They call me ‘shoe cream’… Puff cake blues.

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Les choux à la crème are probably the most successful French cake in Japan. Chou was easy to pronounce, but à la crème was too long. Everybody knew that meant cream. So the name became シュークリーム shu-kuri-mu chou cream, which is also how they say “shoe cream”.

Well we can see them everywhere from the luxury hotel tea room to the discount kombini (convenience store). They can be extraordinary, great, good, meh, abominable. The choice is huge. Some stands prepare them fresh all day.
I still find home-made fresher.

First let’s make the little choux. Then a cream at local taste including anko (azuki bean sweet paste) an ingredient borrowed from wagashi (Japanese tea sweets).

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Simple, 125 g of water, 25 g of oil, 80 g of flour. I included about 2 eggs, a little vanilla extract and sugar.

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Baked at 200 degrees, 25 minutes.

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I really love the inside still wet. So I don’t fill them, I keep the cream on the side.

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I passed boiled azuki beans through a sieve to get the creamy texture, added sugar and a little brandy. That’s koshian (‘passed’ bean paste, recipe here). More about it here.

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The whip (here veg’) plus anko bean paste mix. It is very popular now.

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Ubatama

Photo and shape could be better. It’s an experiment + we have totally awful dark days of typhon. Not enough light for photos. I’ll do some again, nicer.

It’s a wagashi (Japanese sweet), great for Summer. it looks like a truffle caught in ice. They are very refreshing.

Ubatama is the name of the peyote cactus. So maybe the shape comes from that… or the cactus was named after the sweet. Tama is ball. Uba may mean “bird wing”, like black crow wing. But there are different writings.

It’s koshian (smooth azuki bean paste) flavored with kurozato (black sugar), in a agar agar jelly.

I should have colored the jelly. I’ll know next time.
They were delicious. The black sugar gives them a pleasant old-fashioned flavor.

Green tea time : kashiwa maison

Yes, kashiwa mochi, the wagashi Japanese sweet wrapped in oak leaves. Home-made this time.
I had kept the leaves. They dried. I soaked them and miracle they revived ! They could bring their chlorophylle flavor to the sweets.

I prepared a small amount of koshian, the sieved azuki bean paste.

Making kashiwa-mochi (from joshinko rice flour)

After adding the syrup. Isn’t that silky ?

Like those from the shop ?

kashiwa mochi from the shop (click on text)

Not too far, eh ? Taste was great. Mines are less sweet, which is good.

Oh, they cracked… OK, aspect is not pro.

With the tsubuan (beans I didn’t bother sieving) and the rest of dough, I made an angoro (wrapped in anko bean paste).

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

From the shop : kashiwa-mochi, oak leaf sweet

Lucky ! You’ve found a pearl in your oak leaf.
This sweet is eaten in this season, and particularly on May 5th , for the Children Day.

This one is bought. That’s why it is more perfect than mines. Hey, baker is a job and you don’t get the professional skill overnight.
It’s really shiny, and harder in texture than daifuku mochi. The recipe is different.

Use the little wood knife to cut it…

It’s filled with koshi-an (smooth anko bean paste). Good texture and taste but… it’s too sweet for my mouth.

No ! Don’t eat the leaf. It is only a packaging, and I need it !
Yes, the most difficult is to collect those big leaves of Japanese oak. They are not common in the city. I guess you need to go in the mountain and use a ladder. So I recycle…

kashiwa maison , made with the recycled leaves

Making kashiwa-mochi (from joshinko rice flour)

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

Kimi-an dango, Japanese sweets like pearls of gold

On a skewer a boiled quail eggs and 2 boiled egg yolks… There is also this sweet version.

Anko, azuki bean sweet paste is very known. This is a variation. It’s kimi-an (yolk paste). It can be used in many type of wagashi.

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

Kimi-an

1/2 cup (drained) of boiled white beans (not salted)
1 egg yolk, beaten
sugar or sweetener, as you like
1 tbs brandy
vanilla essence

-Paste the beans in a mortar (or a bowl with a fork) till you get a very smooth cream. If you want it to be perfect, pass it through a sieve, that’s the only way to be sure all the small skins are pasted.
-Mix in the yolk and the sugar.
-Pass 20 seconds in microwave (500 watts), mix well. Repeat 1 or 2 times till eggs are cooked and texture is quite dry.
-Add the flavorings. Let it cool.

Then simply form balls with dry hands. Join them with a skewer at the good size… or too long as here.

The white ones are mochi dangos (click on text) :

Dango

Anpan woman and the super hero sweet bean bread

This is anpan, sweet azuki bean bread, a long time popular kashipan (Japanese cake-bread). Maybe one of the oldest.

anpan

Did you know this guy ? It’s Anpanman. He is to anpan what Superman is to supermarkets.

Make little balls of sweet bread : sourdough, flour, egg, butter (not too much), rice bran, very little sugar… Kiki, my home-bakery did that well.

Anko (sweet azuki beans), the simplest version : frozen azuki, kurozato black sugar, a little brandy, vanilla.

Making anko (tsubuan and koshian) from the beans. Easy recipe.

Blond sesame.

The Japanese versions are often made of koshian (pasted beans) way much sweeter. The bread is also richer (fatter and sweeter) and extremely soft. Mines are not like bread. Slightly healthier too. I love this little snack.

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

Easy making of koshian anko (fine textured azuki bean paste)

Azuki (adzuki) beans.

Definition :
Anko is a sweet paste, made from these small Asian beans. Anko is one of the most common ingredients for making Japanese sweets, so this is a basic.

Ingredients :
Azuki beans. Sugar, syrup or any sweetener you like.
Other types of beans can be prepared the same way. White beans (similar to “Navy beans”) are often used to make the white “an”.

I was not too happy with the color of my photos… it varies indeed, it’s nicer in reality than on my shots. What matters is the texture, so I covered with fancy filters.

MAKING ANKO (tsubuan and koshian)

Rinse. Cover with 4 volumes of water. Soak one night (in the fridge in Summer).

Drain (optional, you can keep the soaking water, final color may differ). Transfer into a pasta pot with plenty of water, bring to boil. Pass to medium heat. Take away the white foam. Cover and cook (medium heat) until beans are soft. Depending on quantity that takes me 40 min to 1 hour. Drain.
Rem : You can cook them in a steam-cooker if you have a functional one, it’s faster. You can use a crock-pot, but boiling the beans about 10 minutes is necessary to eliminate toxic substance, so if your crock-pot cannot boil, start in a pot and transfer after taking away the foam.

Paste in a mortar (or with a fork).

This is tsubuan (chunky bean paste). In Kansai, this is the favorite texture.

Make it finer this way :

This is koshian (fine bean paste), it’s the prefered “anko” in Kanto area. Well, both types are available everywhere in Japan.

Sweetening (easy way) :

Add syrup to either tsubuan or koshian. I use already prepared kuro mitsu, black sugar syrup. You can make a syrup with sugar and water. Make it at your taste. You can freeze the paste.

Rem : In some recipes, you add lots of sugar (same weight as beans) and simmer it with the beans before pasting. You obtain a “azuki jam”. You can buy it already made. It can be stored without freezing. The inconvenient is it’s much sweeter.

Koshian (fine paste), prepared as mizu-yokan. This time, the color is more chocolaty, that depends on the beans. I have had redder ones, but these brown ones are particularly taste.

Mizu-yokan and nashi

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