Crème de sakura (sakura an)

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桜餡sakura an is the girlie version of anko, the classic sweet bean paste used to make Japanese sweets.

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It is traditionally flavored with pickled sakura.

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Dried daifuku mame. They are big white beans, very convenient to make Japanese sweets.

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After soaking and cooking.

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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.

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That’s the finished paste. It can be used in sweets and breads.

DSC07698-001 With the rest of paste that didn’t pass the filtering, and some leftover of anko bean paste, I made a toast.

Wagashi Saga : Japanese sweet posts and tutorials.

Recipes using sakura-an :
DSC07734-001sakura mochi
DSC08042-002double sakura waffles
DSC08359-001sakura anpan

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Sakura kit

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I’m equipped for the cherry blossom season that is looming… It’s really early this year. I’ve seen only pink ones so far, but within a few days, the country will be white.

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Japanese sakura sweets are flavored with pickles made the year before. I should make mines maybe, but well I’ve bought some. さくらの花(塩漬け), cherry blossom, pickled in salt.

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The leaves are also pickled but less salty.

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The flowers in the bin.

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They need a rinsing.

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Then you add petals to some food, let a pair of hours and they are magically flavored. You’ll see that in future posts.

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干菓子higashi (dry sweets) to go with matcha. I didn’t make those either.

Wagashi Saga : Japanese sweet posts and tutorials.

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Dolling up, the simplest sweet for Hina doll festival

Hinamatsuri is arriving soon. Japan is full of cute girly treats and retro dolls.
Maybe my little stars belong to another festival, and I have not the best colors of cups, but that doesn’t matter. I’m giving you an easy recipe, then you decorate as you like.

You need boiled azuki beans (or other beans if you want), sugar/honey, powdered agar agar, a little brandy.
For boiling the beans, click here.

Take a cup of beans, put them in a bowl with their broth, add sugar to taste, a tbs of brandy. Heat 30 seconds in micro-wave. Let one hour.
Reheat 1 minute in micro-wave. When it’s very hot, stir in 1 tbs of agar. Reheat 30 seconds. Pour in little cups. Decorate.
Let cool.

Other wagashi tea sweet recipes (click here).

Kintsuba, work in progress

You have to try certain recipes yourself in order to appreciate the talent of these people in yatai (street stands).
They do that like you cook your potatoes, that seems so easy. In fact, not so much… Also, among many recipes some seem complicated with useless ingredients. In fact, maybe not so useless.

I’ve eaten them. They were good. That’s why I blog about them in spite of the ugly shape. Hey, I’ll do better next time.

That’s what a pro kintsuba looks like :
kintsuba photo from Nakataya kintsuba (online shop)

It’s a juicy block of sweet azuki beans inside a transparent case of thin crepe. Kudos to the makers !

That was the model. I wondered why so many people didn’t retain the idea of full beans for their home-made version.
Now I know ! As I made that :


These are my nicest ones. LOL.

I’ve used that plastic package as a mold. That was not the brightest idea.

As they were not very regular.

I’ll look for another recipe of batter.
Then cooking them…ahem.

I’ve produced real monsters. But I’ve also got 2 that just fell into pieces.

Well, come again some time, I’ll try to improve the recipe and technique.

Mizu yokan

A refreshing Summer Japanese sweet. Simple and delicious. The traditional yokan is thicker, sweeter. For the hot season, water (mizu) is added.

The mizu yokan can be seen in many shapes. In small cups, inside bamboo stalks. I just made a block.

I took the boiled azuki beans (more here), their cooking broth and made a sauce in the blender. I obtained 1/2 liter of thick liquid. I flavored at my taste with kurozato black sugar, cane sugar and lakanto sweetener. Beside, I boiled 400 ml of water with 1 pack (for 500 ml) of agar agar. Blend it in. Poured in mold. Waited.
When it was cooled and solid, refrigerated :

It’s very easy to cut. Melty texture.

Enjoy with matcha (ceremony tea) or chilled sencha green tea.

Like a strawberry daifuku

That takes 5 minutes to make this delight.

Azuki beans, boiled. Plus honey (or syrup).

Tsubuan.

Wrapped in mochi (sticky rice paste).

ichigo daifuku

Wagashi Saga : Photo-menu of all Japanese sweet posts, and recipe posts.