Moon cakes are an indispensable part of Vietnamese people’s celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is held annually on the 15th day of the eight lunar month.
There are two types of moon cake; banh nuong (brown baked cake) and banh deo(snow skin sticky cake). The making of moon cakes has many steps, including processing the ingredients, making the crust and mixing the stuffing.
A traditional moon cake is filled with sliced lemon leaves, young kumquat, wampee, salted egg yolk, sausage, roast chicken, melon seeds and almond. All of the ingredients must be selected carefully and they must be mixed and cooked harmoniously together so that one can taste the flavour of each component.
One of the most important steps in making a moon cake is dealing with its crust. Bakers use cooked glutinous rice powder, sugar and water to make crust of banh deo. The baker must pay attention to the weather and adjust the water volume while kneading dough in order to avoid making the crust too dry.
The crust of banh nuong should be presented in a shining colour to highlight its patterns on the surface. The crust should be crispy at the first bite and taste rich on the inside.
Each dough piece is pressed in a circle. Bakers then press the filling into the middle of each circle and roll it into a ball and then flatten it.
After the filling is added, each flattened circle is pressed in the mould to form the moon cake shape.
The making of banh deo is completed after it is removed from the mould since the cake is made from cooked glutinous rice powder.
Banh nuong, however, has to undergo additional steps. After being removed from the mould, it is brushed with egg wash, which will give the cake its colour, and finally the cake is baked until it turns golden brown.