Making My Own Snowskin Mooncakes

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

Mid-Autumn is almost here, and I’ve been bitten by the mooncake bug. My recent trip back to Singapore saw me prowling through the mooncake fair at Takashimaya, indulging in this, this and this, and ever since I returned to London, I’ve been missing ’em babies.

The Mid-Autumn festival, celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese, falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar. It is a time for family to gather to savour mooncakes whilst admiring the moon, which is the fullest and roundest at this time of the year. There are various Chinese legends as to how people came to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, and most are associated with the reunion of Hou Yi and Chang’e on this day. At that time, it was said that there were ten suns, which alternated to bring light and heat to earth. But one day, all ten suns appeared and caused the earth to burn. Hou Yi, a skilled archer, was summoned to shoot down all but one sun, and for his successful efforts, he was rewarded by the Emperor with a pill that would give him immortality. Hou Yi kept the pill hidden, but Chang’e discovered and swallowed it. She then gained immortality, flew to the moon, forever separated from her husband, Hou Yi. It is on the 15th day during the 8th month in the lunar calendar, that Hou Yi and Chang’e would reunite and that is why the moon is said to be the most beautiful on this night.

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

Since we’re celebrating Mid-Autumn with a group of close friends in London, and I have been dreaming of snowskin mooncakes that aren’t widely available here, I thought I could try to make some. These require quite a bit of effort, I don’t think it’s difficult, but it takes up a considerable bulk of time and patience. So if you would like to try making snowskin mooncakes, make sure you set aside two half-days or a one really long day. You will also need to start off with a very, very good mood.

Mooncakes are traditionally filled with lotus paste, or red bean paste with a salted egg yolk centre, but modern adaptations have seen yam, green tea, chocolate and custard etc coming into the market. The skins are either unbaked (snowskin, somewhat like mochi skin), baked, or deep fried (flaky). I rather like snowskin, so I decided to make Snowskin Mooncakes with Home-made Lotus Paste and White & Milk Chocolate Pink Champagne Truffle. I made the lotus paste first; this is the filling that would be wrapped by the snowskin. I have adapted both lotus paste and snowskin recipes from Amanda, and this is what worked for me.

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

Lotus paste

250g fresh lotus seeds (those with skins and green centres already removed)
150g granulated white sugar
125ml vegetable oil
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 and 1/4 tablespoon condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
8+6 tablespoons drinking water

Makes 400g of lotus paste.

1. Soak lotus seeds for 20 min and drain off the water after soaking.

2. Cook for 3 hours (varies) in boiling water until soft and tender, drain off, and blitz softened lotus seeds in food processor. Add 8 tablespoons of drinking water whilst blitzing to form a thick paste.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and caramelise 75g of sugar on low heat in a non-stick saucepan. If you want a darker-coloured lotus paste, caramelise the sugar to a dark copper colour. Be careful not to burn the sugar, constant stirring is required.

4. Add the blitzed lotus paste, 75g sugar, oil and salt to the caramel, and fry on low heat till it thickens (somewhat like the consistency of slightly runny kaya). If the oil is not taken up by the paste and it forms a layer over the paste, add 1 tablespoon of drinking water at a time and fry until the oil seeps into the paste. (I needed  6 tablespoons). Again, constant stirring is absolutely essential.

5. Add golden syrup and condensed milk and fry till paste is thick and dry enough to leave the sides of the saucepan. It is crucial to stir continuously to prevent the paste from ‘splitting’, where oil seeps out of the paste to form a separate layer. Steps 4 and 5 should take about an hour.

6. Cool the paste and refrigerate (cover bowl with clingfilm) for later use (I used mine over the next two days).

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

So the tiring part is over, and the fun part comes when you make the snowskin and shape the babies with spring-loaded moulds! Of course the traditional moulds are made of wood, but those are rather difficult to source in London, and I turned to eBaY for modern-day solutions. The spring-loaded plastic moulds are really fabulous – easy to use and clean, hop over to my Facebook Page for a look in one of my photo albums, I’ve uploaded a rather amateurish picture of the mould from my iPhone.

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

Here’s the recipe for the snowskin:

100g koh fun (cooked or fried glutinous rice flour, store-bought)
100g icing sugar
30g shortening (I used Trex solid vegetable fat), cold
120ml drinking water
Food colouring (I used pink and yellow)
1 tablespoon condensed milk
Champagne truffles (I bought the Prestat ones)

Makes 14 mini snowskin mooncakes

1. Sift koh fun and icing sugar together. Rub in shortening until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Mix water, colouring and condensed milk. Make a well in the centre of dry mixture in Step 1, and add in liquid, mixing until a soft, just-combined dough forms. Do not overknead. At this point,the dough should be soft, but not sticky. Rest dough for 10 min.

3. Divide lotus paste into balls of 1-inch diameter. Divide dough into balls of 1 and 1/4-inch diameter. The size of the balls will depend on sizes of mould and the truffle centre. The mould I used was about 4.3cm in diameter.

4. Lightly dust working surface with koh fun. Roll out dough into a flat piece.

5. Wrap champagne truffle with lotus paste, and then wrap this with the flattened dough.

6. Lightly dust the mould with koh fun, pop the dough from Step 5 into the mould, press firmly with fingers to help the dough take shape, and pump out the mooncake. Refrigerate to set, and enjoy them with family & friends!

*If you would like to do the two-toned dough, lay one flattened piece of pink dough onto of one flattened piece of yellow dough. Use a rolling pin to press on them. Roll the combined piece into a swiss roll. Cut the swiss roll cross-sectionally and with the swirly part of the cross section facing up, press down with your palm and roll it out accordingly. Done! If you don’t understand this, drop me a line, and I’ll try to explain.

