I recently upgraded my computer (finally) to Mavericks for the sole reason so that I can download Microsoft's Onenote. It's essentially a digital notebook but the layout is quite amazing and very user friendly. Thus I've started a recipe notebook and it's been growing quite robustly.
But anyway, today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, a Chinese holiday that falls on the lunar 8/15, a day that supposedly has the brightly full moon. It's sort of like the Thanksgiving in America, a time when people get together with their families and to cherish the company of each other.
Another important tradition is to eat the moon cake. It's an extremely sweet pastry filled typically with things like red bean paste, lotus paste filled with salted duck egg yoke, and weird things like nuts and even seaweed. Personally I never really liked moon cakes, for I dislike any desserts that are overtly sweet. But I like traditions and I like to try and make these things myself. One of the few advantages of living in the middle of nowhere is that you have the motivation to make all the things you want to eat yourself. Hey, it's more fun than doing experiments in the lab.
So at some point a few weeks ago I was inspired to make snow-skined moon cake, which is a more recently invention that involves very translucent crust made of sweet rice flour and fun, non-traditional filling that can involve fruit, chocolate, and even ice cream. I somehow got into my head that it would be easier to make than traditional moon cake, but I was probably more interested in the non-traditional fillings. I really don't like red bean paste or lotus paste. My teeth are hurting just thinking about them...
Finding the ingredients proved to be a challenge that involved translations, wikipedia-ing, and endless search in the local supermarket. I don't have easy access to an Asian market but our local store is more like a whole foods in that they like to carry weird stuff. In the end I found everything I needed, or their appropriate substitute.
I first made the snow-skinned moon cake with green tea flavored crust and mango filling. I don't have a pot for steaming so I followed a microwave recipe and although I followed everything to the letter the crust never came out to be what I expected. The dough is very sticky, and the moon cakes don't look right if I add enough flour to make it unsticky. In the end they came out not looking like the moon cakes they should look but rather like a bun with a very thick base. They didn't look very nice since the green color made them look moldy. But they tasted quite nice.