It’s Mid-Autumn season in Singapore! The Mid-Autumn Festival traces its roots to East Asia, and it marks the end of the autumn harvest in the lunar calendar. It’s when the full moon graces the glorious night sky with its presence.
This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 13th September, so it’s about time for me to share another dessert on the blog: Mooncakes.
Mooncakes are celebratory delicacies that mark the Mid-Autumn Festival. Availability of mooncakes is reminiscent to that of chocolate eggs at Eastertime. These lovely little cakes are found everywhere – from supermarkets to bakeries. I’ve seen large boxes of mooncakes by Oreo (yes, the cookie company), and Starbucks has their own range of mooncakes too.
The exciting part about mooncakes is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors and designs. Regular mooncakes are round, but it’s common to notice different shapes as well. If you’re thinking of trying mooncakes, it’s ideal to check their flavors first if you have your own preferences (like me).
As I was scanning the special Mid-Autumn aisle at the supermarket, my eyes were drawn to some of the cutest mooncakes I’d seen in a while. A whole selection of individually-packaged, piggy-shaped mooncakes with adorable ribbons were just too hard to pass by without admiring. Each little piggy sported different bow colors. After scouting a bit, I found two piggies donning bows in my most favorite colors – purple and pink. Since I’d yet to get mooncakes this season, it was the perfect opportunity for me to grab some before they disappear.
Like regular cakes, mooncakes are sliced into wedges and served with tea. They’re typically shared with friends and family, hence making the experience heaps more fun! Their decadent fillings and crusts are lovely together, and the textures of these two elements complement one another.
The ‘crust’ is a pastry that’s soft and firm, but it retains its shape when you cut into it. This mooncake was baked, and it had a lotus paste filling. Lotus is one of the two classic fillings that you’d find in mooncakes (in Singapore at least), with the other being red bean (azuki beans). While there are endless possibilities of flavors in the mooncake realm, I enjoy the good old classic lotus paste.
Although they look like pigs, no actual pigs were harmed in the making of these mooncakes. They’re too cute. The attention to detail is fantastic, like a work of art! A part of me just wanted to continue admiring the awesome design details, but I knew I had to eat them, considering that the lotus filling was drawing me towards having a bite or two!
The crust were primarily made from wheat flour and vegetable oil, with the addition of sugar. The mooncake’s crust is thicker, while its filling is soft, dense and smooth – all at the same time. The crust and filling equation worked perfectly, as each slice had a flavorsome balance of the two elements. As for the pigs’ little eyes, well, it turned out that they weren’t edible, just like the ribbons.
Through a bit of sleuthing, I discovered that lotus paste is created from lotus seeds and other ingredients, such as sugar and oil. Lotus seeds contain medicinal value in traditional medicine. Lotus mooncakes are meant to be savored as sweet treats instead of medicine, and they (along with other flavors) certainly raise everyone’s excitement every year!
These mooncakes were rich in flavor, which I absolutely loved. They had a pleasant level of sweetness, which I appreciate about classic mooncakes – there is a small sweet touch to the crust, but the sweetness mainly comes from the lotus paste. These charming mooncakes possess straightforward flavors that are enjoyable for everyone, and I reckon lotus paste is one of the best mooncake fillings – period!
Along with mooncakes, the Mid-Autumn Festival (which is also referred to as the Lantern Festival) includes colorful hand-held lanterns that softly illuminate the streets. It’s a highlight for children and adults alike!