One of my favourite traditional mooncakes is the Flaky Yam Mooncake because I love orh nee (芋泥) — a yam paste dessert with Teochew roots. This mooncake is a labour of love as homemade yam paste is wrapped in a thousand-layer pastry crust made by combining two types of dough, a method commonly used in Chinese pastries. Yet, the dough is surprisingly easy to handle and yields beautiful results as it literally “blooms” right in front of you as it is lowered into hot oil.
Tip: The crust will burn if it comes into contact with the pot so lower the mooncake into the hot oil with a ladle and keep it there while deep-frying for the best results!
(Makes 10 mooncakes)
150g plain flour
20g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
130g plain flour
600g fresh yam, diced
15g wheat starch
80ml cooking oil
2-3 shallots, sliced
10 salted egg yolks
- Steam salted egg yolks for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside.
- To make yam paste filling, steam diced yam for 30 minutes until soft, then mash until smooth, removing any hard fibrous bits that cannot be mashed.
- Mix in sugar and wheat starch
- Heat up cooking oil in a frying pan and fry shallots until fragrant
- Discard shallots and add yam paste in. Fry until the yam paste is dry. Set aside to cool
- Wrap 70g of yam paste around one salted egg yolk and shape into a round ball. Repeat until all the yam paste and salted egg yolks are used up. Set aside.
- To make flaky pastry, prepare water dough by rubbing shortening into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add sugar, water and vinegar, then knead until a smooth dough is formed. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the oil dough by rubbing shortening into flour and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
- To roll out pastry, divide both water and oil doughs into half. Wrap the oil dough inside the water dough
- On a floured surface, roll dough out into a long rectangle. Starting from the shorter side, roll dough into a log like a swiss roll
- Turn dough 90 degrees and repeat step 11.
- Cut each log into 5 equal pieces.
- With the spiral side down, roll out the dough from the center into a flat disc big enough to cover the filling
- Wrap rolled-out dough around the filling and pinch the bottom edges together to seal
- Use a ladle to lower the mooncake into a pot of hot oil (~180oC) and deep fry until golden brown.
- Drain excess oil on paper towel and serve warm!