Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Mid-Autumn Festival

Today is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, the day of the year when the moon is the fullest. To celebrate, my mom always sends me moon cakes. Here are some of them - they are beauties.

These are pastries filled with different pastes - red bean in the one on the left (you can read it on the molded characters). The characters on the other cake read "yuan yi," wishing the eater prosperity.

Here is a peek at the inside of a larger mooncake:

The filling is lotus seed paste - the taste is reminiscent of sweet pine nuts. At the very center is an egg yolk, baked. It symbolizes the luminous, round moon, brightest on this date.

Mooncakes are very rich and should be eaten with tea while sitting outside at evening, enjoying the full moon. For those less fond of these delicacies (even I can find them a bit cloying sometimes) here's a creative recipe for black sesame panna cotta from Dessert First, in lieu of the festival.


Anonymous said...

The moon cakes look gorgeous. Do you have a recipe for them? (Hey, never too early to start preparing for the next Mid-Autumn Festival!) I assume either that they're baked in molds or that your mom is one of the great lost pastry chefs of all time :).

- Marian, mysteriously unlogged-in again

Marianevans said...

No, no recipe. These were all bought, actually! But I do believe they are made in a mold, usually of wood. I've seen some for sale in SF Chinatown, and they would be pretty on their own, just as wall decor.