Tag Archives: Cake Shops

Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 3: Recipe-Shiro Anko/White Sweetmeats

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In my previous article, I introduced the recipe for “red sweetmeats” or just “anko” in Japanese, an improtant ingredients in Wagashi.
But the red/violet colour is not always wanted.
Another popular way to make anko is to use “ingen mame”/kidney beans (US), or string/French beans (Europe).
Note that soy beans/”daizu” are not used in this recipe!
The advantage are multiple, as the “white” (actually beige) colour can be modified by adding green peas (green), pumpkin (yellow or orange), fruit pulp from papaya and mago. Variations are practically unlimited!

INGREDIENTS:
Kidney beans: 500g
Sugar: 400g
Salt: three small pinches

RECIPE:

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Put beans in 3 times their volume of water in a large pan. Let soak for two nights. Change water twice a day.

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Beans should have lost their “wrinkles” by then.

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Bring water to boil over strong fire then simmer for 5 minutes on medium fire.

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Drain water, making sure beans don’t dry up. The skin of the beans should peel off easily. Take skins and dark spots away.

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Simmer again peeled beans until they soft and start breaking up. Start on a strong fire to bring to boil, then lower to medium fire.

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Heat until most of the water has evaporated. Beans will pass through sieve more easily.

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Pass all the beans through the sieve. Wash and dry the pan.

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Add sugar and stir/mix over low fire.

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Sugar becoming liquid upon heating will give a watery aspect to the mixture. Heat over low fire, stirring all the time for 25 minutes.

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Once satisfied with the paste consistency, add salt, mix and stop fire.

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Transfer to another dish for preserving until use. Do it at once while it is still hot.
Make sure it does not dry up.
Cover with a lid.
If lid does not close well enough, wrap the whole into cellophane paper.

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats

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One main ingredients in traditional Wagashi/Japanese Cakes is “anko” (or more simply “an”) which can be translated as “sweetmeats” or “bean jam”.

I would like here to introduce a simple way to make one’s own “anko” at home:

INGREDIENTS:

Azuki/Adzuki/red beans (in Japanese: 小豆): 150 g
Sugar: 150g
Salt: a little

RECIPE:

a) Wash azuki lightly. Put in a large basin with an equal amount of water and turn on heat to high.

b) Bring to boil. If beans level is higher that of water, add water till beans are completely covered. Let simmer. Add water 2 or 3 times as soon as the water does not cover completely the beans and this until beans stop floating on water.

c) Drain beans, put them back into basin with same amount of water and turno fire to high. Repeat a9 operation.

d) Cook as c) fro 40~60 minutes.

e) Mash azuki beans lightly. Add sugar. Simmer and stir to mix, making sure the jam does not overboil.

f) Add a little salt (to your taste) and mix.
Let cool completely.
You can eat as it is of course, but you will need it to make your cakes!
You can either sieve it to make it a very fine paste, sieve a part and mix it with the unsieved part, or use it as it is. In any case it will be easy to fashion!

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 1: Introduction

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There is a traditional way of making cakes in Japan that ought to please no end vegans and people allergic to wheat flour and dairy products, namely Wagashi!

Wagashi (和菓子) is a traditional Japanese confectionery which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits.

Wagashi is typically made from natural based (mainly plant) ingredients. The names used for wagashi commonly fit a formula—a natural beauty and a word from ancient literature; they are thus often written with hyōgaiji (kanji that are not commonly used or known), and are glossed with furigana.

Generally, confectioneries that were introduced from the West after the Meiji Restoration (1868) are not considered wagashi. Most sorts of Okinawan confectionery and those originating in Europe or China that use ingredients alien to traditional Japanese cuisine, e.g., kasutera, are only rarely referred to as wagashi.

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Assortment of wagashi for a tea ceremony

During the Edo period, the production of sugarcane in Okinawa became highly productive, and low quality brown sugar as well as heavily processed white sugar became widely available. A type of sugar, wasanbon, was perfected in this period and is still used exclusively to make wagashi. Wagashi was a popular gift between samurai, in significance much like a good wine. Wagashi is served as part of a Japanese tea ceremony, and serving a good seasonal wagashi shows one’s educational background.

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Wagashi in the shape of rape flowers/Na no Hana

There are many, many kinds of Wagashi.
I will introduce them in the next posting, followed by another posting on the basic preparation.

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Shizuoka’s Abekawa Mochi

Just know that about every region in Japan has its own traditional Wagashi!

