"Moon cake" (a molded pastry that we make/eat to celebrate the full moon in the mid-autumn in China), in general, has a tender crust with some moist and sweet filling. It is supposed to be rich; a small piece goes a long way, and the pastries aren't cheap anyway. In the old days, my family could only afford one or 2 boxes (four pastries per box) for us to eat, and a couple boxes more to give to our very close relatives.
Few days ago my friend put up some photos of mooncakes to Facebook. I gasped when I saw all that packaging... besides of the traditional plastic pack, wax paper and paper carton, an individual metal tin is made to just hold one pastry, then a few pastries/tins again are placed into a bigger tin. The tins are gold color, with sand-blashed mat finish and spectacular printing...
When the pastries gone, so as those tins (straight to the dumpster)... the earth is already beyond exhausted.
The food manufacturers probably add an extra dose of preservatives and additives in order to prolong the life span of the pastries, to go with the longer marketing campaign or whatsoever...
Can I just have one simple pastry? I don't eat metal, or plastic, or chemcial.
Want a beautiful pastry? You need nothing except your creativity, your hands and time. Additives-and preservatives-free. Environmental-friendly.
The crust intends to be buttery, using a top-quality of butter (Danish and Irish ones are my fav) is a must! Especially there is no egg in the recipe, the taste of butter is THE shinning star then. And about the filling, I used chickpea so as to mimic the texture of lotus seed paste
(a popular filling for "moon cake") although its flavor is from cocina nova
Recipe of the shortbread crust (for 10 tart shells
) : 110g premium-quality of butter 150g regular flour a pinch of salt (if your butter has no salt) 1/4 cup powder sugar optional: cut fruit and egg wash
Soften the butter (not melting), beat it until it looks pale and fluffy, well combine with the powder sugar, flour and salt. You may add 1 tbp of flour if it looks too wet (but not too much otherwise the crust turns dry and brittle). Let it rest in fridge for a few hours so as to relax the gluten and also to ease the shaping since the dough is slightly firm.
Recipe of the chickpea filling
: 200g cooked chickpeas (from jar with water, drained well), juice from half lemon
, zest from 1 lemon, 1/4 - 1/2 cup powder sugar (sweetness to taste), 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream cheese.
Puree the chickpeas with the lemon juice, well combine with the lemon zest, powder sugar and the cream cheese.
To assemble the tarts:
- Grease a tart shell and line it with a thin layer of dough, spoon in the chickpeas filling. If you make an open-face tart, arrange some cut fruit on top to avoid the filling dries up too quick during baking
- If you want to make a molded pastry, you have to do more control on the (chill) temperature of the dough, because if the dough gets soft (as warm), it will stick to the mold. For molded pastry, please egg wash the pastries after unmolded.
- Pre-heat oven to 325C. Bake the pastries about 25 minutes.