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Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Typhoon number 12 is currently trying to decide where or not it wants to plow through the kingdom of peaches and grapes, so while the weather is windy and rainy outside, I am inside thinking of desserts. 🙂

So before coming to Japan, I actually had never eaten a parfait before. I guess they just aren’t a popular dessert where I grew up. Count me among the happily converted though! In Japan, the parfait usually refers to layers of soft serve or scooped ice cream (sometimes both), whipped cream and toppings which range from cornflakes (surprisingly delicious) to custard, coffee jelly, jam or preserves, and fresh fruit piled high in a tall glass.


Recently, the one fancy fancy hotel in my city made the news with their seasonal fruit parfait, so of course we drove up the mountain to try it out. The type of parfait changes every couple months, and we were lucky to be there at the tail end of the the peach season.

I love peaches and there was very nearly a whole peach perced precariously on top of a scoop vanilla bean ice cream. The fresh peach was sweet with just a slight tang, pairing well with the mellow ice cream and the layers of thick custard and whipped cream underneath. About half way through the glass, I was surprised to find a couple layers of tangy peach preserves. I like to think of parfaits as the dessert that becomes more complex as you eat your way down to the bottom of each glass. I will admit, I was wishing for some crunchy cornflakes, but the extra spoonful of preserves at the very bottom was a nice surprise.

Fujiya Fruits Park Hotel@ Yamanashi City, Japan

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I finally went to the Ninja Akasaka restaurant and had a great time. The course dinner I ordered was lovely, but when dessert came out I had to contain a girlish squeal of happiness. ;P

This little frog is actually made of cheesecake!
The body is composed to a creamy lemony cheesecake, and filled with pieces of fresh fruit, and decorated with chocolate. The “lilypad” is a semi-sweet choclate biscuit, and the leaf is well, a leaf. The description was winter themed, so right after i took this photo, our ninja for the evening came by and sprinkled parmesan cheese “snow” over the frog.

It felt a bit wrong digging into this guy…but I finished every last bite!

Ninja Akasaka @ Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan

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Happy 2010! I can’t believe that another year has flown by so quickly. Foodwise, winter usually makes me think of baked goods and thick soups, fresh tea and oatmeal, you know, warming foods to chase away the cold that seeps into my uninsulated apartment and has taken over school hallways. >_<

For some reason, all I can think about today is this perfect skewer of sweet strawberries and grapes, dipped in molten red sugar and left to harden in the winter air of a Pusan street market. Candied fruit seems like an unlikely thing to associate with winter, but they make a regular appearance in Japan and China, as well as South Korea. In Japan, tiny apples and plums covered in hard sugar, or apricots and mikan in soft mizuame pop up at winter festivals on New Year’s Eve. In China, you can find tanghulu , the traditional sugar covered hawthorn fruit and foot long skewers of candied fruit from strawberries to kiwi and bananas, wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

Since the ingredients of a candied fruit skewer are  just fruit, sugar and usually a dash of food coloring, it tastes sweet and fruity…but mostly just sweet. The draw for me is not the flavor so much as it is the texture. The crunch as you bite through the layer of hard sugar into the soft fruit is kind of addicting, and even as you complain that it is too sweet, or that the sugar has stuck in your teeth, you find yourself wanting another skewer the next time you walk past the stall.

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fuusho
I kept passing stalls in China stocked with this slightly creepy looking fruit, trying to work up the courage to try it. It looked like a yellow baby Cthulhu about to leap up and start chewing on my face. It wasn’t until we were about to leave the Kunming airport that I finally bought one. The clerk described it as having the skin of a lemon, but the inner texture of a pear.

The fuusho, or Buddha’s hand citron is actually a kind of citrus, completely pulp and juice less. So the inner flesh of the fruit that the clerk was referring to is actually pith, not unlike the thick white skin of a pomelo, only without the juicy fruit segments within. The outer skin is very fragrant, and gives off a lemony smelling oil, and the white pith is slightly sweet and chewy. I think I would not eat this again in raw form, but I’m thinking it would be pretty tasty candied in strips or grated into a marinade.

While the Buddha’s hand citron isn’t on my list of favorite fruits, it does top my list of fruits most likely to appear in a horror movie, or scare small children.

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Acai Parfait: Acai berry sauce topped yogurt and fresh fruit.

Royal Host@ Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan

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strawberry kiwi fruit tart
My new favorite way to use fresh fruit in season. Sweet but still very light and refreshing.
I didn’t have a proper tart tin, so I used a 15cm pie dish.
Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Tart
Pastry:

  • 200g all purpose flour
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg (beaten)

Filling:

  • 100g cream cheese (softened at room temp.)
  • 80 ml heavy cream
  • 30g confectioner’s sugar
  • a dash of vanilla essence
  • 15ml lemon juice

Fruit(really, you can use any fresh fruit that you like):

  • 2 kiwi fruits (peeled and sliced)
  • 8 medium strawberries (hulled and sliced)
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • a pinch of granulated sugar

—-
Pastry:
1.Sift together flour and brown sugar into a medium bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and use a fork or potato masher to combine into flour and sugar until the butter is in small crumbs.
2. Beat 1 egg and add to flour, butter, sugar mixture. Mix.
3. The mixture should be a little moist. You should be able to press the crumbs together to make a dough. If it starts to feel very greasy, refrigerate until it is firm again.
4. Roll out dough to about a centimeter thick, and press into pie pan. Line the top of the tart shell with aluminum foil and place dried beans or a heavy bake dish around the same size as the interior of the pie dish in the center to weigh down the shell. Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Bake for 10-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove foil and beans/bake ware.
5. Thoroughly chill tart shell in the refrigerator.

Filling:
1. Using a fork, mix the softened cream cheese, lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
2. Use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese mixture and gradually add in heavy cream.
3. Mix until the filling is soft and smooth.
4. Using a spatula, fill the chilled tart shell and set aside.

Fruit:
1. Gently toss strawberries in lemon juice and granulated sugar.
2. Arrange kiwi slices and strawberries however you like on the top of the tart.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Strawberry Young

Strawberry Young (苺ヤング): Layers of vanilla soft serve, strawberry ice cream, cornflakes, fruit and whipped cream. The sheer amount of ice cream sent me into a dairy coma.

Mascot @ Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi, Japan

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