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Matcha tea mousse pies and Japan in our minds

>> Monday, March 21, 2011

Image from Wikimedia Commons

No matter how hard we try to plan our lives, they can always be disrupted. And nature is unpredictable. I would have preferred not to have any reason to make this recipe, but Japan is in everybody's mind these days. So in remembrance of the Japanese people I have prepared this simple recipe for little mousse pies. These sweets have the subtlety of flavors so common in Japanese cuisine and are relatively easy to make, and furthermore eye-catching. The post header image is a painting by Japanese painter and engraver Hokusai, of the Edo period, executed between 1830 and 1833, and it is called... tsunami. This artist deserves to be as famous as Van Gogh, at least, but we Westerners are pretty ethnocentric... I love this painting since I was a child because this type of painting unmistakably reminds me of... Tintin books. They are obviously inspired by that art style, just take a look at the next picture. And Tintin stories have always been among my favorite readings.

Image from this blog

Before I give you the recipe, I just want to remind you that there are various charities where you can contribute to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief, like the Japanese Red Cross, or even one of those bakesales for Japan that are being organized here and there.

In Spain, a Japanese girl called Makiko and living in Madrid has set up a blog to ask for people to contribute by making an origami crane. The blog is called 1000 grullas por Japón, meaning 1000 cranes for Japan. It is a Japanese tradition to make 1000 origami cranes when you want to make a wish come true. This is my crane:


Once you have your crane, you have to take a picture and send it to Makiko. She will gather all the crane photos and send them to her family and friends in Japan. I found it is a beautiful initiative.

For the matcha tea mousse I have used the recipe I used for this cake, just remember to whip the cream only to soft peaks, so that the mousse is fluid enough to fill all gaps and render a smooth and marvelous little pie. I happen to have a wonderful set of silicone bombe molds, like the ones depicted here, perfect to make these little pies. Oh, and I also recommend that, as in this case the slightly bitter taste of matcha tea mousse is not offset by the same amount of other sweeter mousse, better increase the amount of sugar from 40g to 60g. For the coulis jelly layer I used strawberries, which can already be found in stores.

Matcha tea sweets 1

Matcha tea mousse pies
For the cake base:
  • 100g uncooked marzipan
  • 90g egg (I used 2 medium eggs, which is slightly more than that)
  • 25g butter
  • 30g AP flour
  • 1g baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Weigh the flour and the baking powder, sieve them together and set aside.
  3. Heat the marzipan to 50ºC in the microwave oven. Put it in a bowl and mix with the egg. Whip with a mixer till white and fluffy.
  4. Melt the butter; add it little by little to the marzipan mixture while whipping.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Carefully spread the batter on an oven tray lined with parchment paper, with and offset spatula or something similar, as the batter layer needs to be quite thin. Bake for 6 minutes or till browned at the edges. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool on the paper.
Then prepare the tea mousse as per this recipe (please remember to add 60g of sugar instead of 40g) then pour the mousse in the molds, leave room on top to add the strawberry jelly later (the cake circle can be put on top, there is no need to fit it into the mold). Leave the mousse to set in the fridge.

Matcha tea sweets 2

For the strawberry jelly:
  • 80g strawberries
  • 1 sheet gelatin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 100ml water
  1. Put the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water to hydrate as per the manufacturer's instructions. 
  2. In the meantime process the strawberries and heat the resulting puree in a saucepan; add the water little by little if it is too thick. Sieve the puree to eliminate the seeds. Then bring it to boiling point again and add the gelatin. 
  3. When the gelatin is dissolved, turn the heat off and leave to cool. 
Matcha tea sweets 3

To put everything together:
  1. When the jelly is at ambient, pour it on the set mousse portions. Take it to the fridge again for the strawberry jelly to set.
  2. Use a pastry ring or large cutter to cut circles off the cake of the same size as the mousse in the molds (I am lucky enough to have a pastry ring of the same size as my bombe molds), then carefully lay them on top of each little pie.
  3. When the pies are thoroughly cold, take them to the icebox, so that they can be easily unmolded without ruining them. When completely frozen, get them out of the molds and wait until thawed. You can leave them to thaw in the fridge.
Matcha tea sweets 4

Of course this mousse can also be used to fill small pastry rings or tiny tart rings, or even use it all in one cake for a layer. It is also good in small glasses, perhaps placing the cake crumbled at the bottom and the mousse on top. Mousses are very versatile, we all know. The recipe amounts are not very balanced, because the mousse was enough for my six bombe molds of about 7cm diameter and a layer for a 20cm cake, while the marzipan cake was just a little over the amount necessary for the 6 circles and for the jelly I had to increase the quantities a little (all changes already reflected in the amounts I am giving). I love mousse desserts, they are light and beautiful. In addition, this mousse in particular is not very sweet and you eat it without hardly noticing...

