There are all different types of filings, but usually they are all very sweet. Traditional ones include red bean, date, lotus paste, white lotus pastes, mixed nuts, or pineapple. We particularly like the nut-filled ones. There are the classic moon cakes which have a golden brown pastry skin (first picture above), and there are the snowskin moon cakes (below), which have a skin that is white in its original form, but can also have other colours and flavours.
These days there are countless flavour combinations for these chilled pastries. Snowcake mooncakes are no longer limited to their snow or green coloured skins with plain lotus paste fillings. Among these emerging flavours, you can find cranberry, red wine, chocolate and ice cream (hhmm, Haagen Daaz) snowskin mooncakes.
Making mooncakes is surprisingly easy. In years gone by, they were made using wooden moulds, but a more modern development are these plastic moulds which enable you to easily shape and add different designs to your mooncakes. The set that we used with the students came with some chinese character plates, a couple flower patterns, and of course, some cute ones like a cow, a bear, and hello kitty. Before using the molds, we had to flatten the dough and then cover it around the lotus/ chocolate/ peanut balls. We then rolled them between our hands to form a ball. The dough is then placed into the mooncake plastic mould, on which we pressed down firmly, and then dislodged the imprinted mooncake from it. It really was that easy!
This morning we got to try the moon cakes after they had been in the fridge overnight. They are pretty tasty after being chilled, and allowed to firm up a little. The nut filling is delicious! If we run into any other tasty mooncake experiences during our three day vacation, we will definitely share that with you as soon as we can.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!