FOR the first time ever, a Home Bakers edition has been introduced in The Star Mooncake Awards 2020 to showcase the creativity of individuals with a passion for baking the Mid-Autumn Festival treat.
The event, organised by Star Media Group Kuali food portal and StarMetro in partnership with 988 radio station and Dimsum Entertainment, saw 15 participants submitting a total of 33 mooncake flavours across four categories.
The aunt and niece duo of Ng Peck Kim and Chryssie Ng Sweet Ing had two out of their six entries emerge as winners — Teochew Orh Nee (Yam Paste) in the Traditional Baked category and Bubur Cha Cha in the Jelly category.
Peck Kim, who has been making cakes and mooncakes for 11 and seven years respectively, said she submitted three of her signature mooncakes in hopes of promoting her own creations and gaining new customers.
“The Teochew Orh Nee was created using a recipe I learnt from my mother. The concept is similar to the Teochew dessert, except the yam paste for the mooncake filling is more solid, ” said Peck Kim, who is of Teochew descent.
“The mooncake’s spiral puff exterior was created using a Taiwanese pastry technique and shaped to resemble longevity peaches, ” she said.
She is also able to craft the spiral puff exterior into other shapes such as Totoro, Disney and other cartoon characters to make the traditional yam mooncakes more appealing to children.
The 50-year-old is particularly proud of the Bailey’s Cheese and Chocolate Lava Mooncake she submitted under the Creative category.
“The mooncake’s exterior was produced using a fondant decoration technique, which is something I specialise in, ” said Peck Kim, who teaches baking at a studio in Puchong.
“I put a lot of effort into my craft. Everything matters to me — ingredients, taste and presentation. I want the best for my customers and will personally reject badly made products.”
Chryssie shared that she worked on the recipe for her Bubur Cha Cha Jelly Mooncake with her mother and aunt.
“It is inspired by my family’s Peranakan heritage. The recipe is similar to the tong shui, except jelly powder is added to make the texture more solid, ” said the 25-year-old who helps Peck Kim with mooncake designs and social media posts.
“The filling is made from yam, Japanese, orange and purple sweet potatoes and pure coconut milk, then encased in a skin made from gula melaka.”
Chryssie expects the newly created bubur cha cha flavour to be a hit among those who like jelly mooncakes, particularly children and young adults.
She said the weeks leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival would be a busy time for her family, as close to 10 members would be busy
helping Peck Kim produce and pack her mooncakes.
The duo’s other mooncake entries are Cendol (Jelly), Pandan Gula Melaka and Shredded Coconut (Traditional Baked) and 3D Cuties Pineapple Paste (Creative).
Justina Yeoh won the top spot in the Snow Skin category for her Gold-Dusted Pandan Gula Melaka creation, while Patricia Ee was crowned champion in the Mooncake with Layer Cake Filling under the Creative category.
The judges for The Star Mooncake Awards 2020 — Home Bakers comprised StarMetro deputy news editor Esther Chandran, 988 deejay Emily Yap, as well as baking enthusiast and social media foodie Iris Tan.
All three judges, who are also home bakers, were impressed with the creativity and range of flavours submitted by the participants.
“It’s clear that some invested in the time to make their mooncakes stand out. The handiwork and presentation of these mooncakes were outstanding too, ” said Esther, citing the Bubur Cha Cha Jelly Mooncake as an example.
“While some mooncakes were of hotel standards, there were others that had flavour combinations that didn’t work.”
She expressed hope of seeing more jelly mooncakes in next year’s awards, as that is a forte often displayed by home bakers.
Tan said, “The movement control order has inspired many people to bake, cook and sell their home-made items online, so the awards offer some form of recognition for them.
“However, I feel that the participants could do more in terms of ingredients, taste, texture and creativity. They have to be mindful of how the humid Malaysian weather affects the texture of mooncakes.”
She noted that some of the home bakers made an effort to incorporate local ingredients such as cendol and gula melaka, and created less sweet mooncakes that catered to market preferences.
Both Esther and Tan enjoyed the Teochew Orh Nee Mooncake as they felt it had a good balance in terms of its filling and pastry, and was not overly sweet.
Yap, who was judging a mooncake event for the first time, said she skipped lunch to ensure she had enough room to taste all the mooncakes vying for the awards.
“I came expecting mostly traditional baked mooncakes, but was amazed with the variety that was submitted, ” she said, adding that the jelly mooncakes impressed her the most.
“I love desserts, so I was surprised with how the Bubur Cha Cha and Cendol Jelly Mooncakes tasted exactly like the original desserts.”
Having attempted and failed at making mooncakes herself, Yap said she appreciated the amount of effort taken to craft the festive treat.
All participants of The Star Mooncake Awards 2020 – Home Bakers will be given free listing space on the Kuali Bazaar portal to promote and sell their mooncakes, “Kuali-fied” e-badges and certificate of participation.
The winner of each mooncake category will be awarded a prize package worth RM15,600, which includes a Kuali Bazaar preferred listing worth RM8,000, a write-up and web message on Kuali totalling RM6,000, as well as posts on Kuali’s social media platforms.
The Professionals edition of the highly anticipated awards, showcasing mooncakes by hotels and restaurant groups, will be featured next week.