Monday, September 12, 2011

MM: Moon Cakes

I recently saw an article in the Toronto Star on moon cakes. I've heard of moon cakes before and always imagined them to be round pale but slightly brown sponge cakes. I didn't really know much and so I decided to do a MM post on them. I'm disappointed with myself because I wanted to actually make some, but c'est la vie and I didn't so lets move on.

But they look yummy!!
The article starts off by stating that the 'Chinese make the worst desserts ever'. Pretty brave statement but then the author is Chinese so I guess he can get away with it. From my very professional experience of Chinese food which consists of Mandarin, Asian Gourmet, and Manchu Wok meals, I don't think I have ever tried any authentic Chinese desserts. I've had a bit of green tea ice cream but I don't think that really counts.

Moon cakes are salted egg yolks which are surrounded by a pastry like exterior made from bean paste or seed paste. They are compressed and often are circular or square. Newer forms of moon cakes have different fillings and they are usually baked.

Moon cakes seem to be a widely known Chinese dessert, mainly because they are part of a Autumn celebration or Moon Festival and given as gifts. The article in the Star takes the opinion that moon cakes don't taste good. They have become more of a commercialized product and given for tradition rather than taste. People rarely make homemade moon cakes now since there are so many varieties available in fancy gift packaging at the grocery store.

Yolky center
This makes me a bit sad. Food is part of traditions and celebrations for a reason. It should be made with love and care at home and gifted with a smile of pride and a tinge of humbleness. You can only bask in the joy on someones face when they eat something you've made with your hands and not something you bought with your money (although you probably bought the ingredients...well that just killed the poetic flow of the sentence -_-)

Anyway, I found a recipe online and it seems pretty complicated to make but with fairly simple ingredients. I cannot attest to how authentic or tasty they are since I have never had a moon cake in my life nor have I tried aforementioned recipe. I will someday...its on my bucket soon as I get around to writing down the bucket list...that's on the list too. I also have no idea why the egg yolks on this site are reddish/orange. Maybe its a different kind of egg? They cook to a beautiful colour though!

There are literally tonnes of recipes online for many variations of moon cakes. The above recipe link was the simplest and most basic I found. If you find an even simpler one, I'd love to see it. I figure its easier to start off with simple stupid and work my way up from there.

Hopefully I can actually MAKE something for next weeks MM post...pshhh who am I kidding :)
In other news, I'm making a cake for a friends birthday this week...yayyy..always looking for excuses to bake. Look forward to pics later in the week :)

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