Try something new for the Mid-Autumn Festival with these Thousand Layers Lava Custard Mooncakes, featuring flaky layers of pastry crust stuffed with sweet custard and oozing salted egg lava fillings.
Mooncake festival is just around the corner and it is that time of the year that families start to buy or make their favorite mooncakes. Today, I want to share this Thousand Layers Lava Custard Mooncakes recipe to celebrate the festival.
About Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. On this day, the Chinese believe that the moon is at its brightest and fullest size, coinciding with harvest time in the middle of Autumn.
Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the traditions during the festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signifies the completeness and unity of families.
What are Thousand Layers Lava Custard Mooncakes
These Thousand Layers Lava Custard Mooncakes combine the outer pastry of Dan Huang Su (the pastry mooncakes with salty egg yolk) and the fillings of Lava Custard Mooncakes. The pastry is similar to puff pastry and is made by laminating a water-based dough with an oil-based dough, and then stuffing it with sweet custard and runny salted egg lava fillings.
When you cut or bite the mooncakes in the middle, the lava filling will ooze out and that is the main highlight of these mooncakes. The texture of these mooncakes is fun with its flaky dough, sticky custard, plus that runny lava filling. It is very buttery, lightly sweet yet salty.
Special Ingredients To Make Lava Custard Mooncakes
- Salted egg yolks. They are the yolks of salted duck eggs. Salted duck eggs are the result of an age-old method of preserving fresh eggs. Traditionally, they are made by covering eggs with clay made from plant ash, dirt, salt, and water. The eggs are then left to sit for 30 to 40 days. While they sit, water exits the egg and is replaced by salt, in a process known as osmosis. The egg whites turn thick and slimy while the round yolks solidify and turn bright and orange-red in color during the salt curing process.
- Custard powder. Custard powder is not dried, powdered custard. It is actually a powdered mix used to make custard, and it is very similar to the type of mix used to make instant puddings. Typically, you can add only water or milk to turn the powder into a custard. Why use custard powder in this mooncake recipe? The custard made with custard powder is more stable and uses less egg which lowers the possibility of curdling. The powder also contains flavorings that make the custard richer and taste better than custard made with just eggs.
- Milk powder. To enhance the flavor.
- Evaporated milk. Evaporated milk starts out as fresh milk and is heated to drive off more than half of the water. The resulting liquid is creamier and thicker than regular whole milk. Adding this to baked goods instead of regular milk makes the result taste richer.
- Condensed milk. To sweeten and add flavor to the custard.
- Shortening. The pastry involves making two types of dough, an oil dough and a water dough. Have you heard the old saying “oil and water don’t mix”? That is the principle behind why this dough works. Traditionally, Chinese people make this pastry using pork lard. As that is more difficult to obtain, shortening is the easiest substitute to work with. You can also use butter, but it is more complicated because butter contains 16-18% water and you need to melt the butter and cook it until it turns clear and not opaque to remove the water content.
Make These Mooncakes In Advance
None of the components of mooncakes are particularly difficult, but they all take a bit of time. I recommend taking 2 days to make these mooncakes.
- Day 1. Make the lava and custard filling. The lava filling takes hours to freeze so I recommend taking a full day to make it.
- Day 2. Make the skin dough, assemble, and bake the mooncakes.
How to Shape The Pastry
The pastry dough may sound a bit daunting to make, but I promise this one is very easy to work with.
- Wrap the oil dough in the water dough and form a ball.
- Roll the dough ball into a long, flat strip. Roll it tightly like a Swiss roll.
- Place the roll vertically and roll it again into a long, flat strip.
- Roll it tightly like a Swiss roll.
- Use your finger to press the middle of the rolled dough.
- Fold the swirled ends to the center and press them down.
- Flatten thinly with a rolling pin.
- Work the fillings in small batches. The lava will easily melt after being taken out from the freezer. I recommend you take out about 3 lava fillings at one time from the freezer to prevent the other 9 from melting.
- Work fast. Or the lava filling will melt.
- Keep the fillings cold-frozen. So handling and shaping will be easier
- Rest the dough. This helps to relax the gluten, making it more elastic. The longer the dough is rested, the easier it is to work with.
- Dust the mooncakes with flour before shaping. This prevents them from sticking to the mold.
- Watch the tutorial video. Make sure you watch the video for a visual guide on how to make these Lava Custard Mooncakes.
How to Store
Let the mooncakes cool down completely and store them in an airtight container. They will last for 3 days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator. Reheating is recommended for the best molten lava experience.
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