September 22, 2021

Moon cake 2021: lighting the domes

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Another Mid-Autumn Festival has come to pass while the global pandemic continues, and another year where mom doesn't get her delivery of moon cakes from me. That means another year of me not terribly interested in buying these treats. Between gifts received at work and Sankala's whimsical purchases, I still managed to get a decent variety this season.

The theme from Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel this year was Fly Me to New York. Once again the packaging was very eye-catching, with paper cutouts of New York landmarks circling maple trees with autumn leaves. The words "Mid-Autumn in New York", along with the color of the leaves, reminded me of the movie from 20 years ago.

The best thing, though? The dome lights up!

Mini Earl Grey tea custard mooncake (伯爵茶奶黃月餅), from Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel - this was what they did last year, and I was very happy to taste these again. Very fine and smooth filling, which was fragrant and lovely with the bergamot oil. The flavors were just right.

Mini egg custard mooncake (奶黃月餅), from Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel - the "new" flavor this year was the standard stuff, and really wasn't anything special.

When Sankala found out about this box of Gudetama moon cakes - Gudetama八月十五的月光 - from Twinkle Baker Décor, she wasted no time in placing an order. She actually didn't care about the moon cakes... she just wanted to keep the stuffed Gudetama.

And guess what? This one lights up, too! And projects twinkle, twinkle little stars all around!

Tieguanyin moon cake (鐵觀音茶味月餅), from Twinkle Baker Décor - the paste was thick and dense, with some iron buddha (鐵觀音) flavors. But somehow the filling was more similar to red bean paste.

Earl Grey moon cake (伯爵茶味月餅), from Twinkle Baker Décor - the paste was softer, more loose. The bergamot from Earl Grey was more fragrant. Not as refined as the one from Dang Wen Li but surpassed my expectations.

My favorite egg custard moon cake from last year was from Pâtisserie La Lune (望月), and they put out a Kumamon edition that was kinda cute.

Lava custard mooncake (流心奶黃月餅) Kumamon Limited Edition, from Pâtisserie La Lune (望月) - I failed. The instruction calls for heating these in a rice cooker for 30 minutes, but I decided to pop it out after "only" 20 minutes. The result? The filling didn't get the "molten lava" stage.

Each year I make it a point to buy some traditional moon cakes from Dashijie, epecially when I can get the ones made with lard...

Old style lard yellow lotus paste mooncakes with olive seeds and triple egg yolks (古法豬油三黃欖仁黃蓮蓉月餅), from Dashijie (大師姊) - this was really, really good. The lotus paste was very fine and smooth, and the lard was definitely noticeable and added that wonderful fragrance to it all. The addition of Chinese black olive kernels meant the overall flavor of the lotus paste wasn't as sweet, which appeals to some. The yolks were more fluffy and oozed a little oil after heating. My favorite from the "traditional" bunch.

White lotus seed paste mooncake with double yolk (雙黃白蓮蓉月餅), from Four Seasons Hong Kong - this was clearly a notch below the ones from Dashijie. The lotus seed paste was decent but just not outstanding. The oil oozing from the yolk after heating ended up dripping on my shirt...

Sankala was walking past Happy Cake Shop (快樂餅店), an old school bakery with a history of more than 40 years, when she saw that they were selling moon cakes individually. She decided to get me one, but for some reason she misunderstood my simple instruction... which resulted in her making a second trip to get me the one that I really wanted.

Tangerine peel and red bean paste mooncake with double yolk (雙黃陳皮豆沙月餅), from Happy Cake Shop (快樂餅店) - this was on the rough side, and the red bean paste definitely wasn't as smooth as could have been. But the little chunks of tangerine peel - which I doubt have been aged enough to qualify as 陳皮 - were nice and fragrant.

Tangerine peel and red bean paste mooncake (陳皮豆沙月餅), from Happy Cake Shop (快樂餅店) - much, much happier with the "pure" version without any distraction from yolks.

Mao Shan Wang durian moon cake (貓山王榴槤冰皮月餅), from DKing (帝一榴) - very, very strong durian flavors. Loved it. So did CC.

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