This year, the Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival takes place today, September 25. During the festival, the moon is said to be at its fullest and brightest, and symbolizes the abundance of the summer harvest. It's also a time for family gatherings and eating. It's a big holiday for the Chinese, however it's celebrated in many other Asian countries and cultures, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea and Singapore.
One of the biggest, and most traditional ways, to celebrate the Moon Festival is to eat mooncakes outside under the moon. If you don't live in a place where you can buy them, you can always order mooncakes online. Or, you can get really crafty and try and make one yourself.
To get the recipe, or just learn more about the lovely snack,
Mooncakes come in all sorts of flavors and shapes — although all closely resemble a full moon. My personal favorite is a red bean paste like the one below.
1 pound red azuki beans
3/4 cup lard or oil
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
5 tablespoons lard
10 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons lard
red food coloring for design
- Soak red beans in water to cover 2 hours. Drain and discard the water. Cover with 8 cups fresh water and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat 1-1/2 hours or until skins open.
- Strain the beans and discard the skins. Place the strained beans in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess water.
- Place in a saucepan with the lard or oil and the sugar. Cook, stirring continuously, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Let cool.
- You will need 2 cups of filling for the mooncakes. Divide this into 20 portions and shape into balls.Mix ingredients for the water-shortening dough and the flaky dough separately until smooth. Divide each dough into 20 equal portions.
Wrap one portion of flaky dough inside each portion of water-shortening dough. Roll out each piece of dough, then fold in thirds to form three layers. Roll out again, and once more fold in thirds to form three layers.
- Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand to form a 3" circle. Place one portion of filling in the center. Gather the edges to enclose the filling and pinch to seal. Place the filled packet in the mold, gently pressing to fit. Invert and remove the mold.
- Dilute red food coloring with water and pour onto a damp paper towel on a plate. Take some food coloring onto the cookie-design stamp, then press on top of the mooncake.
- Repeat process for remaining mooncakes. Arrange mooncakes on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool before serving.