September 23, 2012

kabocha custard

With fall colors almost on full display here in the Berkshires, I can't help but contemplate on ways to capture the season's bounty—in desserts, of course. 

One of the first ingredients that come to mind is kabocha. This type of winter squash, also known as Hokkaido squash, is very popular because of its natural sweetness. Just steamed with a pinch of salt, it tastes like dessert.

My love for kabocha is biased as I am a native of Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, where this sweet vegetable originated.

The mellow sweetness and the melt-in-your-mouth texture of this dessert instantly take me back to home. Anything with kabocha is the ultimate comfort food for me. Yum.

Kabocha Custard
makes 4 servings in 4-oz cups

1/2 medium Kabocha squash (about 1 1/2 lbs), seeded and cut into bite size pieces
Sea salt
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup soy milk

1 TBS agar flakes, soaked for 10 minutes in a pot with 1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBS brown rice syrup, mixed with 2 tsp water

Cashew cream (optional) (You can find the recipe here.)

  1. Place the Kabocha squash in a steamer with hot water and sprinkle some salt. Steam for 10 to 15 minutes, until a skewer easily pierces the skin. Let cool and remove the skin (reserve some for garnish).
  2. Let the pot of water and agar flakes come to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the flakes completely dissolve. 
  3. Place the squash and brown rice syrup in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add soymilk and process again. Transfer to a pot and warm it up on medium flame. 
  4. Add the mixture of water and agar flakes and stir well. 
  5. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Add vanilla extract. 
  6. Ladle the mixture into four cups. Let it cool to set. Pour the sauce made with brown rice syrup diluted with water. Garnish with cashew cream and squash skin.

This one on the right is garnished with some cooked pears and a kanten (jelly) made with the green skin of the kabocha squash. Roasted pumpkin seeds make another good garnish as it ties into the pumpkin/fall theme.

Like what you see here? Want more dessert recipes? Why not get a copy of THE PEACEFUL DESSERT BOOK, a recipe book filled with refined sugar free, vegan delights?

The kabocha mont blanc (photo on the left) in the book is guaranteed to knock your socks off!!

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