On Saturday September 3, 2022, we decided to make mooncakes. I had the molds from a while ago and busted them out of the box. I was particularly intrigued because it was a snow skin Mochi type skin rather than the typical baked skin. What I found surprising was that the Mochi Skin was super easy to make — and was no bake — mix lots of flours together and steam. The first batch of 8 because we were not in a rush came out beautifully.
The following day was Sunday September 4, 2022, one of my friends bridal shower in which I had been assigned to prepare finger foods. I was baking/heating up 90 spanakopita in the oven in the morning. Halfway through the morning, I realized that I didn’t have a tray to put it on and it was getting time for me to go to the bridal shower. At the end of the day — Madre always comes to the save — as she had trays handy available in the childhood home closet. By the time she came with trays, out of 8 mooncakes, I had taken home 2, and 1 I offered to my roomate. There was 1 left, and madre saw it on the table. I said she could have it. She started by cutting it in half with the intention to save the other half for my padre. I turn around to put in the next batch of spanakopita, only to find the small plate empty and her cheeks puffy. What happened to the other half? Apparently it was too good to only eat half. Could I make some more to give to my 90 something year old neighboor? Sure. And also the random neighboor that blows leafs across the street? Sure. Plus there was still half a can of opened condensed milk from Saturday — so it makes sense to go back down to VA to make it.
Monday night — The mysterious alarm clock… That Monday morning, my roomate calls me while I’m out and says theres an alarm but she doesnt know where the alarm is so she cant turn it off and it was going off for over an hour. I was worried that it was the carbon monoxide alarm, so I ask her to check that its not that, its not the refrigerator, its not anything in the kitchen but yet its in the kitchen. It made no sense — but it was a high pitched alarm. There didn’t appear to be any imminent threat, so she left to a cafe to do work and I stayed out until about 9 PM and by then the alarm was gone. At about 1 AM though, the alarm started up again and woke me up. My roomate was right- for the life of me — it didn’t make sense. The alarm was somewhere between the plant stand and the refrigerator — but it wasn’t anything inside the unit… it sounded like it was in between the walls? I spent an hour and half looking for the alarm but couldn’t locate it. Until it finally died down by itself. Needless to say this experience caused me to be active and alert and not really able to sleep for the rest of the night. Update: Never found or figured out what the source of the alarm was.
Tuesday — I decided to go back down after work to make the mooncakes. The goal was 6 per person. So I needed at least 12. But we wanted to keep some for ourselves too and eat some and the list of people that I wanted to give to grew up to 4 people. So we decided to quadruple the recipie ( Each batch makes 8). At the beginning of the night — I literally said — I’m making this and I”m going home because I didn’t sleep well. But the list some how went from not only quadrupling the mooncake recipe, but also cooking dinner, and also going to Home Depot. For dinner, I found rice cakes I needed to use up, and indian okra, so we did that while we set the mooncake custard into the refrigerator. Maybe the 2nd ingredient, when we started making custard, I was trying to do mental math and 4x the recipie, but accidentally x wrong — I really dont do well when I didn’t sleep well haha, so he said he would take care of the math from then on cause he knew I didn’t sleep well. From that point on, I was just measuring out item after he converted the recipie. While the custard was setting in the refrigerator we cooked rice cakes and then went to home depot.
We came back from Home Depot and made the snow skin by steaming. By the time we finished cleaning at around 10 PM, we took out the custard, it looked great. But the snow skin looked liqudy still. We kept prolonging the steam time but it just seemed like it wasn’t getting harder. By 11 PM, we decided to microwave the snow skin to get it harden — the recipie technically did say 2 options: either microwave or steam. So we just finished microwaving the snow skin. As we started making it though — the skin was hard but still liqudy and sticking all over my hands and i was unable to roll them out the way I wanted to. In the end, the goal with quadruaple was supposed to make 32 mooncakes — I think we made 25 ?and was really confused as to what happened with the skin- it felt like we had a lot less material to work with and they were much smaller and stretched out. The end result still tasted great and fine but we didn’t make as many as we sholud have but yet I stayed way past than I could really handle — and came back around 12:30 on a weeknight. I ended up giving away all of them except one which we split to make sure it tasted all right. This time, we had Pitya powder — so Dragonfruit pink and blue food dye. At 1 AM, he texts me and says OOOPS. He also couldn’t do mental math and had me put in 3x the recipe for one ingredient… which would explain why we were so short in material.
After I gave away all 24, madre asked me if it was worth me going down on a weeknight to do that? Probably not and why? But btw, did I save any for my family to eat haha. Oops. So I decided to make 1 more batch and give away to 2 more aunties and my family. Saturday September 10th, the actual day for the festival, we made more — I lost track of how many we made this time. But we had another friend over and were rushing to finish so they could sample before they left — the skin didn’t end up finishing in time before they left. But for the custard, because I noticed the milk was leaking in the refrigerator I went to go clean that up — without realizing that nobody was stirring the custard. So the custard was slighty incorrect texture — again still tastes good but just not the exact texture we were going for the first time. No issue with the skin this time — but it just took longer to make this time. I was able to give to the 2 aunties and my family and another friend this time, so mission accomplished. Though, only the 1st time was perfect for everything — I guess nobody does well under pressure eh. Honestly, now that I”m rereading this blog post — I feel like all these epic fails are funny to me looking back — but I guess its just a long blog story of what not to do as a baker hahaha.
Oh and this time, he decided to experiment with the colors because ontop of Pitaya and matcha, he got ube powder!
Happy Mid Autumun MoonFestival! I rest my case and still have a little bit of condensed milk in the fridge — but maybe I’ll wait a little before I adventure on making more mooncakes again. 4th times the charm though! They will be perfect =D