Nothing against Chinese Tradition or the pastry itself, but the practice of gifting mooncakes always gets out of hand. Every year in the lead-up to Mid-Autumn, Singapore gets hit by a typhoon of mooncakes and mooncake-related nonsense.
There are the ol’ school double yolk mooncakes, durian mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes, gimmicky tea-infused mooncakes, ice-cream mooncakes, tropical fruit mooncakes, and even this tar-black Guinness mooncake. Every shopping centre holds a mooncake biennale in its atrium, and every hotel joins the annual arms race for ‘Most Pretentious And Gimmicky Prestige Mooncake’.
The result? Too many damned mooncakes even for a cake-head. If you’re not sick of them by now, you definitely will be in three months time, which is roughly how long I’ll need to digest the 15 or so mooncakes left in my house. (provided I don’t OD on lotus paste)
But then I thought: Perhaps we’re looking at this problem all wrong. Perhaps we shouldn’t be sitting around the dinner table with cups of tea, glumly chewing on Mooncake No.7.
As Spongebob Squarepants suggests, perhaps we should use our ‘imagination’ and rethink the mooncake … as a stepping stone to greater glory.
Recipe: To make a batter, I mixed milk, baking soda, flour, and one egg. You can also add approx. 50g of sugar into the batter if you have a death wish like yours truly. Mix well and use the batter to coat your mooncake before dropping it gently (!) into hot vegetable oil.
Make sure the oil is not too hot or your mooncake will blacken before the heat has fully penetrated.
I did two versions of the deep-fried mooncake—one with panko breadcrumbs and one without—but both are equally crap. The hot batter tasted good at first bite, but the mooncake was a hard, flavorless hockey puck.
But in all seriousness, there are few things in life that cannot be improved by copious, artery-clogging amounts of cheese. That being said, Cheesecakes are often tricky if you want to add extra flavours like strawberry or apricots. If too much liquid seeps into the batter, it affects that thicc/rich consistency which is the platonic ideal of a cheesecake.
Cut up your mooncakes into largish chunks and place them on the base. Pour your batter over the mess and bake at 180 degrees for about 1 hour. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
(Tip #1: To check if your cheesecake is ready, stab it with a satay stick. If the batter does not stick to your eh, stick, it’s probably ready. Tip#2: Bake the cracker base. If you’re an idiot like me and forgot this step, the base will taste like a soggy biscuit.)
But the cake is not just a feast for the eyes, it also tastes pretty damn divine. Crumbly salted yolks adds a lovely contrast to the cake’s creamy body, and the lotus paste complements the confection as well as chocolate or caramel.
Most people who tried the cake compared it to a peanut-butter-cheesecake, but I’ll take that as a compliment for my Sistine Chapel of cream cheese.
(I don’t know how to flip prata because I am not a Minister, so I used Fairprice’s too-thick frozen pratas. That’s why the pictures look more like Mooncake Quesadillas.)
The end result is edible but unexceptional.
Also: I wonder what kind of additives and kryptonite they’ve added to my commercially-made mass-market mooncake. The damn thing can be fried, baked, and turned many times over high heat without losing its Playdoh-like consistency or taste. It’s a little disturbing, to say the least.
Is the Moonshake(™) a cry for help? Is this just an edible existential crisis in beverage form?
Whatever it is, it’s not half-bad at all. Moonshake is the tastiest and most practical way to consume all those boxes of leftover mooncake. The cream/milk is infused with a strong lotus scent and those bits of poorly-blended salted yolk will do for your milkshake what sea-salt does for your caramel.
Best of all, it takes just 5 minutes. The Moonshake’s only downsides is the potential sore throat.
Moonshake takes the top spot because it’s just 1000% easier and less expensive than the Mooncheese-cake, which costs a Minister’s worth of Philadelphia cream cheese and gave me a wanker’s cramp from all the furious beating of eggs and batter.
Deep-fried Mooncake is the worst because it used a lot of oil and achieved nothing.
Above all, the experience of turning mooncakes into something entirely different taught me an important lesson: nothing is mundane when you add love, imagination, and industrial quantities of cheese.
Only boring people get bored, and there’s no better way to alleviate your boredom than by making and consuming a hearts attack’s worth of Leftover Mooncake + Cheap Dairy.