There’s nothing that says Mid-Autumn Festival like the prototypical lotus paste mooncake – or its contemporary snowskin cousin – even when they’re now imbued with all manner of thrilling flavours that push the envelope for the traditional pastry. There’s one flavour, however, that we’re particularly fond of – even though it might seem lacking in the innovation – and healthfulness – department. Of course, we’re talking about durians.
Rich, creamy and pungent, these thorny fruits are reaching the tail-end of their annual season – but we can continue to enjoy them, in all their bittersweet, velvety glory, baked into mooncakes. Even among durian cultivars, there’s room for a bevy of different tastebuds. Some, like the D24 and XO cultivars, feature an alcohol-like aftertaste, not unlike some mooncakes that feature various liqueurs. At the very least, incorporating the creamy flesh of the fruit into mooncakes offers a fascinating mouthfeel that you’d be hard pressed to replicate with other modern-day elements.
Love it or hate it, picking the right durian is a balancing act in itself: after all, you’re looking for a fruit that’s neither too bitter, nor too sweet. The challenge is compounded when factoring in other ingredients, which is exactly what makes these durian mooncakes so exciting – and deserving of one’s stomach space this festive season.