Mooncakes are stuffed Chinese pastries enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar calendar month. This year it is today – 24 September. The festival celebrates the harvest under a full moon and it has been celebrated for 3000 years, back to the Shang dynasty. It is observed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also known as the Moon or Moon Cake Festival. The traditional mooncake is about 5-10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick, with salty [duck] egg yolks in a lotus seed or bean paste stuffed in the pastry. Baking them is a labour of love and usually takes 2 days to make, but you would easily find moon cakes at any Chinese bakery during the festival. I found mine, freshly baked at La Couronne – They had a huge variety and even had the chilled Hong Kong style “snow skin” mooncakes. They are made from glutinous rice flour and their white translucent colour is why they are called ‘snow skin’ or ‘snowy’ mooncakes. Fillings include mung bean paste, fruit, green tea and sesame. Suzhou-styled moon cakes have crisp layers of flaky pastry and can have a sweet or savoury filling. We enjoyed ours with my favourite Storm and India tea.
Happy Mid-Autumn festival !