Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese pastry that is served during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This round-shaped pastry has become an iconic symbol of the festival and is enjoyed by millions of people each year. Mooncakes are made from various ingredients, which are typically influenced by regional and cultural differences.
In this blog post, we will explore the traditional mooncake recipe, when you should eat mooncakes, a Japanese mooncake recipe, a modern mooncake recipe, why are mooncakes so expensive, why aren’t mooncakes allowed in the US, and lastly, what is inside a mooncake.
Traditional Mooncake Recipe
The traditional mooncake recipe includes various kinds of fillings such as sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste, and salted egg yolk for the middle part, while the outer part is made of a thin layer of pastry. The ingredients for the pastry are flour, golden syrup, alkaline water, and vegetable oil.
To make a traditional mooncake, first, mix the golden syrup, alkaline water, and vegetable oil well. Then, sift flour into a large bowl and add in the syrup mixture. Mix the ingredients well until it forms a dough. Leave the dough to rest for at least 2 hours before using it.
For the filling, bake the salted egg yolks in the oven for about 5 minutes, then wrap it with the desired filling such as red bean paste or lotus seed paste. Divide the dough into small portions and put the filling in the middle of each portion. Then, form them into round shapes and press into a mooncake mould. Finally, bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the skin is golden brown.
When Should I Eat Mooncakes?
Mooncakes are usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This festival is also known as the Moon Festival, which is celebrated on the night of the full moon. It is believed that the full moon on this day is the brightest and the roundest, symbolizing unity and togetherness.
In recent years, mooncakes have become a popular gift item for business partners and family members. As such, people may eat mooncakes weeks before or after the festival, leading up to its mass production by pastry companies. Regardless, eating mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival is seen as a traditional way to celebrate and honor family unity.
Japanese Mooncake Recipe
Mooncakes have also gained popularity in Japan. The recipe for Japanese mooncakes is similar to the traditional Chinese version, but with a few variations in the ingredients.
The filling of Japanese mooncakes is typically made with sweetened adzuki beans, and the outer layer is a softer, mochi-like texture. The pastry ingredients also differ slightly, as the Japanese version uses rice flour and sugar instead of plain flour and golden syrup.
To make Japanese mooncakes, first, mix the glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water to form a dough. Then shape the dough into small circles and wrap them around the sweetened adzuki bean paste filling. Finally, bake the mooncakes in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the outer layer is slightly crispy.
Modern Mooncake Recipe
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of modern mooncake recipes that are often more colorful and creative than the traditional ones. An example of a modern mooncake recipe is the snow skin mooncake, which has a soft texture and is often eaten cold.
The snow skin mooncake is made with a type of glutinous rice flour and is colored with natural ingredients such as matcha powder or fruit juices. The filling is also non-traditional, with flavors like chocolate and tiramisu being popular choices.
To make snow skin mooncakes, first, mix the glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar to create the snow skin dough. Then, wrap the filling of your choosing in the dough and shape into small balls. Finally, put them into the refrigerator and serve them cold.
Why Are Mooncakes So Expensive?
Mooncakes are often seen as luxury items due to their high cost. This is because making mooncakes is a labor-intensive process, and many of the ingredients, such as lotus paste and salted egg yolks, can be quite expensive.
In addition, the packaging of mooncakes is often ornate and adds to the price of the final product. The demand for mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival season also plays a role, as many people are willing to pay a premium for this traditional pastry.
Why Aren’t Mooncakes Allowed in the US?
Mooncakes contain a high level of sugar and fat, and the types of fillings used may not meet the food safety standards of the US. Additionally, some mooncakes may contain lotus seed, which is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. As such, the importation of mooncakes into the US is restricted.
What Is Inside a Mooncake?
The filling of a mooncake can vary widely depending on the regional and cultural differences. The most common fillings include sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste, and salted egg yolks. Alternatively, there may be fillings such as nuts, meats, or fruits.
In conclusion, mooncakes are a sweet treat that has become an integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditional and modern mooncake recipes are both popular choices, and the fillings can be influenced by regional and cultural differences. Despite the high cost of mooncakes, they remain an iconic symbol of the festival and a popular gift item for business partners and family members.