Japanese Pastries 日本のパン

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Now there is a little bakery near one of my schools whos amazing looking pastries I always end up drooling at as I pass by each morning.
This morning I finally admitted defeat and headed in to purchase a couple if the more interesting looking Danish pastries on offer.

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The first goes by the name of Kinako Denisshu きな粉デニッシュ (Soy Bean Flour Danish). This is a very ‘Japanese’ inspired baked good, including a fusion of Danish and Japanese ingredients, essentially the ingredients are those one might expect to find in mochi! Topped with kinako きな粉 (roasted soy bean flour) granting it its name, the centre is filled with anko あんこ (sweet red bean paste) and cream with 2 small mochi on top. All in all certainly on the delicious side of things ^_^

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The other was a Purin Denisshu プリンデニッシュ (Pudding Danish), Purrin プリン a Japanese word referring being a katakana bastardization of pudding are immensely popular dairy treats in Japan, smooth and creamy they are actually more akin to what most would consider custard. Anyhow basically they have wrapped one of these delicious creamy puddings in a Danish pastry, resulting in a subtly sweet, smooth buttery texture. Another WIN in my books!

Azuki Kinako Shortbread Cookies

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Always having been quite the avid baker, ever since arriving in Japan I have been experimenting with new Japanese flavours and ingredients I either was unable to acquire back home or had never even heard of!

Not just baking but cooking also, over the past 6 months my skills in the kitchen have gone from cooking the most basic of curries to basically anything that might take my fancy if I have the means to google a recipe.

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Here is the recipe to whip up a batch of Azuki 小豆 Kinako 黄粉 Shortbread Cookies that I baked.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup kinako (roasted soybean flour)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250 grams unsalted butter
250 grams azuki (sweet red beans)

Method
1. Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes until fluffy with an electric mixer.
2. Fold flour, kinako, and salt into butter mixture, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. You don’t want to work the dough too much once the flour is added so use a wooden spoon.
3. Fold in azuki paste in a similar fashion.
3. Scoop mixture into a ziplock bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, using a rolling pin roll the dough into a half a cm thick rectangle. Once your done seal the bag, pressing out all the air and freeze for 30 minutes. You may keep the dough in this stage up to two days.
4. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open, discard the bag and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into small rectangles or use a cookie cutter like I did (mine were hearts). Transfer the cookies to a baking sheets and carefully prick each one four times with a fork.
6. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. This recipe makes about 20 cookies.

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Note that if you live outside if Japan/Korea/China kinako and azuki may be hard to come by, but even these can be made from scratch.

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Here’s the finished product, half I dusted with additional kinako flour and the the others served with sweetened Kabocha 南瓜 (Pumpkin) paste.