We are in the middle of Autumn – Winter transition now. It is getting very cold lately but this chilling weather is the key to the magnificent sights of nature during this season. When the temperature drops the colour of leaves change from green to yellow or it goes even further to orange and then red. It is due to the chemical reaction in leaves. This is called Autumn Colour and can be seen on the leaves of deciduous plants.
‘Autumn Mountain’ Mochi
So, as one of the sweets for November I wanted to create a sweet in Autumn Colour. I want you to imagine all the mountain changing the colour from its deep green to various colour of yellow, orange and red but in a very tiny scale.
It was the time I had to develop sweets for Wasoukan Café (Notting Hill, London) for July. It is a ‘Kimono’ shop with a café counter that the staff serves ‘Matcha’ Green Tea in a Tea Ceremony style and also two types of monthly Japanese sweets. Yes, their sweets are made by me and I have been developing two new Japanese sweets every month for them. The staff told me that they were amazed at the popularity of ‘Mochi’. So I had to decide what kind of Mochi sweet I should deliver to them for this month… I wanted a colour and the flavour which go well with the Mochi texture and considered several possibilities and then an idea came to my mind.
It is a Mochi type of sweet with Purple Sweet Potato Paste. Western people are rather sceptical about the idea of using Sweet Potato as a sweet but in Japan we love to use several root vegetables as sweet and Sweet Potato is one of the most popular ones. It has the natural sweetness and more importantly the flavour goes so well as the Japanese sweet. I saw some BBC program which introduced the reason that many people live a very long healthily life in one area of Japan was due to Purple Sweet Potato. They did not show any scientific evidence to this theory so I am not sure if it is true or not but one thing I can say is we like Purple Sweet Potatoes.
Purple Sweet Potato Mochi
So, here is my Sweet Potato Mochi. It is not just a normal Sweet Potato Mochi but it is a “Purple Sweet Potato Mochi” for this month. 😀
Here’s the thing, I had some Purple Sweet Potato (Ube) and Soy Milk (made by me) at home. I wanted to use them and make something tasty for tea time. I started cooking Purple Sweet Potato into purée and then I came up with the image of soft purple cream oozing out of soft sponge when you put a fork into it … That was the moment I decided to make a ‘Purple Magic Cake with Soy Milk’.
You might be wondering ‘What is a Magic Cake?’ OK, I explain. A Magic Cake is a custardy moist spongy cake made with whipped Egg and quite large quantities of liquid. When you bake it comes out in three layers with a very light spongy top layer, soft and moist middle layer and creamy custardy base layer.
I have put a recipe of a type of Magic Cake almost a year ago on this Blog. That was ‘Sake Soufflé Quiche with Figs & Pine Nuts’ which I received the Second Award in the Sake Cooking Competition with that recipe last year.
My experiment went on ….
Purple Magic Cake with Sweet Potato & Soy Milk
There is a recipe of ‘Yaki-Mnju (焼きまんじゅう) / Baked Manju’ I normally use. That is a Japanese Sweet wrapped with biscuit. It is good. I like it. It is also something that Western people are quite familiar with.
We have a Japanese sweet called ‘Kuri-Manju (栗まんじゅう)’. That is a ‘Yaki-Manju’ with Chestnut ‘Kuri‘ pieces inside and made into a Chestnut shape. The skin of this sweet is slightly different from Western biscuit. It is much smoother and you can make it into some shapes.
This time I made ‘Yaki-Manju’ in the traditional way. I tried making some shapes with different filling.
This one is ‘Kuri-Manju‘ with Chestnuts ‘Kuri’.
Does it look like Chestnut to you?
Instead of using small pieces, I mixed Chestnut in syrup mixing with ‘Shiro-An (白あん)’ and that made the filling looks like a paste.