.
Some of these include snow skin mooncakes with chocolate filling, mochi, ice cream, custard, and fruit. However, some classic ones such as red bean paste and lotus seed paste are still used.
Types of Filling
As mentioned, this modern yue bing boasts a large array of filling options in comparison to its more traditional baked mooncake recipe sibling. For our recipe, we will be covering how to make three popular flavours today: Chocolate, red bean and matcha mung bean pastes.
A chocolate filling is a refreshing twist on the old classic paste fillings, such as lotus seed paste or wu ren. It isn't too sweet, and the dark colour compliments the light and translucent outer wrapper of this festive treat very well.
There are many varieties of snow skin mooncake recipes with chocolate filling. Some include nuts or cereals for texture. Some are in the form of a flavoured custard or cream. Even ice cream can be used and results in a quicker, no fuss yue bing.
Our version is a rich, yet light dark chocolate lava ganache with optional mix-ins, so you can find the texture which suits you.
Red Bean Filling
The red bean filling is an extremely popular dessert component in Southeast Asia. It is made from red adzuki beans which have been boiled, mashed, and mixed with sugar to form a paste.
It is one of the most beloved traditional fillings, so it makes sense to use it inside snow skin mooncake. The no-bake cooking process allows the paste to remain creamy and thick instead of crumbly and dry, as it often becomes after storage.
This ingredient can be bought at Asian grocers fairly easily, but we have included the instructions and components in case you want to make your own.
Mung Bean Filling
Mixing mung beans with matcha is a popular dessert component in Japan. Mung beans have been a commonplace addition to pastries and desserts all over Southeast Asia for years.
The green hue that green tea adds to mung beans also results in a very beautiful paste. Therefore, for aesthetic reasons as well, many restaurants and bakeries include the green tea mung bean filling flavour within their repertoire of pastries.
With the advent of these snow skin mooncakes, different ingredients from different parts of the world are being used as fillings. Since everyone loves matcha and the texture of this (actually quite healthy) filling is to die for, we have included instructions on how to make this from scratch.
How to make Snow Skin Mooncake
The most difficult part of this recipe is definitely making the dough. It requires precise measurements.
However, the technique is not at all difficult and can be completed by multiple people to speed up the process. This makes this recipe a wonderful opportunity for a fun group activity with your family or friends!
Rolling the filling in the dough can also be a difficult task. It might be helpful to roll the dough out flat and wrap the filling balls in it like a dumpling before smoothing out the creases.
Our recipe makes 30 snow skin mooncakes with 10 matcha ones, 10 red bean ones, and 10 dark chocolate ganache ones. Yum!
Gao Fen vs Mochi Dough
There are two major types of dough used to make snow skin mooncake: gao fen and mochi dough.
Historically, the first doughs were made of gao fen (糕粉). This is a store-bought, cooked glutinous rice flour. It is steamed and baked for long periods to remove the harsh powdery taste which usually dominates in raw rice flour. Upon eating gao fen raw, it melts in the mouth and has a sweet, light texture.
However, it is not easy to find gao fen. If you are lucky, it can be found online. Asian grocers rarely carry it since it is a speciality ingredient. Hence, it was used exclusively by restaurants while they were developing the recipe for snow skin mooncake.
Homemade gao fen often lacks the lightness and sweetness of the store-bought ones. For this reason, the wrappers are sometimes made with mochi, which is a sweet and fairly popular Japanese rice cake dessert.
For many traditional Japanese snacks, the mochi (mainly glutinous rice flour and cornstarch) is usually pounded in order to produce its representative chewy texture. In contrast, our recipe excludes the pounding process so that a thin, non-chewy and translucent wrapper dough can be formed.
This is why our recipe is made with mochi wrappers instead of gao fen, which is a more historically accurate ingredient for snow skin mooncake.
Gao fen wrapper recipes also often include shortening. This is a solid fat that is often used in baking. It mostly refers to margarine. However, it is supremely unhealthy and requires an extremely light flour to balance it out.
Since this recipe is intended not to be very unhealthy or heavy, it is not used in our snow skin mooncake wrapper. This also makes our recipe vegetarian-friendly!
Please note that you will need a specialized mould for this recipe. You can find one on Amazon or in Asian grocery stores.
Mooncake Press Molds, Mid Autumn Festival Mooncake Mold Set
An immersion blender or a food processor would also be very useful while making this recipe. An electric matcha frother could come in handy if making a large quantity of the matcha filling.
Some of the other required equipment includes a sieve, a strainer (which can easily be improvised using two pans or pots) and a whisk. You will also go through a lot of clean bowls while making this recipe (it results in a flawless glowing appearance).
Please note that some of the prep for the snow skin mooncake recipe would need to be started the night before.
How to Store
These snow skin mooncakes can be stored in the deep freezer for up to ten days. (It's doubtful that they will go uneaten for that long, however!)
They cannot be stored outside the freezer, however. The lack of preservatives in the wrapper means they are prone to spoilage if kept at room temperature.