18 comentarios:

Marlene March 21, 2011 at 8:32 PM  

I think I will join in the crane project. Thank you for mentioning it.

The matcha tea cakes are beautiful. I will have to get some guts and patience to try this.

Asha March 22, 2011 at 3:07 AM  

Ah! origami to bring peace. what a wonderful idea!

And the mousse is stunning!!!

Pretend Chef March 22, 2011 at 1:53 PM  

Love the idea of the crane project and will need to check it out. These mousse pies look beautiful. I have never had anything like this before. Would love to give it a try sometime.

Alina March 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM  

I have heard of this beautiful tradition of making origami cranes when you want a wish to come true. It´s so beautiful. I've always liked Hokusai as well.
The mini pies you made look so petite and neat!
Hope the tsunami in Japan won't be back for many years...

CarinE March 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

May God bless them...
May their wonderful culture be continued forever...
p/s: your mousse pie looks divine and delicious. I love green stuff. hehe

Maria March 22, 2011 at 6:56 PM  

We have been so shocked by the devastation in Japan. It's truly heartbreaking!

These looks absolutely perfect! Like work of art!

Spicie Foodie March 23, 2011 at 2:38 AM  

Miriam this is a beautiful post. My heart breaks for the people of Japan. So many have been touched and are trying to help get the word out about raising money. I will look at Makiko's blog, it's a beautiful idea.
Your Matcha mousse pies look amazing. But it's no surprise coming from you:)

Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul March 23, 2011 at 8:06 AM  

Lovely crane and mousse pies. They're so unique!
My prayers go to those affected in Japan.

Junglefrog March 23, 2011 at 3:03 PM  

Beautiful matcha mousse Miriam and I love the crane project!

Lora March 25, 2011 at 9:25 AM  

These cakes are just gorgeous! The cranes are such a lovely way to honor the people of Japan. Your cakes and the cranes are both spots of beauty in the face of this terrible tragedy. Bravo!

Deeba PAB March 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

I think this is your most beautiful post yet Miriam...touching, evocative and elegant. Have started the lad on making an origami crane for Makiko. Hopefully will have that sent tomorrow. Your mousse pies are STUNNING. {Must get some silicon moulds.}

Jamie March 29, 2011 at 10:46 AM  

A beautiful, heart-felt post and a lovely gesture for Japan. And these mousse cakes are gorgeous, just gorgeous!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris March 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM  

Realmente refinadas, delicadas..Me encantaron! No habia pensando en esas imagenes de Tintin, pero son perfectas!

Cristina March 30, 2011 at 6:21 PM  

Miriam: That is a beautiful, heartfelt and symbolic initiative by Makiko. Nice job on your origami crane =)

I've been wanting to make something again with matcha...I luv using it in baked goods. Your petite mousse pies turned out so pretty...the texture looks spongy. A gorgeous and tasty offering.

Catalina April 1, 2011 at 5:15 PM  

I haven't used/tasted matcha powder yet but I'm pretty excited to do so. Your pies look so perfect and professional!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen April 2, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

Such a thoughtful idea Miriam! This look perfect. Never made or had anything like it!

Ashley April 7, 2011 at 4:54 PM  

Those look delicious and the crane is beautiful.

Just wanted to comment briefly on your remark regarding Western ethnocentricity:
"This artist deserves to be as famous as Van Gogh, at least, but we Westerners are pretty ethnocentric..."

I would not be surprised to find that Hokusai is more famous than Van Gogh in Japan. Almost everyone tends to be ethnocentric to an extent. An author who is famous in Cameroon may be unheard of in India. Someone who is a celebrity in one region may be completely overlooked in another. This is not something that's specific to "us Westerners". It's a natural part of enculturation in any society.

Anonymous November 30, 2011 at 1:11 PM  

Look delicious! I love Matcha !.

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