Today, I will be making “Sakura Sweets”. In another words, Japanese traditional steamed white bean paste cake.
This is a kind of my creation of cherry blossom season.
Matcha layer represents tender spring green, yellow layer represents gentle sunshine and Sakura layer represents the falling cherry blossom petals. We are so obsessed by cherry blossom! We enjoy not only the view, but also taste it.
Traditional Japanese sweets are called “Wagashi”.
“Wagashi” is all about bean paste aka “Anko”.
There are two different kinds of bean paste we use in Wagashi making. One is “Azuki”red bean paste, the other is “White”.
We use the white “Shiro An”today.
I have shown how to make red bean paste from scratch in “Sakura mochi” video.
I make my recipe simple by using canned white kidney beans. I believe you can easily access the product wherever you are.
Technically, we use another kind of beans for white bean paste, but there is no significant difference.
Let’s get started!
★How to make Sakura Sweets★
Line two pieces of parchment paper to 15×15cm square mold. Place it in a bamboo steamer.
＜White bean paste＞
Two cans white kidney beans(14oz can)
220~250g granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
＜Sakura An＞Cherry blossom flavored white bean paste
130ｇ White bean paste
5 Sakura leaves : minced
A drop of red food coloring
- Transfer the beans to a pot and simmer for 10 minutes until really soft.
- When the beans easily mushed with your finger, it’s ready to proceed. Drain into a sieve set in a large bowl. Pass through the sieve to remove the skin. I find that the rice paddle makes this procedure much The small bit on the surface prevent rice from sticking, mash the beans so efficiently!
- Splash some more water to wash out all the starch.
- Pour water over the edge of the bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes until all the starch sink to the bottom.
- Pour out the water of the surface and pour fresh cold water again.Set aside for 10 minutes again. Repeat the process.
- Change the water 3 to 4 times and when the water clear, drain out to the cheese cloth. Squeeze water out as much as you can. This is called as “Nama-an” the genuine bean paste. Transfer Namaan to a heavy bottom pot, and add sugar the 60% of the weight.
- Cook on medium heat stirring constantly. When the white bean paste look shiny and reduce just a little bit, and you see the bottom of the pan like this, it is done.And you see the streaks on the bottom of the pan when you run the spatula, it’s done.
- Transfer onto parchment lined tray in small batches to release the temperature. Leave it until comes to room temperature.Meanwhile, let me introduce very unique Japanese ingredients.・・・ The first one is “Cherry blossom preserved in salt”. Rinse the salt off by changing the water several times. Soak in water for about 10 minutes to remove saltiness. We use this for garnishing the cake.・・・The second is “salted Cherry leaves”. Rinse in water and soak in water for about 10 minutes to remove saltiness as we do to cherry blossom. The leaves add unique aroma to the cake. What we call “Sakura flavor” is from leaves, not from the flower.Cut off the veins and coarsely chop.
Here is how to use.To make Sakura-an, mix white bean paste and minced leaves well and tint with a tiny amount of red food color.
Move on to the next step.
＜Steamed white bean paste cake＞
200ｇ white bean paste
2 large eggs
50g (1.8 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 tablespoon matcha
1/2 boiling water
Sweetened Japanese black beans ※optional
1.Pass through the matcha-powder through a sieve and dissolve in hot water.
2.Mix 200g (7oz) white bean paste and egg yolks well in a large bowl.
3.Add shifted flour and rice flour and mix well.
4.Take out 1/3 of the paste to medium-size bowl. It’s about 90g. Set aside.
5.Add matcha paste to a large bowl, and mix until well combined. Set aside while making meringue.
6.Start whisking on low. When all the egg white becomes form, add a half of the sugar. Whisk on low and dissolve the sugar. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk to dissolve the sugar.
7.When all the sugar dissolved, beat the egg on high until soft peaks forms. Leave one-third of the meringue.
8.Add one scoop of the meringue to matcha batter and mix well. Add a half of the rest of the meringue, and fold in. Add the rest of the meringue and mix just to combine.
9.Scoop the batter and drop into the prepared mold. Flatten the surface and drop black beans on top. Steam on high heat for ten minutes, turn the heat to medium, and cook another 5 minutes.
10.Meanwhile, shape the sakura-an into 15 by 15 cm(6 inches) square. Place sakura-an on a piece of plastic wrap, and cover with another piece of plastic. Roll out and set aside.
11.Mix the rest of the meringue to yellow batter in two times, as we did to the matcha batter.
12.Place the sakura-an on top of the matcha layer. Be careful not to burn yourself. Transfer yellow batter onto the sakura-an, and flatten the surface. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes, turn the heat to medium, cook another 5 minutes.
When you touch the center of the cake, and it’s bounce back, it cooked.
Take out and let it cool to room temperature.
Cut off the edges, and cut into two.
Slice into half an inch, and garnish with sakura leaves and petals.
I like to enjoy this wagashi with matcha cappccino.
Just like a spiring in my mouse! The aroma of the sakura leaves passing through my nose. The saltiness from the leaves enhances the sweetness of the cake and the Sakura-an. Sakura flavored white bean paste. The texture is like densed sponge cake with a hint of saltiness. Give it a try!