I made strawberry daifuku quite often this summer, but now it is autumn and there are fresh chestnuts available. I decided to test a new recipe on chestnut manju.
I have made manjus before from shiroan - white bean paste as outer dough for covering and koshian (fine sieved red bean paste without husks) as stuffing shaped as momo (peach) or usagi (rabbit). But I am not that big fan of shiroan covering. The manjus get wet really quickly and therefore have to be eaten the same day.
I found some interesting pictures of wagashi in the internet and there was some called kuri manju made from cookie dough (hurray!!!) as covering and tsubuan-chestnut stuffing.
So I did some more research and found one recipe at japaneseabout.com which I adapted because they used some store bought products as tsubuan and chestnuts in syrup.
Ingredients for Kuri Manju:
70 g brown sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g soft butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chestnut syrup
1 1/2 cup tsubuan (about 100 g dried azuki beans, 100 g sugar)
12 chestnuts in syrup (fresh chestnuts, water and 1 cup sugar)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon mirin
I made my own tsubuan (red bean paste with soft beans) and I cooked chestnuts in syrup. I don't know where to buy these but the recipes always call for these.
First I peeled the chestnuts with a sharp knife (only the dark brown outer skin) and cooked the chestnuts for 3 minutes in boiling water.
I turned of the heat and peeled the inner skin off from one chestnut after the other (keep unpeeled chestnuts in hot water). This is a job for people with heatproof fingers.
|chestnuts in syrup|
I soaked a cup of washed azuki beans in water over night. I rinsed the beans in water and heated them up in the double amount of water until the water was boiling. I rinsed them again and started the boiling with fresh water again. I did this 3 times. The reason? There are some bitter tasting elements in the bean husk which will influence the taste of the bean paste. Some like it, I don't.
Afterwards I cooked the beans on lower heat covered with a lid about 1 hour. Cooking time depends on the beans. The beans are ready when they can be squeezed and mashed between two fingers. I saved 1/2 cup beans and cooked the others 10 minutes longer.
I pushed the longer cooked beans through a fine mashed sieve (some put them in a blender and make a paste from beans with pureed bean husks, but I don't like the taste of this paste) and dried the paste in a linnen cloth by squeezing out excess cooking liquid. Now I got 1/2 cup soft beans and 3/4 cup fine koshian (bean paste without husks).
I gave both back into the pot along with a 2/3 cup sugar. I cooked the paste until the sugar has been disolved - starting to caramalize a bit, and the paste became glossy. You have to stir the paste with a wooden spatule quite often, while scraping the bottom of the pot or it will stick and burn, but it is important to roast it a little for the better taste.
I stored the paste in a plastic container and let it cool in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Kneat flour, baking powder, sugar and butter and egg yolk together until smooth. Built a log, wrap with cling film and let rest for 30 minutes.
First I made tsubuan balls, than I flattened the balls and wrapped one chestnut in each.
I cut off the exess dough and made sure the dough covering was closed around the bean paste. I did this as long as I had tsubuan and dough, kneading together excess dough for two more manju coverings. I set up the baking pan with duration baking foil, and placed the manjus. I mixed mirin, egg yolk and one teaspoon chestnut syrup and brushed the manjus. I baked the manjus about 18 minutes.
|I tried to colour it proper|
And that is how it looks inside (the chestnut had a hidden inner peel)
|Manju cut in halves|