Snippets Issue 24 : The Japan Issue

Japanese Desserts

More than just sushi!

Japanese Desserts

Each restaurant or genre of food has one dish that sticks out more than the other. Do you want Italian? I don't feel like spaghetti. Do you want Cracker Barrel? I don't want chicken. Do you want Japanese? I don't want sushi.

We all know that along with spaghetti, there is fettucini alfredo, tortellini, ravioli, canneloni, among other delicious Italian dishes. The Cracker Barrel prides themselves in their corn muffins, meatloaf, and mouth-watering fried apples. However, it's rather hard to list other Japanese meals.

Upon a search on the Food Network's website, you will find 9,988 “desserts”, with 0 categorized as Japanese. I Googled until I found this restaurant called Kyotofu in New York City. It's a famous Japanese bakery and dessert shop. They've been honored by the New York Times, Vogue, and Fox News, just to name a few. I knew I wanted to try something modern yet ethnic- and I knew this was it.

Their Spring Dessert Bar menu details a “Warm Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Mochi” with a passion fruit anglaise, sake-mint gelee, and coconut tuile. I looked up half of those words and realized that I had a great challenge ahead of me!

I found recipes for the anglaise, a type of sauce, gelee, a more liquid-y Jell-o, and tuile, a thin cookie. I used store-bought muffins for the cake. I modified the recipes to what I could find in the local grocery store. This is what I ended up with:


(based on recipe from
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Heat cream and vanilla in saucepan until bubbles form around the edge. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly add a little of the hot mixture to the cold, whisking constantly. Then slowly pour the cold into the hot. Cook until mixture will coat the back of a spoon (not even a minute!). Because my recipe contained a lot of chocolate, I thought this component of the recipe would suffice without the passion fruit in the original recipe. If you would like to be more accurate to the original, I would recommend 1/3 cup chopped or pureed passion fruit be added to the pot before the egg yolks.


(based on recipe from Whole Living)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp non-flavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup vodka or sake
  • 1 box Junior Mints

Crush Junior Mints and water in blender. Heat that mixture, vodka/sake, and white sugar, whisking occasionally, until it boils. Remove from heat. Add in gelatin and stir. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight. The gelee I made is considerably darker than the one from Kyotofu because of the chocolate in the Junior Mints. If you don't want a chocolatey sauce, I would recommend using mint jelly instead.

Coconut Tuile

(based on recipe from Epicurious)
  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Bring butter, brown sugar, water, and honey to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in coconut and immediately remove from heat, then let it sit to room temperature (about 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 375*. Spread mixture out on pan to about ¼ inch. Bake for 8-10 minutes. My cookies didn't get hard when I baked them, so I refrigerated them overnight and they had a wonderful texture that wasn't too mushy and didn't hurt my teeth.

It was absolutely delicious! As a very amateur cook, I found this enthralling and self-satisfying! It didn't taste like anything I'd had before, but it put me in the mindset of an upscale cocktail party.

Other Japanese desserts I'd like to try in the future are Daifuku and Sakura Mochi. The ingredients to both recipes are hard to find in a normal grocery store, so I'll have to do some hunting to find them. This article has given me a wonderful learning opportunity and a wonderful bellyful of love. Sayonara!


awh this article should include pictures Tongue the thing you often notice about japanese food is how much thought is put into its presentation. even the most basic of meals, sweets, desserts or lunches are arranged in such a way to create such colourful or beautiful dishes that are almost too good to eat...almost Tongue
When it comes to Japanese deserts Mochi always come to mind for me.

But I know cakes, parfaits and other 'western' desserts are really big in Japan. But they are often less sweet.

Personally I love Japanese sweet bread. Mmmm Anpan!

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