Montag, 3. Oktober 2011

Wagashi: Chestnut Manju - kuri manju

This year I visited a wagashi tutorial and since this time I've been eager to make some more.
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 which I adapted because they used some store bought products as tsubuan and chestnuts in syrup.
Ingredients for Kuri Manju:
190 g flour
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.
peeled chestnuts
I cooked a syrup from 1 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. I added the chestnuts and let them simmer 10 minutes. After a few hours I added a little water and reheated them again until boiling. The other day I added 1/4 cup water and sugar and cooked them again until boiling and syrup became thick. This has to be done 2 days until chestnuts turn somewhat glossy translucent. Quite tricky: some chestnuts were fine, some crumbled, some remained a little too firm. I think it is easier to buy a can.

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.
Baking manjus:
First I made tsubuan balls, than I flattened the balls and wrapped one chestnut in each.
I divided the dough log in 8 pieces and rolled one piece with a rolling pin between cling film layers into a large oval. I set one tsubu an ball (filled with chestnut) on one halve of the oval and covered it with the other.
With the help of the cling film I shaped the whole thing into a chestnut with flat base.

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


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

What a time-consuming and elaborate recipe!!! You must be proud of yourself!

And, three changes of water!? My wife changes the water only once. You must have a very delicate tongue! (laugh)

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Water changes were not my idea. The tea ceremony master told us the more the better for a very fine taste. Preparation time was not that much. If you buy the chestnuts (marron glaces) in a can and also ready made red bean paste the preparation is quite easy (while using cling film). I am going to buy more fresh chestnuts tomorrow and restart the glazing process - hoping for better results. Chestnuts can be stored in syrup for a long time and you can make creme de marron for mont blanc using not good looking / broken batches. I like to eat both and it is a nice gift from the kitchen (Christmas will be soon and we like food related gifts in our family. Time to prepare some).

Sissi hat gesagt…

Kiki, I have heard wagashi is very difficult, but I haven't realised it was that complicated and precise. I think it would be like practicing meditation for such a clumsy and inaccurate person like me. Your wagashi looks delicious. I wish something like this was organised here...

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Wagashi is nothing japanese would make at home because the preparation is very elaborate (remember the series with this girl who had to look after the fermentation of the rice gruel?). But wagashi are so interesting, so very different and you cannot buy them here. I had a one-day tutorial. Way not enough but you learned some basics for "easy" sweets. Making mochi base, beanpaste, baking rice flour crepes, easy manjus. I wish they would provide long term tutorials but wagashi are too "exotic". I had my tutorial by a german-japanese city partnership programme: friendship club. There are club activities as tea ceremony, training on the language, haiku, calligraphy and so on.