Mr. Good Old American Apple Pie meets Mrs. Chinese Moon Cakes for a beautiful marriage of East meets West.
On September 27th, 2015, Hong Kong, China and many places around the world are going to be celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival. They believe on this day that the moon is the biggest, the roundest and most beautiful on this day. The celebration is enjoyed by gathering together with family and friends to watch the moon and of course eat moon cakes. The younger children enjoy a lantern festival.
I really think you are going to love these little mini apple and pecan pies as they have a very light and crispy crust and are baked, not fried. Apple Pecan Spring Roll Mooncakes are best enjoyed hot out of the oven as they are super crispy and the filling is hot and your whole house smells delicious.
You are also going to love the fact that these little mooncakes are so much more healthier and lower fat than traditional baked moon cakes or mom’s homemade apple pie with that full butter or lard crust. Traditional moon cakes are made with an interior of lotus paste and eggs yolks and the crust is like a traditional pie crust with flour, water, oil and golden syrup. Yep, you guessed it, I don’t feel that this original type is worth the calories. However, there are also many other alternatives out there as well and one of my personal favorites is the sesame paste and walnuts (hint, hint Hong Kong friends). There are also ones made with a snowy skin and here is our MOONCAKE recipe for SNOWY MOONCAKES that have many delightful centers like yam, sesame, chocolate or even durian. These are found in the frozen section and some even have ice cream in the middle.
In many parts of the western world, apples are in peak season and this is a perfect way to enjoy the bounty of this delicious harvest. I need to remise a little bit. I miss canoeing down the Huron River in Michigan, USA and stopping off at the cider mill and enjoying a freshly squeezed mug of apple cider and sugar donuts still warm from the fryer. Well this delicious Apple Pecan Spring Roll Mooncake is like taking a trip down memory lane without all the calories.
How many of you are planning on hitting the orchards, corn mazes, farmers markets or pumpkin patches this fall? I wish I could come with you!!! However, it will be just as beautiful here in Hong Kong as the humidity will be much less and we have Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate. I am in the perfect place to enjoy the best of both worlds, right here in Bam’s Kitchen with a plate of hot out of the oven Apple Pie Spring Roll Mooncakes and family and friends.
I used pecans with the apples just because I just love their delicate sweet and creamy texture but you could use whatever nuts suits your fancy like unsalted almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. The nuts provide a very important role. Not only do the pecans make a delicious crunch and natural sweetness, they also absorb any moisture created during the rest of the apple cooking process. I also cooked the apple and pecan mixture with the spices on the stove top to toast the nuts and to remove any excess liquid from the apple mixture and this worked like a charm.
I used a cupcake/muffin tin to help shape my little apple pecan spring roll mooncakes. Mooncakes are traditionally round like the FULL MOON.
This procedure is relatively easy to do but you can’t be in a hurry or pressing the apple contents down too hard on to the spring roll wrapper inside the tin or it will cause it to tear. I first sprayed my tins with a little Pam spray I then placed in 2 layers of spring rolls and one layer was just a little too thin. I just love the crunchy texture of the baked flaky spring roll crust. You can see on my photos that just on the edge of the mooncake there is a little crack here and there and that is just the super flaky crispy crust cracking a little bit but it does not affect a thing and as a matter of fact I love those little crispy edges.
I then gently (I repeat gently pressed the apple mixture and then you can use either a beaten egg or if have an allergy to eggs a little corn starch and water slurry to seal over the edges. I left the apple and pecan mooncakes in the muffin tin and then brush with a little egg to brown or a little light oil if you have an egg allergy and bake for 15 minutes. (Also to note, if you have an egg allergy or want to keep it vegan, you can use a little thick cornstarch slurry to seal the edges of the mooncake instead of egg.) Roll the apple pecan mooncake over in the muffin tin and brush with a little egg wash or light oil to brown and bake for another 15 minutes while you get your Chinese Tea ready and you are in business. Hot and delicious apple pecan mooncakes straight out of the oven.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节快乐, Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè) and beautiful fall harvest at the apple orchards to all of you.
Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Apples and pecans in a buttery cinnamon and star anise glaze baked inside a spring roll moon cake package. (Makes 4 Mooncakes)
- pecans - 1 cup
- butter - 1 tablespoon (if lactose intolerant use dairy free margarine)
- star anise - 2 whole
- apples - 3 small apples peeled and chopped or about 1and 1/4 (gala, granny smith, or whatever your favorite baking apple of choice might be)
- cinnamon - 1 teaspoon ground
- sugar or sugar alternative - 1 tablespoon maple syrup or can use 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or sugar alternative of choice
- spring rolls - 8
- cooking spray - as needed to prevent sticking
- egg - 1 beaten (if egg allergy, use a thick cornstarch slurry for holding the mooncake together or can use oil instead of egg wash to help it brown before baking)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Take the spring rolls out of the freezer and place out on the counter. Keep sealed, do not open yet.
Step 2: Toast pecans in a dry pan for about 3 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and a roughly chop with a clever or just a couple of pulses in the food processor will keep the pecans in perfect little bitesized pieces. Set aside.
Step 3: Add the butter or margarine to the pan and add the star anise, apples, cinnamon, sugar or sugar alternatives and cook for about 5-6 minutes on a medium low heat until the apples are fork tender and the liquid from the apples is absorbed. Add the toasted and roughly chopped pecans and stir. Taste and adjust sugar as desired as I only like my desserts slightly sweet.
Step 3: Spray your muffin/cupcake tins with a little cooking spray oil. Open the spring roll wrappers (I used the Doll brand). Gently peel off 2 spring rolls wrappers and gently slide into the muffin tin with your fingers. (Make sure that you cover your unused spring toll wrappers with a damp clean tea towel. Only take out the 2 at a time that you are working with as they dry out fast) I seemed to like 2 spring roll wrappers verses just one as it is crispier and the wrapper skins are very thin and fragile. Place about 1/4 of the apple and pecan filling into the double spring roll wrapper that is lying inside the muffin tin. Gently pat the apple mixture flat into the spring roll wrapper lined muffin tin. .very gently so you do not break the spring roll wrappers.
Step 4: You can use either a beaten egg or a thick cornstarch slurry with about 1 tablespoon of water to 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to seal the mooncake at the bottom. Paint either the beaten egg or cornstarch slurry around the inner edges of the spring roll wrappers. Use your fingers to gently pull the spring roll wrapper across the bottom of the mooncake and seal. (See my photo collage in the above post as reference)
Step 5: Brush the mooncakes with the sealed section facing upwards with a little egg wash or if egg allergy then brush with a little light oil like canola to help brown.
Step 6: Bake the mooncakes for 15 minutes. Remove the mooncakes from the oven and gently turn the mooncakes to smooth side up and place back into the muffing tins. Brush tops of the mooncakes with either egg or if egg allergy with a little light oil and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and crust is crispy.
Step 7: Enjoy these delicious Apple Pecan Spring Roll Mooncakes hot out of the oven.