The Art of Japanese Desserts

January 04, 2024

What could be more beautiful than Japanese desserts and sweets? Much like the French, the Japanese show a passion for baking and confectionery as a form of art, which isn't surprising seeing how much attention to detail is placed in the making of other Japanese foods such as sushi and bento! The Japanese make food with their heart, soul and all of their skill in it. So you won't find anything quite like a British bread and butter pudding in Japanese cuisine!
Instead the Japanese use baking methods that we might find quite complicated, with the use of special ingredients and techniques that require practice to perfect
Those techniques are evident in the making of mochi or Japanese cheesecakes, which are a completely different texture to our own. 


Mochi is a sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice that has been pounded into a smooth and chewy texture. It's commonly enjoyed on its own or filled with sweet fillings such as red bean paste, ice cream, or fruit! 
Warabu Mochi -  Warabi mochi is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch. It has a unique chewy texture and is often dusted with kinako (roasted soybean flour) and drizzled with kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup).


The Japanese also have a long tradition of making small, decorative sweets which are called wagashi. These are often served alongside tea, as a small snack. They can be highly decorative, and employ a number of techniques and ingredients. Some are made with bean paste or azuki beans, and many are made with jelly and fruit and vegetable pastes, including sweet potato! 


A popular Japanese confection that consists of two fluffy, pancake-like patties filled with a sweet filling, typically red bean paste (anko). The name "dorayaki" is derived from the Japanese words "dora" (meaning "gong") and "yaki" (meaning "grilled" or "cooked"), as the original dorayaki was cooked over an open flame like a gong.


Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake often filled with sweet fillings like red bean paste, custard, chocolate, or even savoury fillings like cheese or sausage. Taiyaki is often enjoyed as a street food or as a snack in Japan. It's a favourite among locals and tourists alike due to its delightful combination of flavours, textures, and the novelty of its fish-shaped design! 


Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese dessert that consists of various components like agar jelly cubes, sweet bean paste, fruit, mochi (chewy rice cakes), and sometimes ice cream, all served in a bowl or dish with a sweet syrup called mitsu poured over it. 

 Matcha Sweets

Matcha, finely powdered green tea, is a popular flavour in Japanese desserts. You'll find it in matcha-flavoured cakes, cookies, ice cream, and even traditional tea ceremonies. Matcha has gained popularity not only for its unique flavour but also for its potential health benefits and cultural significance.


Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert topped with flavoured syrups. It's especially popular during the hot summer months and comes in various flavours, including fruit and matcha!  


Yokan is a dense, jelly-like dessert made from red bean paste, agar, and sugar. It can be served in slices and has a range of flavours and variations. Yokan can vary in sweetness and flavor intensity, with some versions being more subtle and others having a stronger taste of red bean. It's a popular treat in Japan, often enjoyed as a dessert or snack!


Kinton, also known as "Kinton Yose" or "Kinton Yaki," is a traditional Japanese dish that features a mixture of mashed sweet potatoes or chestnuts, sugar, and sometimes other ingredients. The mixture is typically sweetened and often shaped into various forms before being cooked or toasted. 


Monaka is a traditional Japanese confection that consists of a thin, crisp wafer shell filled with a sweet filling, often made from red bean paste (anko) or other flavoured fillings. The wafer shells are typically made from rice flour and have a delicate and light texture and are usually pressed into beautiful designs and shapes!


Kuzumochi is a chilled dessert made from kuzuko (kudzu starch), which gives it a delicate, jelly-like texture. It's often served with kinako and kuromitsu.

It's evident if you want to be a Japanese chef, you also need to be an artist!
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