Mooncakes with a twist

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, which this year falls on 10 September, is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. The holiday is also celebrated by many other Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. While originally conceived as a harvest celebration, the focus these days is on family reunions, so the festival often draws comparisons to US Thanksgiving.

Red bean and salted egg yolk mooncakes from Mooncakes and Milk Bread by Kristina Cho

One of the most significant features of the festival is eating or gifting mooncakes. Mooncakes vary by region, with Cantonese varieties frequently filled with lotus-seed paste and salted egg yolks, while Jiangsu pastries are flaky and stuffed with either pork or sweet red bean paste. While traditional flavors are still the norm, modern bakers have been putting their own twists on these treats, as Gastro Obscura explains.

The fillings and even the outsides of these new creations are inventive, ranging from a beef Wellington-inspired pastry to fun flavors like purple yam custard to ice cream varieties that don’t look anything like the traditional mooncakes made in molds (and made popular among EYB Members with the sensational Mooncakes and Milk Bread by Kristina Cho). Not only are the fillings ever changing, the packaging is also upgraded year over year, with many of the boxes turning into collector’s items.

If you aren’t able to purchase mooncakes where you live, you can turn to the EYB Library to find ideas to make your own celebratory treats. Many of the recipes there are also twists on the classics, but you can find traditional recipes from different regions as well.

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