The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is coming up. Mooncakes are the hallmark tradition of this festival. When I was a kid, my parents would fill our small pantry with all kinds of traditional mooncakes. The best part of most traditional mooncakes I liked were the shell or skin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any gluten-free mooncakes since I started my gluten-free diet. However, snow skin mooncakes are the alternative. You can easily make them gluten-free.
Better yet, snow skin mooncakes are much easier to prepare than traditional mooncakes. In the past few years, these pineapple filled gluten-free snow skin mooncakes became my family’s tradition in celebrating this festival. In the original snow skin mooncake recipes, wheat starch is one of the ingredients. This can easily be replaced with cornstarch. It’s now gluten-free! Whew!
If you are familiar with Japanese daifuku, a.k.a. Mochi, the snow skin mooncakes has somewhat similar texture. The snow skin is made of
Stevia or Erythritol
Coconut milk or other non-dairy milk (for vegan option)
In my last post, I talked about making beet juice concentrate as a natural food color. It worked very well in adding some pink color to this snow skin dough. I found the beet dye doesn’t tolerate the heat so well. In the picture below, the dough on the left is the result of adding the dye to all the other dough ingredients and then steaming on the stove. The one on the right is the result of adding the beet dye into the cooked dough followed by kneading the dough to mix the dye evenly. Obviously, the one on the left has a darker color than the one on the right. But both methods work and the taste is the same.
For the filling, you can use store-bought red bean paste, lotus paste, or other sweet paste. I like the homemade pineapple filling that gives not only a sweeter taste, but also some tropical flavors. Most likely, you won’t find pineapple filling at the stores, but you can make it at home with the option of low sugar and no preservatives.
To make the shape and pattern on the mooncake, you need a mooncake mold which you can buy on ebay. Not only can they be used for making mooncakes, but also for cookies. How fun!
These vegan snow skin mooncakes taste best the first day they are made. The soft snow skin tends to become stiffer after refrigerating for two days. But, most of the time, we gobble them down before they even get a chance to become stiff.
- 350 grams pineapple, cubed
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons erythritol or organic raw cane sugar
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- ½ tablespoon coconut oil
- Place the cubed pineapple into a high-speed blender, add cornstarch and erythritol and blend until smooth.
- Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add vegan butter and coconut oil into the saute pan when the pan is warm. Stir in the pineapple puree. Uncover and cook for approximately 25 minutes over medium-low heat. The volume of the puree should reduce to at least half the starting amount. Use a spatula to stir constantly to keep the pineapple from burning. You should see some oil separate from the pineapple and the pineapple filling should be sticky in the end. The yield of the pineapple filling is around 200 grams.
- Transfer the filling into a heat proof bowl. Refrigerate for 2 hours until it’s chilled. Weigh 18 grams of the pineapple filling for each piece and roll it into a smooth ball. Set aside for assembling the mooncakes.
- Whisk together all the dry ingredients and then add oil and non-dairy milk in a heat resistant bowl. Stir and mix until smooth, with no clumps in the mixture. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.
- Fill a steamer pot with 2 cups of water and place the bowl of snow skin batter into the steamer. Cover the steamer and place the steamer on a stove. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to medium heat or to a gentle boil. Steam for 20 minutes. When the snow skin dough is cooked, the center of the dough should be set with no runny liquid visible.
- Remove the bowl from the steamer and transfer the cooked snow skin dough into another clean glass or ceramic bowl with a spatula. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and cool completely in refrigerator. Approximately 2 hours.
- Wearing disposable kitchen gloves, knead the beet dye into the chilled dough until the dough is pink. Weigh 35 grams of the snow skin dough for each piece.
- Wearing disposable kitchen gloves, use your fingers to shape each piece of snow skin dough into a smooth ball and then create a cavity. Place one piece of the pineapple filling ball in the snow skin cavity and then wrap the edge of the dough around the pineapple filling. Gently pinch the opening of the dough together to close and form a smooth ball again.
- Dust the mooncake mold with sweet rice flour or cornstarch. Gently place the mooncake ball into the mold. Place the bottom of the mold onto a flour dusted flat surface and press the top handle. Slowly lift the mold and push the mooncake out of the mold.
- These mooncakes can be served right away. However, the texture of the snow skin taste best when the mooncakes rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours, but no longer than 2 days.
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