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Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Addiction: Azuki Matcha Mont Blanc

Being a person with a huge sweet tooth, what reminds me the most of Japanese food is not sushi, not ramen, not udon, and not teriyaki. One flavor combination that screams "JAPAN!" for me is matcha + azuki bean. I am absolutely addicted to this combo and  still can't get enough. Ice cream, mousse cake, bread, I have made them all based on this flavor combo, what more can I make? As I looked for inspirations from my cookbook collection, I stumbled upon one popular Japanese cake: Mont Blanc. No, it's not the pen and no, it's not the mountain either. It is a cake or meringue topped with cream and covered with chestnut cream. I think it was originally a France dessert but it became very popular in Japan, so it also screams "JAPAN!" for me.

Traditionally, Mont Blanc has a meringue as a base and some kind of cream as a filling as I mentioned before. Some pastry chefs have modified the recipe and use different types of cakes and fillings to make Mont Blanc. Since I was craving for matcha + azuki bean, I tried to incorporate this flavor combo in Mont Blanc. What I ended up with was a Mont Blanc with green tea sponge cake as a base, azuki bean cream for the filling, and traditional chestnut puree/ cream for the topping. Voila, here's my Mont Blanc...
I added store-bought roasted chestnut in the middle of the azuki bean cream to make it more interesting, but it made the whole thing difficult to cut with a spoon. Probably next time I'll pipe some chestnut cream instead of putting a whole chestnut inside the cake. Nevertheless, I still smiled satisfactorily when I put the first spoonful into my mouth. The matcha cake worked extremely well with the azuki bean cream as expected and the roasted chestnut along with the chestnut cream further enhanced the eating experience by providing an additional layer of flavor and texture. I loved it!! It became my most favorite matcha + azuki dessert that I had ever made. Hmm.. maybe I can use this flavor combo to make macarons. Note to self, try it next time.

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