PROSCIUTTO AND DATES SU-STYLE MOONCAKE

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DECEIVINGLY EASY…

IT WILL SHATTER YOUR DOUBT-SYSTEM AS THE LAYERS CRACK LIKE THE WINGS OF BUTTERFLIES AND FALL ON YOUR JAW-DROPPED COUNTERTOP

– XOXO

OK, I don’t have much time today to elaborate much, in fact, not even enough time to say what I’m about to say but I gotta say it anyways because it’s just too damn important which is – PLEASE, don’t let the intimidating display of these lacy, delicate, flakey pastry filled with salty prosciutto and sweet dates and honey… fool you.  They are deceivingly easy, forgiving even, and I got them down with smashing success right at the first try (I’ve had more tears shed on making pancakes, let me just tell you that).  This waffer-thin layered dough actually DOES NOT require any chilling (even though I still gave them a 30-min nap in the fridge just because I was insecure), believe it or not, and it will shatter your doubt-system as the layers crack like the wings of butterflies and falls on your jaw-dropped countertop.  And then the filling… oh fuck I don’t even have time to talk about this filling but I gotta say it anyways because it’s just too damn good!  Part-crispy and part-fresh prosciuttos, mashed with finely minced dates and honey with a dash of black rum.  It is the most fruitful reward you can expect out of the eternal conflict between salty and sweet.  And then, these two things together… these two buttery, lacy, porky, salty, sweet things together!  I don’t have time for this!  Do you get me?!  Just go do it and believe.

– XOXO.

  


 I copied/pasted the instructions below to correspond with the photos so it’s easier to understand, but serious, you’ll probably have something great at the first try, then nail it at the second, tops.  There’s also another su-style mooncake variation by Betty on Food52.  Check it out.

 

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Combine cake flour, water, unsalted butter and sugar in a large bowl, and mix it with your hands until it comes into a dough.

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Transfer to a working surface and knead for a couple min until the dough is smooth and soft. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, then set aside to rest.

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Meanwhile, combine cake flour and unsalted butter in the same bowl for the oil-dough.


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Knead the oil-dough inside the bowl (because it’s harder to work with on a flat surface) until it’s smooth and soft.

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Transfer to a working surface and divide into 12 equal portions.

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Take 1 portion of the water-dough and flatten it down with your hands. Press the edge down so it’s thinner than the centre.


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Place 1 portion of oil-dough in the middle, then bring the edges of the water-dough up and wrap the oil-dough inside.

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You’ll notice where the water-doughs gather at the top is thicker, making the top and bottom of the water-dough both thicker than the edges.

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Now, press the whole thing down into an oval shaped disk.


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Roll the dough out in one direction only, moving from the centre upward and then downward, rolling the dough into a long and very thin oval shape, about 1/16″ (2 mm) thick only. The thickness should feel like a flour-tortilla.  THIN.

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Then roll it from one end to the other into a log, then tuck each ends underneath.

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Repeat with the rest. Place them on a tray and plastic-wrap thoroughly, then chill in the fridge while you make the filling.


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Divide the finely minced prosciutto in 1/2. Cook 1/2 of the prosciutto in a skillet over medium-high heat, until they’re crispy and slightly browned.

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Drain well on a paper-towel, then transfer to a bowl along with the rest of the minced prosciutto, finely minced dates, honey, dark rum and sea salt. Mix evenly with hands or fork until completely integrated, then divide into 12 equal portions.


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Preheat the oven on 400 F/200 C. Take the doughs out of the fridge. Place 1 portion of the dough (which looks like a rectangle from above) with the seam-side down, and facing you horizontally.

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Press it down with your hands, then roll it out upward and downward into a 3/16″ (5 mm) thick disk.

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Place 1 portion of the filling in the centre, then bring the edges of the dough up and wrap the filling inside. Gather the doughs at the top then pinch off the excess dough.


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Shape each mooncake as round as you can, then press them down gently with something flat so they have a flat top. Now, you can write/paint/stamp whatever you like on top of the mooncakes with red food-dye.

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Bake the mooncakes with 2″ (5 cm) space in between, in the preheated oven for 20 min until the bottom is browned (the top of the mooncakes will remain blond).


 

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PROSCIUTTO AND DATES SU-STYLE MOONCAKE

Ingredients

    WATER DOUGH:
  • 300 grams (2 1/4 cups) cake flour
  • 130 grams (1/2 cup + 1 tsp) water
  • 90 grams (6 1/3 tbsp) unsalted butter, soften
  • 30 grams (2 1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • OIL DOUGH:
  • 180 grams (1 cup + 5 tbsp) cake flour
  • 100 grams (7 tbsp) unsalted butter, soften
  • PROSCIUTTO AND DATE FILLING:
  • 200 gram (7 oz) prosciutto, finely minced
  • 240 grams (1 packed cup) pitted dates, finely minced
  • 64 grams (3 tbsp) honey
  • 1/2 tsp dark rum
  • Small pinch of sea salt (about 1/16 tsp)

