With the Mid-Autumn Festival (30 September) fast approaching, Kitsby - the NYC-based Asian baking and culinary experience company - has updated its All Star Mooncake Box Set.
This year, Kitsby’s mooncakes come from first-generation Taiwanese American founder Amy Hsiao’s original recipes. Offered while supplies last, the sampler box comes in four modern flavours:
Black Sesame: Made with black sesame imported from Taiwan, which is roasted and ground into a smooth and thick paste and pan-fried until fragrant. The aromatic sesame is not only used in the filling; the skin of the mooncake is also aged/soaked in the paste for five days.
Taiwanese Black Tea with Salted Egg Yolk: Taiwanese black tea is mixed with bean paste and paired with creamy egg yolk for a rich and bold flavour. Aged for five days in bean paste.
White Lotus Paste with Salted Egg Yolk: White lotus paste is the most traditional filling. This mooncake is also aged in it for an extra five days for maximum flavour and moist texture.
Green Tea with Azuki Bean (Red Bean): Japanese matcha tea is fused with white bean paste (suitable for people with nut allergies) while the azuki beans are kept whole for texture. Aged for five days in bean paste.
Derived from the custom of honouring the moon and commemorating the autumn harvest, Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by numerous Asian countries each year on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Mooncakes are the food staple of the holiday, with their round shape symbolising family unity.
While some of Kitsby’s flavours are creative and non-traditional, Hsiao said the skin of Kitsby’s mooncakes is produced in the more labour-intensive traditional method. The dough is made by combining flour with lye water and golden syrup. After baking, the mooncakes are wrapped and left to sit for five days so that the fat of the paste that is used in the filling can soak in and increase moisture. Nowadays, many commercial mooncakes are machine-made, but Kitsby’s are all crafted by hand in New York.
A native of Chinatown NYC, Hsiao bridges childhood memories with traditional techniques to create fun, accessible recipes that incorporate Asian ingredients — from cream puffs and matcha brownies to hotpot and herbal soups. Melding ‘kits by’ and pronounced ‘kits-bee’, Kitsby’s name communicates a desire to offer products for anyone, anywhere.
“Growing up in an Asian American family, we waited excitedly for relatives to bring mooncakes to our Mid-Autumn Festival gatherings because my parents had craftily tricked me into thinking that mooncakes can only be eaten if they were gifted to you,” said Hsiao, who also offers workshops in NYC.
“Perhaps that’s why now I’ve both ‘rebelled’ by making my own and embraced the tradition of gifting mooncakes.”
Kitsby’s All Star Mooncake Box Set is available for nationwide shipping across the US for an RRP of $55.