The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated in Chinese culture. Similar holidays are celebrated in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries in East and Southeast Asia.
The festival is to celebrate the moon in its fullest state. It is believed that the moon on the 15th day of the lunar calendar is at its brightest and roundest. For Chinese culture, this symbolises the togetherness of families.
Mooncakes and tea are the ultimate food and drink to enjoy as part of the celebrations.
They can be made in many different ways. The recipes have evolved over time with different cultural influences.
To enjoy them at their best, follow our tea pairing guide:
Sweet Mooncake Pairings
Very sweet mooncakes are best paired with strong black teas such as Lapsang Souchong. If sweet cakes are often too much for you, then go for a more grassy, floral or vegetal tea in order to balance out the sweetness. Great choices are for example a toasty, nutty green tea like Dragon Well – Lung Ching, a floral fresh Silver Needles white tea, or a lightly oxidised oolong tea like Tie Guan Yin.
Meaty Mooncake Pairings
Pairings for Mooncakes featuring oily ingredients
Pu-erh teas are great to aid digestion and cut through any greasiness. If you love flowery notes, then add some Chrysanthemum flowers to the tea, to create a classic blend that’s offered during dim sum meals.
Mooncake Recipe – best paired with Silver Needles White Tea
- 200g azuki red beans
- 120g sugar
- 15ml vegetable oil
Pastry ingredients for Chinese mooncake:
- 100g golden syrup
- 6ml lye water
- 35ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour
- 1 egg
- A pastry mould
To make the aduki red bean filling for Chinese mooncakes:
- Rinse the aduki red beans and soak in cold water for 6 hours (or overnight.)
- The next day, drain the beans, cover with 1 inch or water and bring to the boil. Simmer the beans with the lid on for 1.5 hours, until soft.
- Drain the beans, transfer to a blender with the vegetable oil and blend until smooth.
- In a wok on a low heat stir fry the beans with the sugar for around 20 minutes until the beans have formed a thick paste.
- Spread onto a baking tray covered in clingfilm to allow the paste to cool quickly. Then transfer to the fridge.
To make the mooncake pastry:
- Combine the golden syrup, lye water, vanilla extract and vegetable oil.
- Add the plain flour and mix to form a soft dough. Knead the dough for 30 seconds until it comes together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Method: To assemble the mooncakes
- Divide the dough into 25g pieces and roll into balls. Refrigerate.
- Meanwhile divide the paste into 35g pieces and roll into balls. Refrigerate.
- With plenty of flour roll each pastry ball into an 8cm round disc.
- Dust each disc with flour and wrap around the red bean balls. Gently stretch the pastry so that it completely surrounds the red bean filling.
- Dust each ball with plenty of flour. Press the ball firmly into the mould. Tip the mould on its side and tap to release the mooncake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted)/350F/Gas 4
- Bake the mooncakes for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Brush with the egg and return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until the mooncakes are a rich, golden brown colour.
- Store in an airtight container once cool.