Charcoal Sesame Mooncakes, Matcha Red bean Mooncakes and Five nut Mooncakes (Recipe)

From top to bottom: Five nut, sesame, red bean, yam

I’ve made at least 500 mooncakes in my life but have never gotten down to writing a recipe. Rather than keeping to the traditional mooncakes, I’ve attempted to deviate slightly off course to create these more colourful ones.

This recipe should be easy for even an amateur baker but here are some hopefully helpful mooncake making tips

  1. Keep the mooncake pastry dough in the refrigerator as much as possible. The colder it is, the less sticky it will be.
  2. Everything is easier to shape when chilled. The pastry, the fillings, the mochi. Everything.
  3. Prepare a small bowl of corn flour/ tapioca flour/ sweet potato flour for dusting your mooncake pastry dough during shaping and before moulding. Be as stingy as possible with the dusting.
  4. Mist the mooncakes generously with water before baking them and before returning them to the oven after the 15 minutes resting period.
  5. If the mooncakes do crack, you have a roughly 15 minute window after baking to press them (lightly) back together to restore their flawless shape. This does not work for collapsed mooncakes and some cracks.
  6. Wait 2 days before consuming!!! Unlike every other thing, it tastes terrible the day it’s made. 2 days is perfect.

The most important weights to know are that of your pastry and filling. This is usually a ratio of 3:7, which for this recipe would be 15g and 35g respectfully.

All black mooncake: 15g charcoal skin, 30g sesame filling, 3g mochi

Matcha mooncake: 15g matcha skin, 35g red bean paste

Five nut mooncake: 15g original skin, 35g five nut filling

Matcha skin was used in this photo but original skin would work better

The following recipe makes small mooncakes (50g). I managed to get 67 in total, using a batch each of original, charcoal and matcha skins.

Black sesame filling

200g black sesame seeds
80g walnuts
40g peanut oil
80g honey
100g water
18g glutinous rice flour

  1. Bake sesame seeds and walnuts at 180C for 5 minutes, let cool
  2. Add the sesame seeds into a food processor and pulse till it forms a coarse paste.
  3. Add peanut oil and honey to the food processor and pulse till you get an even mixture. It will still be coarse but that’s fine.
  4. In a saucepan, add water and glutinous rice flour. Mix over low heat until you get a sticky cooked paste.
  5. Add the sesame paste into the saucepan and mix it with the glutinous rice paste till even.
  6. Turn off heat and set aside.
  7. When cool, shape into 30g balls and refrigerate. If omitting mochi, shape into 35g balls.

Five nut filling

80g walnuts
80g cashew nuts
80g pumpkin seeds
80g almonds
75g white sesame seeds
80g raisins
40g dried cranberries
150g caster sugar
130g glutinous rice flour
70g all purpose flour
130g water
10g sesame oil
46g corn oil (or any neutral oil)
20g wine

Note: you can substitute any of the nuts or dried fruit for another variety

  1. Toast all the nuts and seeds together in the oven at 180C for 8 minutes and let cool.
  2. Fry the flours together in a saucepan until cooked. They are ready when they become very slightly brown and unable to form any clumps.
  3. In a food processor, add all the nuts and dried fruits. Do not go overboard with processing. Blend only till the nuts are merely chopped. It’s okay if you get some finer bits. But having chunks is good for texture.
  4. In a bowl, mix the chopped nuts, dried fruits, seeds and sugar till evenly mixed.
  5. Add oil, wine and water and mix.
  6. Finally, add the cooked flours and mix with a spatula till evenly mixed.
  7. Refrigerate till cold to allow easier shaping into 35g balls.

Red bean filling

For the red bean filling, I don’t follow an exact recipe because I tend to adjust it as I go, to my taste. The following is what I used, give or take a couple tablespoons.

500g red beans
500g maltose
100g sugar
150ml oil

  1. Soak the beans for at least 24 hours
  2. Cook with just enough water to cover the beans until extremely tender and easy to mush.
  3. Drain the beans and blend in a food processor (or mash with a mashed potato masher)
  4. Scoop into a frying pan.
  5. Add sugar, maltose and oil.
  6. Mix over low heat until it does not leave a trail when flipping in the pan.


Mochi is completely optional in this recipe. I love mochi so I add it whenever I can. This recipe makes much more than needed. Feel free to halve it.

65g glutinous rice flour
10g corn flour
30g caster sugar
140g full cream milk
10g butter

  1. Mix all ingredients except butter in a bowl and pour it into a shallow bowl for steaming
  2. Cover with cling film and pierce a few holes in the film.
  3. Steam on medium high heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from steamer and add butter.
  5. Loosen the sides of the mochi with a spatula.
  6. Let the mixture cool slightly to a temperature at which it doesn’t burn your fingers.
  7. Wear a plastic glove and massage the butter into the mochi. The mochi will not be sticky as long as you wear a plastic glove.
  8. Line a plate with cling film for putting the shaped mochi.
  9. Shape mochi into 3g clumps and place on the plate. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate in preparation for wrapping.

Mooncake pastry

200g all purpose flour
140g golden syrup
50g peanut oil
4g lye water

For charcoal: add 3g charcoal powder.
For matcha: use 195g all purpose flour and 5g matcha powder.

  1. Mix all ingredients except flour in a bowl.
  2. Sieve flour (and charcoal/matcha) into the mixture and fold to mix using a spatula.
  3. Cover and let rest for 2-4 hours in the fridge.
  4. Weight into 15g portions, rolled into balls.
  5. Keep in fridge for easier wrapping later on.

Shaping and moulding

For the black sesame mooncakes, wrap the 3g mochi into the 30g black sesame balls.

Dust the pastry dough with some corn flour and flatten it as much as you can without ripping, allowing the centre to be much flatter than the sides. Place the filling at the centre and slowly and gently push the pastry skin till the filling is completely covered.

Dust the wrapped mooncake with some corn flour, removing any excess.

Place the dough on the baking pan and press in with the mooncake mould. Use some strength and don’t press like some sick weak kid.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1/4 egg white + 10g water)

Bake for another 15 minutes. (Your baking time may vary depending on your oven and baking pan color.)

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days before consuming.

Before baking
A tricolored one made from leftover dough
Resting before egg wash and second bake
Resting before egg wash and second bake
Ready to eat

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