The Harvest Moon Festival and Moon Cakes are very special to me. First of all, it was one of the first foods I tasted many years ago when I went to live in Taiwan. If you happen to go to Chinatown, you will see the Chinese bakery shelves are filled with numerous varieties, each one with a different filling. The Chinese like their moon cakes stuffed with red bean paste, lotus seed paste, and dried fruits and occasionally garnished with a salty duck egg yolk. Sound appetizing? They can be cloying and not as appealing to the western palate.
I learned a wonderful version of moon cakes from a Chinese chef years ago in Taiwan and I’ve further adapted the recipe. My Five-Treasure Moon Cakes have a buttery-vanilla crust stuffed with a sumptuous apricot marmalade filling, and it is one of my favorite recipes. I like to make a batch or two of the dough and filling and stuff them. I then freeze the uncooked, shaped cakes in plastic bags and bake them the day I am serving them. They are delicious served with tea.
Let’s all celebrate this beautiful, but poignant time of year! (Winter’s on the way.)
Enjoy the full, harvest moon and make moon cakes.
Moon cake presses can be ordered through Woks ‘n’ Things, 2234 S. Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Phone: 312-842-0701