Mooncakes 月饼 - A traditional delicacy to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节
The Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 24th of September this year, is an important date in the Chinese calendar, second only to Chinese New Year. It is widely celebrated alongside family as an occasion for reunions (团员) where they gather to enjoy mooncakes (月饼) and admire the full moon (赏月), both symbols of unity and harmony.
Mooncakes are sweet pastries that are served cut, into small wedges and are usually accompanied by tea. Most mooncakes consist of a thin, tender pastry skin that envelops a sweet, dense filling, and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in their center as the symbol of the full moon. Lotus seed or red bean pastes are the traditional fillings, but today there are more creative variations, filled with dark-chocolate praline, lychee and even matcha.
Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for "longevity" or "harmony", as well as images of the moon, Lady Chang Er, or a rabbit (symbol of the moon).
Watch this YouTube clip below for a step by step guide to how to make traditional Chinese mooncakes with lotus seed paste filling.
Most of the ingredients (or mooncakes) can be bought in larger Asian supermarkets Wing Yip or Hoo Hing in the UK which are also accessible online. Alternatively, you can also get a mooncake recipe kit from Souschef, one of my favourite online shops.