Vegan & gluten-free breads & jam


Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Blog, Recipes | 0 comments



Thursday, September 19, 2013 will mark the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. Near the equinox, this holiday always falls on the night of a full moon, causing it to sometimes be referred to as the Moon Festival or even the Mooncake Festival. Similar to Thanksgiving in the Western-world (affectionately dubbed “Turkey-Day “by some), the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the harvest, family togetherness, and delicious mooncakes.

The mooncake is a fairly simple baked cake that is stuffed with various fruit or bean-paste fillings. Rarely prepared for the rest of the year, during September, some bakeries quit making other baked goods entirely so that their resources can be dedicated to this uber-popular treat. In fact, mooncakes are such epitimous gifts that that they have been a serious source of corruption in China in years past, with high-end mooncake delicacies selling for hundreds of dollars and being used to bribe government officials.

Here at Holcomb Hollow, we decided to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with some mooncakes of our own! Our Beijing-inspired Smoked Plum Jam was the perfect filling, about a half-tablespoon per mooncake. For the dough, we followed this recipe, though there are as many recipes as there are bakeries in Asia so find one that suits you. Also, because we, like many Americans, lack access to a mooncake mold, our mooncakes are simply rolled and sealed by hand. Instead of baking them, we put them through a cupcake press, giving them their shape, but feel free to experiment.

If your dough is too dry & crumbly, try sprinkling water over it and kneading some more. Once you’re ready to fill them, flatten a ball of dough and roll the edges around the jam, similar to a burrito. Smooth over any serious cracks or jam-leaks in the surface but don’t worry too much, they’ll cook fine. We reduced the recipe to one-third the size and it made 8 mooncakes so plan accordingly. Also, we placed them in the cupcake press with the flat-side up so we could try to put a design on it with a fork, but the cooking-process removed most evidence of the attempt.

This Autumn, observe the full-moon and fall-equinox with the classic tradition of Chinese Mooncakes stuffed with delicious Holcomb Hollow Jam. Plus, at the beginning of October, be sure to find Holcomb Hollow at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Autumn Bulb Festival, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, the 4-6th.