The making of 14 mooncakes: A dollop of salted duck egg yolk, cushioned and enveloped by an ube paste
It was a flavor combo idea four years in the making, and I was finally able to execute it this past weekend: a dollop of salted duck egg yolk, cushioned and enveloped by an ube paste. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of my favorite holidays and is also essentially the next most important holiday in many Asian countries, save for New Year.
The way I describe making mooncakes is that they are technically easy to grasp but annoying and time-consuming to execute. While my depression and anxiety tend to exaggerate the barrier to starting an activity, I don’t think they were too far off for making mooncakes. From start to finish, 14 mooncakes took around three hours. Like the process of making croissants—where you work fast to beat melting butter—mooncakes are made quickly and in small batches to avoid melting the lard.
I used this recipe again, it’s my third time using it, and I call bullshit on the 1.75-hour time estimate. Even with another person helping me, it took hours.
I’ve had issues with sourcing some of the ingredients in the past, and I don’t know why I shouldn’t have expected the same this time around. It’s honestly starting to become a part of the tradition of making them: me stressing out about ingredients, running around to a half-dozen stores, getting pushed away by people who don’t understand or speak English. I live in a neighborhood where access to cultural ingredients is easy. Grocery stores are a short bus ride away, and 99 Ranch (a grocery chain founded in 1984 by a Taiwanese immigrant) is within driving distance.
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