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

I thought the mooncakes turned out quite well. The lotus paste was nice and smooth, fragrant with a hint of caramel. The sweetness was nicely juxtaposed with the spiciness of the champagne truffle. The skin was soft too, without being too filmsy or chunky. I made these two days ago, so I’ll update this post to let you know how well the snowskin keeps in the refrigerator.

Making Snowskin Mooncakes

I hope you enjoyed the post! I most certainly enjoyed making and photographing the mooncakes. Let me know how this recipe works out for you.

Check out what I’ve been baking in my kitchen!

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Foodgawker, Tastespotting and Photograzing. Check out my profiles on Photograzing, Foodgawker and  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!


34 thoughts on “Making My Own Snowskin Mooncakes

  1. knickknacks

    Hey there! I too have been bitten by the mooncake bug and I came across your website while looking for a snowskin mooncake recipe. Am going to give your recipe a try! Hopefully I can get my hands on some fresh lotus seeds from the Asian supermarkets here! 🙂

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      bookjunkie: I didn’t want to eat them, but I think I have to because snowskin doesn’t keep well, I’m running out of friends to distribute them to, so now they’re sitting in my fridge…feeling rather neglected, I reckon.

      ene: I like the pink ones too, the colour is more striking, very few drops of red colouring needed to create such an intense shade of pink!

      knickknacks: Thanks for stopping by! I think you can make them with dried lotus seeds too, but you have to process them somehow, I’m not too sure. Fresh seeds seem to make the work a lot easier…the recipe is complicated enough for me. lol

  2. Z

    When i saw the first photo, i wondered which image gallery you got it from. Very very impressed with your baking skills! The mixed pink and yellow ones are so pretty. Are you sure you are not pursuing a PhD in Baking? 🙂

  3. Singaporean in London

    Wow, this is utterly amazing. Acquired a taste for the snowskin variety some time back. Hesitant to get those in London as it can taste downright bad if not done well.

    Lovely full moon tonight. Enjoy your Mid-Autumn!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      I totally agree on bad snowskin….our friend did get us some from Taipan, which were sort of an unconventional snowskin. It’s very smooth, very shiny and rather like the texture of pliable candy, not sure if I prefer these to the ones we usually have. Hope to see the full moon tonight, it was beautiful a couple of days ago!

  4. faith

    hey babe you really must do something abt ya baking.. do an online shop or something! so pretty your mooncakes! you are gifted man! =)

  5. Pingback: I Made My Childhood Snack: Polvorons « The Pleasure Monger

  6. Lucy L

    WOW! Just came across these, they look so beautiful, super talented! I seriously thought they were ones you had bought from the shop until i read the post properly! =D

  7. Evelyn


    Can I know where did you get your fried glutinous rice flour? Do you have a photo of it? Because I can’t find any fried glutinous rice flour at NTUC.


  8. catherine

    Hello, Anyone can tell how to keep the mooncake longer? The skin harden after 2 days. Is the any way I can keep it longer?

  9. karene

    hi there! i chanced upon this recipe here and i’d just like to find out if you know any way to make the snowskin less hard! the recipe i’ve been using makes the skin hard ): thanks! btw the yellow and pink mix is really pretty!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Karene: I’m sorry I don’t know of a specific way, I simply adapted this recipe from someone else…and don’t know which is the make or break factor when it comes to making the skin soft. Mine stays soft for about 2 days, and then after that it gets harder. My advice is to consume it as soon as you make it. You will find that even commercially available snowskin mooncakes tend to have hardened skin after 3-5 days as well. I think it’s a general consensus that it’s best to have snowskin mooncakes fresh =). Sorry I’m not more helpful than this! =)

  10. Ellen

    A year on now, your thread messages on snowskin mooncake recipe is still popular..true i agree you should make some and sell online cos chinatown london is selling quite expensive. which part of london are you in? I may be interested to order some for next monday sept 12th. you can drop me an email at You have done a wonderful job and I simply love food blogging.

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I’m afraid that I don’t have time to make snowskin mooncakes now as I have visitors. Really sorry about that, I would really love to take orders…=(

      1. Ellen

        Wow, busy lady..thanks for your sincereity. I went to chinatown to grab some cook rice glutinous flour and hoping to shortcut making my own lotus paste like u did..however, 3 shops See Woo, New Loong Moon and Loong Fong unfortunately dont sell lotus paste…need your advise though..after rolling flat the pastry do u insert the pastry into the mould and add the filling or do you make it like a ball with filling first and then flatten into the trying with ready red bean paste just to try it out first..what are other food blogs recipe do you have?

        somehow you and i share a common love here for food and photography..
        great job, thumbs up!!!!!!!!

      2. The Pleasure Monger Post author

        You need to make a ball with the filling first before you insert it into the mould. I have only got this recipe and haven’t done more research. But I am sure if you google it, more recipes will come up :). Good luck with the mooncake making!

  11. Ellen

    thanks so much…i couldnt get any shortening so im going to settle for Stork vegetable fats. will keep u posted once done..Have a nice day!

  12. Ellen

    I did tried searching at my local Sainsbury at Tottenham Court ROad but unfortunately they dont carry any shortenings except Stork vegetable fat. It was ok although my snowskin was lack of moisture. anyway, thanks for your dual tone pastry suggestion the color turn out absolutely great with pastel green and im inspired to use a better camera instead of just camera phone which lighting is not ideal for food photography. are you using a DSLR camera or just a normal digital camera? btw: Congratulation on your graduation….thumbs up|!!!


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