An old hand at making mooncakes
HENG Swee Lian has her hands full every time the mooncake festival approaches as she takes pride and pleasure in making mooncakes for neighbours, friends and relatives.
Heng’s kitchen would be abuzz with activity as close friends come in to help to her meet her growing orders.
The mooncake making sessions, at her home in Jalan Mahsuri, Sungai Besar, Selangor, start at least three weeks before the festival.
She learnt to make the mooncakes 18 years ago from baker Yang Seow Choon from Muar, Johor.
“Over the years, I have adapted the recipes to suit the taste buds of consumers as today’s generation prefer less sugar in the filling,” she said.
Her bestsellers are the Shanghai Yam Paste Mooncake and Five Nuts Mooncake.
“It is very tiring to make these mooncakes because every one of them is handmade.
“Since it is a once-a-year affair, I don’t mind, but I would not do this if I had to make mooncakes every day,” said Heng who is a tailor in the small town.
Heng’s interest in making sweetmeats does not stop at mooncakes. She has attended various biscuit making courses and also makes Chinese New Year cookies.
Heng can be reached at 03-3224 1362.
Red Bean Paste Mooncake recipeFor the filling
1 kg red beans
1 kg sugar
4 tbsp molasses
4 tbsp rose sugar
600gm oil (Knife brand)
Boil the red beans until soft or place in pressure cooker.
Add sugar slowly, little by little.
Add oil slowly, little by little.
Then add the molasses and, lastly, the rose sugar.
The paste must be kept aside for two to three days to allow the oil to show and the filling has a lovely shine.
Make palm-sized balls and set aside.
For the skin
250gm black syrup (made from sugar, lemon and water that is boiled continuously for more than five hours till the liquid is dark and thick) which is prepared months before the festival
700gm wheat flour
150gm peanut oil (Knife brand)
1/4 tsp air abu (sodium carbonate water)
Water to make a dough
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and mix thoroughly, then keep aside for six hours so the dough is of the required texture.
Break off a handful of the dough and flatten.
Place a palm-sized ball of red bean paste in the middle and then gently work with both hands to cover the ball with the dough.
Once the filling is covered, place the mooncake in a wooden or plastic mould to shape the pastry.
Remove the mooncake from the mould by tapping the mould against a flat surface. Place the mooncakes on trays and bake in an oven preheated at 170°C.