The end of the autumn harvest has arrived. It’s celebrated as the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, Chuseok in Korea, Tsukimi in Japan, and Tet Trung Thu in Vietnam. It’s believed that the moon shines the brightest and appears the fullest on this holiday, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. This year, it’s Saturday, September 10.
In homage to the celestial body, mooncakes are traditionally eaten and gifted among friends and families — only after bakers have sweat it out in the kitchen to make this labor-intensive treat. The classic Chinese lotus seed mooncake, for instance, requires a multi-step process: cooking the lotus seed paste (which in and of itself involves soaking and de-stemming lotus seeds, blending, and cooking them down to a dense paste), wrapping it in a thick layer of dough, and imprinting the mooncakes using gorgeously patterned molds. But it’s still not over. The mooncakes have to age so that the oils in both the wrapper and filling spread out uniformly while the pressed design and soft consistency of the paste remains intact, says Mogan Anthony, co-owner of pastry shop Lady Wong in the East Village.
Below, find 12 New York bakeries doling out mooncakes — from the traditional to the inventive — this year.Read More