桜餡sakura an is the girlie version of anko, the classic sweet bean paste used to make Japanese sweets.
It is traditionally flavored with pickled sakura.
Dried daifuku mame. They are big white beans, very convenient to make Japanese sweets.
After soaking and cooking.
1. Paste the beans.
2. Add color (beni koji for red) and syrup or sugar. I also add a little brandy.
3. Pass the paste through a sieve.
4. Add pickled minced sakura leaves (for strong taste) and/or flowers (for lighter taste and pink bits in the mass).
5. Let a few hours, so the paste takes the full flavor.
The pickled sakura must be rinsed and soaked, otherwise they are really too salty.
That’s the finished paste. It can be used in sweets and breads.