Moon festival treat: savory mooncake (aka puff pastry wrapped meatball)

Moon festival is a holiday celebrated all over east Asia, where families gather together around mid-autumn to watch the full moon, and eat snacks (because a harvest is expected soon!) 

Mooncakes come in sweet and savory. Today I'm sharing a savory version, basically ginger-scallion-soy meatballs wrapped in flakey pastry. This is a quick puff with a lean dough and a fat dough - no chilling or resting needed!


Lean dough:
1 cup flour
2.5 tbsp lard
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup warm water

Fat dough:
3 tbsp lard
2/3 cup flour

2 scallions
1 inch thumb-sized ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce 
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil 
1/2 tbsp shaoxin wine
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tbsp ground white pepper 
1 cup ground pork (or 80% lean beef)
1/4 cup water

optional: egg wash (1 yolk + 1tbsp water)


Combine the ingredients for lean dough with a fork, then switch to a spatula. The dough will be very sticky at this stage. Let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the lard and flour in the fat dough. start cutting everything together with a fork, and switch to using your hand to form a dough.

Move on to making the meatballs. Mince the scallions and ginger until very fine. This is easiest in a mini-food processor, but you can do it by hand. Then add the rest of the marinade seasoning and mix together until marinade is well combined. Then add the meat, stir until you get an even color on the meat. then add a 1/4 cup of water, stir until water is completely absorbed - this will tenderize the meat.

To make the pastry: knead the lean dough on a floured surface until smooth, should take ~2 minutes. wrap the fat dough inside the lean dough and seal it well. Press down the combined dough into a thin sheet, and roll it up. Then press down again, and roll it up again. You can do it by hand or with a rolling pin. Either way, repeat 4~5 times and you should get enough layers. Unlike a pure butter pastry, the hardness of the fat layer doesn't change dramatically with temperature, so no chilling and resting needed in between.

On the final roll-up, form the dough into an even log, and cut it into 8 equal portions. this is the easiest if you keep cutting in halves each time. Roll out 1 portion pastry and wrap 2~3 tbsp of meat filling in it. Repeat for all 8. Bake at 350F for 20 min. Enjoy!