Friday, September 9, 2011

Mooncakes

It’s almost that time of year again: the Mid-Autumn Festival. Because the Mid-Autumn Festival follows the lunar calendar, it falls on a different date each year. This year, it will be celebrated on September 12, 2011. It’s been a yearly tradition for me on this blog to do a little post about the holiday.

There isn’t as much celebration of the holiday in the US, though there may be some local lantern festivals. The holiday is observed most commonly through buying and eating mooncakes. Traditional mooncakes are baked in round and square molds with beautiful patterns. The cake consists of a thin brown layer which is filled with various sweet flavored fillings like red bean, lotus paste, green tea, pineapple.

The most expensive flavor usually is a lotus paste with double egg yolks. I’m not quite sure why the salted egg yolks are so prized but mooncakes containing them cost quite a bit more than the other flavors of mooncakes.

Mooncakes are very sweet and so are usually served with a pot of tea. While browsing through food blogs, I actually came across several food bloggers who baked their own mooncakes. It actually doesn’t look too hard but the problem is I don’t have the right mold shapes. I tried searching for them, but couldn’t find any sources other than online ones. If anyone knows of any, please let me know.

Hopefully next year I can attempt making my own. Mooncakes can be found at your local asian grocery store. They are usually sold in beautifully decorated boxes which you can then use for other things. In Asia, there are a lot more variety of mooncakes. Each year, it seems that bakers attempt to make them nicer, prettier, and more expensive. But in the US, I’ve only seen the traditional ones.

You can view my previous mooncake posts here and here.

 

10 Responses to “Mooncakes”

  1. 1

    Carol — September 9, 2011 @ 6:45 am

    Hi Kirbie! The Wok Shop (in SF with online store) carries molds: http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/hard_to_find/hard_to_find_mooncake.html

    I’ve never used these so don’t know how well they work. They also have moon cookie molds too. If you use Amazon, they have a storefront there too but not sure if the prices and S&H are identical.

    • Kirbie replied: — September 9th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

      Hi Carol! When I googled it, I found the wok shop! I was thinking of getting it from them for next year, but by the time it takes to ship, i’m pretty much out of time for this year. I think I may attempt some of the snowskin ones this weekend and just use some of my mini bundt molds.

  2. 2

    Connie — September 9, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    I think the mooncakes with double yolks are more expensive because of the yolks…they are salted and preserved for 40 days! Well, that’s how my grandma used to make them at home. A big glass jar, cups of salt and covered in water. In my house, mooncakes are the fruit cakes of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Grandma gives them away, but receives more in return. I don’t think we actually ever ate more than one 4-count box each year! I did like the metal tins though.

    • Kirbie replied: — September 9th, 2011 @ 9:58 am

      I’ve never made my own salted egg yolks! I love eating them in mooncakes though. We used to get tons of mooncakes as gifts as well. Usually I don’t need to buy any, but I always end up buying at least one box. haha.

  3. 3

    Jenny (VintageSugarcube) — September 9, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    The mooncake looks soooo deelicious and your photos are so very intriguing. Hope to see you at another SD Food Blogger event! :)

    • Kirbie replied: — September 9th, 2011 @ 9:56 am

      Thanks. I wish I had more variety to share, but they are pricey little things and I’m the only one in my house that eats them and I wanted to limit how many I eat. I hope to see you soon too!

  4. 4

    Sandy — September 9, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    I don’t buy mooncakes because they’re so rich to eat, and not everyone in my house will eat them. I saw a demo of homemade mooncakes once, and the recipe that was used seemed too complicated (two types of dough!).

    I prefer the plain black bean paste filling without the salted yolk.

    • Kirbie replied: — September 9th, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

      They are so rich. But I can never resist. But I limit myself to one box since I’m the only one in my house who eats them. Hmm, the recipes I saw from other bloggers didn’t look too bad on paper. but I think if I am to attempt one, I’ll do the snowskin ones since those use mochi dough.

  5. 5

    caninecologne — September 11, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    hi kirbie – one of my blogger friends just posted on mooncakes and she made it with lotus seeds with a salted duck egg yolk. she bought hers from a singaporean catalog but said it’s now on ebay. the molds are really pretty.

    here’s the link:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190574661007&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:en

    • Kirbie replied: — September 11th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

      Hi CC! Thanks so much for the link. They are pretty. I’ll have to figure out how to use these. I know you stamp it on, but I wonder what kind of mold I bake them in first. I’ll look on some other blogs to figure it out, but this is a great start. Maybe I’ll practice some now in preparation for next year.

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