Instructions

  1. MAKE THE WATER DOUGH: Combine cake flour, water, unsalted butter and sugar in a large bowl, and mix it with your hands until it comes into a dough. Transfer to a working surface and knead for a couple min until the dough is smooth and soft. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, then set aside to rest.
  2. MAKE THE OIL DOUGH: Meanwhile, combine cake flour and unsalted butter in the same bowl and mix right inside the bowl until it comes into an even and smooth dough. It may feel slightly dry in the beginning but it'll come together. Transfer to a working surface and divide into 12 equal portions.
  3. PUT THE DOUGHS TOGETHER: DO NOT dust with extra flours during the entire process unless necessary. You probably won't need to anyways. Take 1 portion of the water-dough and flatten it down with your hands. Press the edge down so it's thinner than the centre. Place 1 portion of oil-dough in the middle, then bring the edges of the water-dough up and wrap the oil-dough inside. You'll notice where the water-doughs gather at the top is thicker, making the top and bottom of the water-dough both thicker than the edges.
  4. Now, press the whole thing down into an oval shaped disk. Roll the dough out in one direction only, moving from the centre upward and then downward, rolling the dough into a long and very thin oval shape, about 1/16" (2 mm) thick only. The thickness should feel like a flour-tortilla. THIN. Then roll it from one end to the other into a log, then tuck each ends underneath. Repeat with the rest. Place them on a tray and plastic-wrap thoroughly, then chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
  5. MAKE THE FILLING: Divide the finely minced prosciutto in 1/2. Cook 1/2 of the prosciutto in a skillet over medium-high heat, until they're crispy and slightly browned. Drain well on a paper-towel, then transfer to a bowl along with the rest of the minced prosciutto, finely minced dates, honey, dark rum and sea salt. Mix evenly with hands or fork until completely integrated, then divide into 12 equal portions.
  6. TO MAKE THE MOONCAKES: Preheat the oven on 400 F/200 C. Take the doughs out of the fridge. Place 1 portion of the dough (which looks like a rectangle from above) with the seam-side down, and facing you horizontally. Press it down with your hands, then roll it out upward and downward into a 3/16" (5 mm) thick disk. Flip it over so now the seam-side is facing up. Place 1 portion of the filling in the centre, then bring the edges of the dough up and wrap the filling inside. Gather the doughs at the top then pinch off the excess dough. Smooth the folds with your hands by pinching gently, or cupping it with a bit of pressure inside your palms for a few seconds, and let the heat of your hands do the job for you*. Set aside with the seam-side down, and repeat with the rest.
  7. Shape each mooncake as round as you can, then press them down gently with something flat so they have a flat top. Now, you can write/paint/stamp whatever you like on top of the mooncakes with red food-dye. Or not. It's up to you. Bake the mooncakes with 2" (5 cm) space in between, in the preheated oven for 20 min until the bottom is browned (the top of the mooncakes will remain blond). If you need to bake in 2 batches, keep the rest in the fridge until needed.
  8. Let cool slightly on the baking rack, if you can bear it. Best mooncake ever. XOXO.

Notes

It's IMPORTANT to use cake flour with lower protein content (about 8%) so it doesn't develop too much gluten during kneading. If you can't find cake flour, you can try the "all-purpose flour mixed with cornstarch" approach.

Please don't use any fancy prosciutto here. Please. The cheapest packaged stuff will do nicely.

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22 Comments

  • I love the appeal to use the cheapest prosciutto you can find. Normally it’s like: REALLY good mozzarella / in season only / freshest possible please / don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink, etc. And mostly I agree but sometimes there really is no detectable difference/point except to your wallet.

    Like the opposite of this Barefoot Contessa meme –> https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/cc/82/ff/cc82ffc3050354993a1b09f2c35f706a.jpg

    Haha.

    P.S. Great food recs for Beijing! My dad is still raving about the 豌杂面 at the noodle place you suggested :D

  • All I can say is COOL! How about a filling with coconut, jaggery & chopped almonds. Or sausage & dates!!

  • Hey, these look amazing. Gonna try them today, thanks for posting.
    Do you know how well these will freeze?

  • just made these for the festival and we were all sitting there trying to figure out what they taste like – they’re like charsiu mooncakes! so yummy and flaky :) 中秋节快乐!

  • I made these yesturday and they tasted sooo good, the filling reminds me of 叉燒 but even better! I was a little intimidated by the display, but like you said these are “deceivingly easy”. Mandy, have you try making these with a sweet filling? These flaky buttery delight reminds me of this Chinese pastry, it’s also flaky, pink dye, red dot in the middle, and has a sweet filling. But for the life of me I can’t think of the name.

    • Kay, yes they can be sweet, and it is the same type of Chinese pastry that you’re referring to. They have many names depending on the filling. A lot of them has red bean paste with salted duck yolk called 蛋黄酥。or Taiwanese has them with mung bean paste and pork called 绿豆碰。 You can totally have fun with it :)

  • Darn. Will have to make ASAP. A couple of questions: I think more traditional recipes call for lard – I was toying with the idea of using clarified/browned butter or ghee in place of lard as I didn’t think a direct swap would work given that butter contains up to 20% water – thoughts? Also, seeing that making these suckers are rather time consuming, do you suppose you could freeze the little darlings after the pastry is formed and before baking? In the name of not having to eat stale pastry. Which is a sin… especially after you’ve invested time and effort…

    • Jit, yes, traditionally they use lard, but because I don’t think most people would have access or go out of their ways to render their own lard, so I tested the recipe with butter, and it turned out great :) The 20% of water didn’t seem to affect it so much. But I would totally give clarified butter or ghee a try, too!

  • These are goddamn delicious. The hardest part (and most time consuming!) was mincing the dates and prosciutto.

  • Hey, making great pancakes IS DIFFICULT.
    These look beautiful and the filling sounds devine! I once made a fig, procuitto, and rosemary tart that was probably nearly as delicious as these sound.

  • I’ve made taro mooncakes several times and I have to agree 100%–it’s soooo easy once you get ball rollin’!!! It just looks complicated because of the different doughs, but every step is so much fun and easy to fix if you mess up. Awesome post, pictures, and food…love the cute XOs!!!

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