The Mid Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month based on the Chinese lunar calendar. It occurs at the time of the year when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

There are plenty of legends and history behind this fall celebration, but what I remember the most while growing up were the mooncakes that my mom made. Mooncakes are round pastries with a firm, glazed dough with fillings such as red bean paste, lotus bean paste, and even fruit, nuts, and meat. The round shape of the mooncakes symbolizes “reunion,” and as such people give them to friends and relatives to wish them a joyful and long life.

Though Chinese grocery stores sell mooncakes during the weeks surrounding the Mid Autumn Festival, I always found the store-bought cake filling to be too sweet or too artificially colored red for my liking. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to my mom’s mooncakes with red bean paste.

Some moon cake versions include a filling with a whole egg yolk in the middle surrounded by a bean paste. My mom never put whole yolks in her eggs, but some people really like them. When they cut their mooncakes into quarters, they’ll find a tasty bit of yellow yolk in each piece.

Here’s a recipe that does not include the yolk just like the kind I grew up eating. This recipe requires a mooncake mold. If you don’t have an Asian specialty store or a Chinatown nearby, search online like at to purchase.