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Honey Pistachio Mooncakes by Kristina Cho

Photographs copyright Kristina Cho. Used by permission of Harper Horizon, an imprint of HarperCollins Focus LLC.

Honey Pistachio Mooncakes

Kristina Cho, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and cookbook author, shares her step-by-step, fuss-free recipe for honey pistachio mooncakes, which also happens to be her mother's favourite.

Mooncakes and Milk Bread Cookbook


Taken from Mooncakes and Milk Bread by Kristina Cho. Copyright 2021 by Kristina Cho. Photographs copyright Kristina Cho. Used by permission of Harper Horizon, an imprint of HarperCollins Focus LLC.

21 September, 2021
Average: 3.5 (46 votes)

Type of dish


Season & Occasion

serves for



For the Dough
All purpose flour
300g (2 1/2 cups) all- purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Canola oil
110g (1/2 cup) canola or other neutral- flavored oil
Golden syrup
160g (1/2 cup) golden syrup (like Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
8g (1 teaspoon) alkaline water
For the Filling
200g (1 1/2 cups) roasted unsalted pistachios
80g (1/4 cup) honey
Coconut oil
25g (2 tablespoons) coconut oil
10g (1 tablespoon) cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse salt
For the Egg Wash
1 large
2 tablespoons tap water

"A lot of the conversations I have with my mom revolve around brain-storming recipe ideas, or my taking detailed notes about how she makes her famous spring rolls or fried chicken. I asked for her help in creating a fuss- free mooncake flavor, with a filling that was easy to make and didn’t require a special trip to the Asian market. Our inspiration was the traditional and decisive mixed nuts and ham mooncake, a flavor that never seemed to make it onto our mooncake plate at home. The filling actually isn’t bad: sweet nuts are mixed with bits of salty cured pork. Our version focuses on the mixed nut portion and omits the pork. Pistachios are blended with honey (orange blossom honey is a good choice), coconut oil, and a generous amount of salt. The filling tastes like a candy bar (minus the chocolate) and is delicious enough to eat with a spoon.

The biggest challenge of making a mooncake filling is ensuring that it’s firm enough to keep the mooncakes from deflating in the oven. This filling can be pressed into a ball and withstand the weight of the mooncake pastry. Pistachio, or any nut really, is perfect for that very reason, but it also happens to be my mom’s favorite. This recipe is dedicated to (and inspired by) her."


Honey Pistachio Mooncakes


Specialty equipment:

This recipe requires a 50g mooncake mold for small mooncakes (page 000). You can also use a 100g mooncake mold for larger mooncakes.

This recipe will make 6 large mooncakes (one salted egg yolk in each) with a 100g mooncake mold.

Mooncakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Step 01

How to Make the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, canola oil, golden syrup, and alkaline water. Using a flexible spatula, mix to form a shaggy dough, then knead with your hands to form a smooth, cohesive dough. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap in plastic, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 02

How to Make the filling:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely ground. Add the honey, coconut oil, cornstarch, and salt and continue to pulse a few more times. The filling should be a little crumbly but stick together when pressed. (Avoid overprocessing, so you don’t end up with pistachio butter.) Divide the filling into 12 equal portions (for accuracy, weigh with a digital scale if you have one) and shape each piece into a ball.

Divide the disc of dough into 12 equal pieces with a bench scraper (for accuracy, use a digital scale). Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Working with one piece at a time, flatten a dough ball with your palm and roll out into a 4-inch round. Continue to lightly dust with flour if sticking.

Use a bench scraper to help lift up the dough. Center a ball of filling on the round. Bring the edges of the dough up around the filling. The dough won’t initially cover all of the filling; just pinch it together until it completely wraps the filling. Pinch together any cracks that form and roll into a smooth ball.

Step 03

As you form the balls, arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing at least 2 inches apart.

Lightly dust the mooncake mold with flour. Place a ball in the mold and press the plunger down to apply pressure, but take care not to press too hard. Gently release from the mold and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling to form all 12 mooncakes.

Bake mooncakes until the edges are lightly golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cakes to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and tap water. With a pastry brush, lightly coat the mooncakes with egg wash.

Return to the oven and bake until deep golden brown, 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow the mooncakes to completely cool on the sheet. Before serving, store mooncakes in an airtight container (a resealable bag works great) at room temperature for 1 to 2 days to allow the exterior dough to soften.


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