Saturday, March 29, 2008

Strawberry Daifuku with chestnut cream

I haven't made cupcakes lately...

Last month I had a dinner with some friends. One of them brought Strawberry Daifuku. She didn't make them but her Japanese friend did, who makes Japanese sweets for her friends as a small/private business. I don't know how much she paid for them but what a great idea. The strawberry daifuku was heavenly! It was tiny (two bites size) and delicate. It was very good. Since then I had the idea of making one by myself, but I was in Brazil for two weeks soon after that dinner, then I've been sick for a week since I came back from the trip, and finally I had some time to try.

For the filling, I was too lazy to make or even go to the China town to buy "anko" (sweet azuki bean paste). Instead I decided to use this half emptied jar of chestnut puree. White anko could taste like this when flavored, maybe? This was my impression when tasted it for the fist time. I love this cream but at the same time I don't know any better way to consume it very well. Sometimes I spread it on my toast, and the other week I used the half of jar to make a cheesecake which was very good. But I wish to know more recipes...

1 1/2 cup Glutenous rice flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup water
some potato starch

1 cup anko, red or white (for traditional style) but I used a sweetened chestnut puree (about 1/4 cup)
10 strawberries, washed and dried

Preparing Mochi (glutenous rice dough):
1. Mix rice flour, sugar and water in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, microwave for 4 minutes.
2. Take it out immediately (at this point, the middle is still liquid) then mix it well with a spoon until smooth.

3. Cover it again then microwave for another 2 minutes.
4. Mix the mochi well again. It is ready when it is slightly transparent-like color. Also taste a small piece. If it tastes "flour" or "powder-ish", it is not ready yet, try another 1 minute. (or repeat until it's ready)

5. Spread some potato starch on your hands and on a working table, then place the mochi. Roll it to form a log, then divide into 10. Sprinkle the starch whenever it is sticky.

Up to this stage, it didn't take much time, but then...

Forming Daifuku:
I find it was very hard to form a perfectly evenly round daifuku. I can't explain how to do it. There got to be some tricks. There are professional people who make their living doing this, so this probably requires some practice. There are many websites with the instruction so I will need to do some more study/practice.

Keep the strawberry daifuku refrigerated and consume within the same day, they don't keep well.

The next time when I make this, I think I will try to make my own anko or mix the chestnut puree with white anko. It is probably easier to fold if used rounder strawberries as well. The real strawberry season will come in a few months!!!

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