September 13, 2011

Flaky Taro Mooncakes

Thanks everyone for the ukulele advice! I'm surprised so many of you play the ukulele. I think I'm going to order a cheaper one off Ebay first and attempt to teach myself with the links you all provided :D.

So, the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) was yesterday, which meant mooncakes! What typically comes to mind when thinking about mooncakes are those brown, tender-crusted pastries stamped with intricate designs and words of good fortune, basically Cantonese-style mooncakes. Two years ago, I made that type of mooncake from scratch, but truth be told, it was a pain in the butt (and that's coming from me, someone who enjoys challenging recipes). I prefer buying them from an Asian bakery since they're so widely available. So instead, today, I'm going to blog about a different type of mooncake, one that's less time consuming to make, but equally delicious.

Every year, my mom makes Taiwanese-style mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are pale and flaky and are less widely available, because unlike Cantonese mooncakes which need to age for optimal texture, Taiwanese mooncakes taste best fresh from the oven. The traditional filling for these is a mix of mung bean paste and ground pork, which creates a wonderful savory and sweet filling. For a purely sweet dessert, the meat can be left out or the mooncakes are filled with taro paste, as done here. Any way, they're all very tasty, so if you want a change from the typical mooncake, try these out.

P.S. These mooncakes are closely related to the swirly purple taro pastries often found at Asian bakeries. That being said, you don't have to wait until the next Mid-Autumn Festival to make these; just think of them as flaky taro pastries, not mooncakes. Anyway, the first time I had these taro-filled mooncakes was earlier this year, in the spring.