Wrap individual tarts in plastic wrap or seal them inside an airtight container for maximum protection from the elements.
Snow Skin Mooncake (Chocolate, Red Bean or Mung Bean)
For the dough wrapper
- 144 g rice flour
- 144 g glutinous rice flour
- 72 g cornstarch
- 120 g icing sugar
- 420 g whole milk
- 65 g vegetable oil
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5 tbsp cornstarch, for dusting
- food colouring optional
For the chocolate filling
- 40 g dark chocolate
- 80 g heavy whipping cream
For the red bean filling
- 90 g red adzuki beans
- 35 g vegetable oil
- 75 g white sugar
- 10 g brown sugar
For the green tea mung bean filling
- 50 g dried mung beans
- 2 tbsp matcha powder
- 4 tbsp water
- 70 g milk
- ¾ tsp table salt
- 40 g confectioners' sugar
- 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 15 g vegetable oil
- 10 g walnuts, chopped optional
Snow Skin Mooncake Dough
- For the dough, sift and mix all the dry ingredients together until they are mixed thoroughly.
- Mix the milk and oil in a separate bowl. Add the vanilla extract before mixing well.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture before adding the wet mix. Add a few spoonfuls at a time, gradually mix in all of the wet mixtures. Make sure to stir each time until fully incorporated into a thin, runny batter.
- Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cover and steam until cooked fully (up to 20 minutes).
- Knead the cooked batter into a soft dough ball. Then chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Chop the chocolate and add to a bowl. Next, heat the heavy whipping cream over a double boiler or in the microwave.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for around 2 minutes before stirring until smooth.
- Optionally add some finely chopped walnuts before setting aside to chill for around 1 hour until solid and ready to use in snow skin mooncakes.
Red Bean Paste filling
- Soak adzuki beans overnight. The next morning, drain the beans and add them to a pot, filling it halfway with water. Cook for around 2 ½ hours or until soft. Check regularly and stir the pot to ensure no beans are sticking to the bottom.
- When they are tender enough to be crushed easily, turn off the heat and drain the water. Let them cool.
- Add them into a blender together with sugars and oil. Blend until it becomes a smooth, silky red bean paste. Set aside until ready to use in the snow skin mooncake.
Matcha Mung Bean filling
- Soak mung beans overnight. The next day, discard the water and add them to a pot. Cover them with water and then cook them for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Once the beans are soft and can be crushed easily, drain them.
- Add 2 tbsp of hot water to the matcha powder and stir until dissolved. Add the salt and sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the glutinous rice flour and stir until just combined. Add in the beans and blend the entire mixture into a consistent paste.
- Sieve the paste into a pan and add the oil, mixing it well. Cook it at medium-low heat until it has reduced into a very thick, dark green paste. Set aside and let cool before using.
Moulding snow skin mooncake
- Measure 25 grams of filling and roll it into a ball using your hands. Imitate the size and shape of this initial ball until you have 10 of each filling. Set any extra filling aside; you will not be using it in this recipe. Do the same for the dough.
- Roll out each ball of dough until it forms a thin circle. Set the filling ball in its centre and wrap the dough around it like a dumpling. Pinch closed and smooth out the edges. Make sure none of the fillings is left uncovered.
- Dust the balls using the reserved cornstarch. Then, mould them by adding them to the mould, pressing, and pushing to extract them onto a plate.
- Wrap each snow skin mooncakes in plastic wrap and cool for at least 3 hours before enjoying!
- Please note that you will need a mooncake mould to make these.
- If you do not have icing sugar, caster sugar or granulated sugar will work as a substitute.
- If you have a premade wrapper mix, you can use that instead of the ingredients for the dough.
- Make sure you are using real matcha powder and not green tea from a bag. It will impact the recipe quantities.
- An immersion blender is helpful for making this snow skin mooncake recipe, but not required.
- If you want to colour your dough, then make sure to add in food colouring in the batter before steaming it.
- After steaming, you can test if the batter is thoroughly cooked by piercing it with a fork. It should be stiff and no longer runny. The fork should come out clean, with nothing clinging to it.
- The cooked batter will come out slightly hard after steaming. Do not worry as it will soften as you knead it into a dough ball.
- You may prepare the dough earlier and chill it overnight. However, the freshly made snow skin mooncake dough will be softer and easier to handle throughout the process.
- We have written a more detailed guide on how to make the green tea mung bean paste and red bean filling for mooncakes and pastries.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Curious to know how some snow skin mooncakes have a blend of two colours for their dough? To do that, you need to prepare two different dough balls with different colours and combine them.
Baking with Fat Cat made an excellent video where she uses butterfly pea to create a naturally blue colour for her dough. She then combines it with plain white dough to create a beautiful blue and white pattern.
And that's a wrap! We hope you enjoyed this article about snow skin mooncakes. Making these can be a truly magical experience, especially if you involve your family and friends!
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to give this recipe a try. Tag us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks once you’ve made them!
And most importantly of all, remember - bon appetit and keep cooking!