Pastry chef shares secrets behind tasty mooncakes

TAIPEI (The China Post) — In addition to BBQ, you must try some sweet and rich mooncakes with salted egg yolk during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

If you want to make the popular pastry on your own, this video unveils the secrets of a senior chef. 

“As a baker, every day I work to spread blessings and happiness to people, so it’s a sacred job,” Xin Yu-jen (辛育仁), who has been baking for 13 years, said firmly about the mission of his work.

Xin Yu-jen works as a pastry chef in Hide Out Dessert Laboratory. (Courtesy of Xin Yu-jen/Instagram)

In an interview with The China Post, the 30-year-old pastry chef said that he started dancing in high school and loved street dance.

“I once thought I would dance street dance for the rest of my life, and I look forward to going to the World Street Dance Championship in Germany one day,” the chef said. 

He practiced street dance every night but still had to earn money to support his family after graduation. 

After graduating with a degree in food and beverage, he became an apprentice at a Sichuan food restaurant, starting with basic chopping of vegetables and slicing ginger. 

However, the dream of becoming a professional dancer was still in his mind. As Xin was busy at the restaurant and his off-duty hours were not compatible with the group dance practice. 

Afterward, he decided to work in a bakery where the working hours wouldn’t impact his leisure activities. 

Xin Yu-jen works as a pastry chef in Hide Out Dessert Laboratory. (Courtesy of Xin Yu-jen/Instagram)

Even though I have to start preparing the ingredients and mixing the dough in the early morning, I have more time to practice after work, he said. 

“It was really just a job for me at that time, dancing was my dream.” 

The turning point in his life came on Mother’s Day, the second year of his apprenticeship. 

To surprise his mother, he decided to wait for everyone else to finish work and stay in the kitchen on his own to make a unique Mother’s Day cake. 

Reminiscing on that day, he said that he had re-buttered the outside of the cake dozens of times. It took him almost three hours to finish the cake, and when he got home, his mother was very impressed.

When he saw how happy his mother was when trying the homemade cake, he knew that he fell in love with baking. 

“My life begins with dessert,” he said. Since then, Xin began to look for various recipes, and he went everywhere in search of amazing desserts.

Meanwhile, he chose to practice in the kitchen after work and even helped out in the kitchen on weekends and holidays.

To him, this job is more than just a job, it’s a chance to express his creativity. 

“Do you know what the value of a pastry chef is? It is to see the expectant and happy faces of every customer standing in front of the bakery window display.” 

At the moment,  all the hard work has become worthwhile. 

What you need to pay attention to when making a mooncake with salted egg yolk 

Salted duck egg yolk
Use freshly picked salted egg yolks, not the plastic-wrapped ones, for a crunchy texture.

Red bean paste for the filling
Use low sugar red bean paste for filling

Flaky pastry
Using clarified butter produces a crispier pastry than regular butter.

Before baking, rub three layers of egg yolk evenly and baking temperature is recommended to be above 180 degrees.

Store in the refrigerator for 7 days and seal well to prevent the pastry from moisture. 

Follow 辛育仁 Xin Yu-jen