So I finally got round to making these--jelly mooncakes! The moulds were bought at Sun Lik a few weeks back, and I've been experimenting with agar agar on and off these days. I've become quite fascinated with the idea that I can solidify almost anything with agar-agar powder--what power!! ^__^ Mousse of wild mushroom soup? Or chrysantemum tea jelly? How about a creamy salmon pate? Just use agar-agar sure can for all! Fwah!!
Well, this time round, since it is mid-Autumn Festival, I found myself gravitating to the numerous online recipes for jelly mooncakes. Below is my own recipe, based on a couple of tries last week, and then today. I have significantly reduced the sugar usually listed in other recipes, and...totally on a whim, I successfully found something that would make a great filling for these jellied delights--CHOCOLATE PUDDING!! Yes, I kid you not. Good ol' Jello-brand chocolate pudding--the kind that comes in small cardboard boxes that remind you of soapboxes from yesteryear. I took a risk, and it totally worked out!
So what we have is a nice pink jelly "skin" with a nice yummy chocolate inside. Here's the recipe, enjoy:
1. In a pot, put 400ml of milk and 600ml of water. Add 2 tbs of agar agar powder (red colour) and 90g of sugar. Add heat and bring to a slow boil.
(If you don't have red colour agar-agar powder, you can use the white/normal/colourless kind, and use strawberry milk instead!)
2. Turn off heat and spoon the pink mixture into the mooncake jelly moulds. Be very careful to fill each mould to half-a-cm, or less ONLY. This initial thin layer has to solidify first, so while waiting...
3. Rip out the Jello Chocolate Pudding from the box/packaging. This is a powder form pudding, and you're supposed to add 2 cups of milk, based on the box instructions. However, you want your pudding to be as thick as possible--it has to be able to hold a shape, be more solid than liquid. So... add just half-a-cup of milk to the powder, stirring as you go, until everything is mixed up, but still quite "solid-like".
4. Using plastic gloves, or ok, you can use your fingers too (just wash them first), form lumps of the chocolate pudding into balls, then flatten slightly. The size of the pudding "cube" should be the size of a piece of sushi, perhaps smaller & flatter.
5. When the initial pink layer in the mould has solidifed (5-10 minutes), place the chocolate lumpy cubes on each layer. The chocolate layer is your mooncake "fillling"!
6. Then, scoop out the remaining pink mixture (from step 1) to cover the chocolate and fill all of the moulds. The pink mixture forms your mooncake "skin". If you want more skin, then make your chocolate lumpy cubes smaller in size. If you want less skin, then make your chocolate lumpy cubes such that they fill most of the cavity of the moulds.
(If your pink mixture begins to solidify in the pot, while you are making your chocolate balls, no worries! Just reheat the pot and the mixture will return to liquified state!)
7. Leave everything to solidfy and chill. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, but I left mine in the fridge till after dinner.
8. Unmould by gently inserting a knife in the sides and ease the mooncakes out of their moulds. This is usually quite easy--agar agar does a good job of solidifying things and removal is not difficult. Serve!!!!
It was actually quite an exercise trying to think of something, anything that could be a nice filling for jelly mooncakes. My family has come up with several ideas, which I could try the next time:
a. gummy bears!
c. thick fruit purees/jams
Basically, it has to be something thick/stiff enough to hold a shape & not mingle with the jelly liquid being poured all around it.
Enjoy! I actually made another version of this which used custard jelly (yellow colour) as the filling. Will post a pic of that tomorrow, with the recipe for the custard jelly filling. =)