Today, Dula Notes turns 3 and I just can’t believe it. Possibly like the way a mother cannot believe how quickly their sleepy bundle turns into an active toddler with a little personality. I started this blog on St. Patrick’s Day of all days and I was and still am, just a girl learning new things about her camera and the kitchen every day. Thank you for stopping by this little space and seeing what I’m up to. Your comments make me smile and blush and I appreciate every one of you. Your kindness blows me away. I love you little lurkers, too.
I usually do not post on Saturdays, but I have to commemorate this occasion in some way and do it with a bang. Azuki bean ice cream, anyone?
Last Saturday, I tweeted that I was making ice cream and Jess of La Domestique asked which kind I was making. I responded with “Red bean!” to which I received a “Say what?” back. I defer to Jess’ vast knowledge of ingredients and techniques and didn’t imagine this would be new to her. However, I am more than happy to be a red bean ambassador and introduce it to those of you that don’t know about it.
Red bean paste originates from China, but is prominent in Japanese sweets. I first had red bean mochi at my favorite sushi place. If you’ve never had ice cream mochi, it is creamy ice cream surrounded by a chewy, sweet rice flour paste. It took a minute to get used to the texture of mochi, but now it is one of my favorite treats. You can get green tea mochi at Trader Joe’s and I absolutely love those bite-size wonders, but they don’t offer red bean! That’s when a girl has to make her own.
You can buy red bean paste at the store, but I’ve heard it’s very sweet and I liked the idea of controlling the sweetness. I smashed together a couple of recipes and decided to use Jeni’s sweet cream base for the ice cream and stirred in the red bean paste at the end. I am so pleased with the results. The mashed beans form a candy-like crunch when frozen in the ice cream that reminds me a bit of Boston baked beans. The ice cream takes on the prettiest natural pink hue. Food coloring schmood coloring. Give it a try and tell people you’re making bean ice cream! Share it and make new friends.
Recipe: Japanese Azuki Bean Ice Cream
Sweet Azuki Paste
1/2 C. azuki beans
1 1/2 C. water
1/3 C. granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
1. Look over beans and pick out any debris. Rinse and then cover with an inch of cold water in a medium pot with a lid. Over high heat bring the beans to a boil and then drain, discarding the water.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the pot with the parboiled beans. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the azuki beans are soft, stirring every so often. Watch to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate and add a bit of water if it does. The water should be almost completely absorbed at the end of the cooking time.
3. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and stir. Use a potato masher or mash with a fork pressing against the sides of the pot, until you come to your preferred consistency. I liked a mostly mashed consistency with a few whole beans remaining. Makes about one cup of azuki paste.
2 C. whole natural milk
4 t. cornstarch
1 1/4 C. heavy cream
2/3 C. sugar
2 T. light corn syrup
1/4 t. sea salt
3 T. cream cheese, softened
1 C. prepared azuki paste (recipe above)
1. In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the whole milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside. Put the container you are using to store your ice cream in the freezer to chill.
2. In a medium pot or saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes and then stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2-4 minutes.
3. Place softened cream cheese in a bowl and whisk a little until smooth. Pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture and whisk until combined. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture.
4. To a large bowl, fill with ice cubes and some cold water. Pour ice cream mixture into a plastic bag, seal, and submerge in the bowl of ice water until chilled; about 30 minutes.
5. When ice cream mixture is chilled, pour mixture into your ice cream maker and continue according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment and I processed for about 20 minutes and added one cup of the azuki bean paste to the ice cream and then processed for another 5 minutes.
6. Remove ice cream container from the freezer and fill with ice cream. Freeze until set. If chilled overnight, take ice cream out about 15 minutes before you plan to eat for easier scooping.