...gluten free and sweet. It all started when my husband came back from Japan, I alway ask for some edible souvenirs, so this time I got a bottle of Choya Umeshu (sweet plum sake), soba noodles, umeboshi (pickled plums) and nama choco.
I love nama choco, it finished in no time, the kids loved it too since this was a type without liqueur, so maybe one day I should make it, it is so easy and blogger Nami has a good recipe for it here!
After indulging in this extra cream + extra chocolate treat I decided that it was time for a less sweet and possibly non dairy sweet treat, and I remember that one of my favourite Japanese sweet is the baked sweet potato wagashi. I made something like this before, and I thought that the New Zealand kumara looks like a Japanese potato... but then I ended up with something completely different :-).
First of all kumara are much softer that Japanese sweet potatoes, then I only had an orange kumara at home (the red ones are better because they are white inside). I thought of baking my kumara, as steaming it was going to make it even softer and in the meantime I drunk a bit of Umeshu, and decided to soak a few sultanas in some too. Once my kumara was done I quickly realized that it was going to be far too soft for molding, so I reverted to plan B, i.e. not shaping the sweets by chakin shibori (with a muslin cloth or handkerchief), but simply dropping them on the baking tray with a spoon! For one mashed kumara I added 2 tsp of brown sugar, and then 'dropped' three tablespoons of the mixture on the baking tray. I did the other three adding the sultana soaked in Umeshu, just to make a variation.
I decided against brushing the top with beaten egg yolk, so that this could be also a vegan recipe, and I baked everything at 180°C for about 15 minutes. To look at them I think that these are among the ugliest sweets I have ever made, but they tasted incredibly good, especially the ones with the sultana. I will make them again, but I will also look for some more 'floury' sweet potatoes (not kumara) so if you know where I can get some in Auckland please let me know!
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©