Avaibility:
Wagashi is widely available in Japan, but quite rare outside it.
Minamoto Kitchoan (源 吉兆庵)
Has a varied selection, and stores in New York City (shipping throughout the US), London (shipping throughout Europe), and Singapore, in addition to Japan.
Toraya (とらや)
Has a full Paris store, stores in Japan, and sells a limited selection (yōkan only) at New York stores.
Fugetsu-do
Family owned and operated in the USA, since 1903, Fugetsu-do now ships anywhere in the USA.

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LE CAFE-LABO: Classic Cakes (11)-Benihoppe

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It’s been some time since I could find a new creation by Le Cafe-Labo in Shizuoka City. The fact is that their current palette sells well, but I finally got my hands on one today!

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“Benihoppe” is interesting for many reasons:
“Benihoppe” means “Red Cheeks” in Japanese, the name of a very popular strawberry variety in Shizuoka Prefecture. Did I tell you that Shizuoka is the biggest producer of strawberries in this country with more 1,200 registered growers?
This is obviously a seasonal creation.
The base is made up of a very thin layer of light “Joconde” sponge cake supporting a thick layer of vanilla mousse. Another thin layer of Joconde sponge cake helps support on another thick layer of Benihoppe Strawberry Mousse. The whole is covered with a very thin layer of strawberry coulis, a small benihoppe strawberry, a redcurrant, and a raspberry..

A very elegant, feminie cake you enjoy cutting through before letting all the savours melt into your mouth. Very tasty and light at the same time. A cake for the summer!

LE CAFE-LABO
424-0886 Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Kusanagi, 46
Tel.: 054-3441661
Also available at Isetan Dept. Store, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-Cho

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TAKY’S classic Cakes (9): Buche Pistache

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I have just discovered another new creation by talented Takuya Hanai and served it to two of my students today. The beginning of the week is always a good time as Mr. Iwai tries his new cakes out then!
I don’t have to tell you I have to keep a constant lookout as this talented and still young patissier.

“Buche” means a French roll cake in the form and shape of a wooden log, although it would be half a log in this cake. This why it caught my eye as I tend to avoid full rounded roll cakes.

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It is another marvel as you go through all kinds of textures and falvours!
From bottom to top (although you will probably appreciate it theother way round):
-Thin flat base layer of chocolate sponge cake containing dry cherries and flavoured with cherry liqueur.
-Pistacchio Mousse. very elegant, light and very feminine in concept.
-Chocolate Sponge Cake, simple and light.
-Chocolate Mousse, creamy and savoury.
-A layer of Chocolate Ganache, firm, hard and crispy enough to incite you to break through it!

To appreciate with a great coffee or English tea!

TAKY’S
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-11-10
Tel.: 054-255-2829
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

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BOUQUET’s Classic Cakes (2): Caramel Mousse

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Bouwuet has long been a favourite of mine and one of the oldest cake-shops stiil alive in Shizuoka City. It could actually be called an institution here!
The only place willng to bake Gateau Basque, it regularly comes up with classics and novelties.
Since I had to find a cke for a student of mine I chose this particular cake.
The name is a bit of a misnomer as it is far more sophisticated than it sounds.

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A thin layer of sponge made for the base on which was spread a frist layer of Caramel Mousse. A second round and smaller spong circle was then laid in the middle and imbibed with a syrup cotaining pear liqueur.
It was then “filled up” with Caramel Mousse. A thun layer of chocolate sauce was added for the last colour finish and protect the Mousse!

To savour with a great coffee!

Bouquet
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo machi, 1-8-6
Tel. & fax: 054-2530349
Open: 11:00~20:00
11:00~19:00 (Sundays & National Holidays)
Closed on Wednesdays

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TAKY’S classic Cakes (8): Framboise

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I have just discovered his new creation by talented Takuya Hanai and served to one of my students today.
I have to keep a constant lookout as this talented and still young patissier has a habit to offer new cakes almost every week.

This cake, Framboise, ia reminiscent of Fedora I introduced in an earlier posting.
Also fairly simple in concept, it is nonetheless a small gem:

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On a thin layer of chocolate chips-studded chocolate sponge, he first lay a layer of chocolate bavarois/mousse, then again, but twice as thick, a framboise/raspberry bavarois/mousse with a final layer of thick Raspberry sauce with a fresh raspeberry for the final touch.
The whole cake is “surrounded” with bicolor sponge for mpre personality.
Breaking through the whole and tasting the combination of the various tastes all at the same time reveals the sublime qualities of this other little marvel!

To appreciate with a great coffee or English tea!

TAKY’S
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-11-10
Tel.: 054-255-2829
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

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