From Tokyo with Love (for Food)


Apple Rose Tartlets

These tartlets make a cute treat for afternoon tea or a nice present for a friend. They can also be made with pie sheet to save time, and to get a fluffier texture. In that case, roll the pie sheet to a 30 cm long and cut in 1 1/2 cm thick slices. Line the apples on the slices and roll to a rose shape.
I had some almond powder that needed to be used, so I made a tart crust version.

Apple Rose Tartlets (8 pcs)

30 g butter
30 g sugar
1 egg yolk
20 g almond powder
90 g plain flour

Apple filling:
1 middle sized apple
25 g sugar
10 g butter
Cinnamon to taste

1) Make the dough first. Whisk the soft butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture turns white and a bit fluffy.
2) Add the egg yolk little by little while mixing well.
3) Add the flour and almond powder using a sieve, and mix with a spatula. Don’t knead though!
4) Make the dough a one ball, and wrap with cling film. Mold to rectangular shape and let it rest in a fridge at least an hour.
5) Meanwhile make the filling. Wash the apple well, take off the core and cut in half. Cut in 1 mm thin slices vertically.
6) Put the slices in a heat resistant bowl, add sugar, cubed butter and cinnamon to your liking. Put on a cling film and heat in a 600 W microwave for 4 1/2 mins.
7) Mix once and let cool down. When cooled down, move to a sieve to cut the liquid.
8) If you use tartlet tins, spread them with butter. (I was lazy and made them without tins though…)
9) Take the dough out of fridge and cut to 8 pieces. Put a piece of wrap on a table and move one ball of dough on it. Cover with another piece of wrap and roll to 2 mm thin round. Cover the tin with the dough, and picket it with a fork. Repeat for the rest dough.
10) Bake in a 180°C oven for 10 mins.
11) Line 6 slices of apple on the table, partly on each other. Roll to a rose shape. Add layers until they are the size you want.
12) Put the rose on the tartlet, bake another 5 mins.

If you want, you can also add custard cream, but in that case be sure to bake the crust well.


Gratin-style Bread with Autumn Vegetables

Those who have visited a Japanese bread shop know that they are filled with original shaped and flavoured breads. There is roughly speaking 3 categories – sweet kashipan, savoury o-kazupan, and shokupan, bread for daily consuming, meaning white toast-like loaf bread.

Anpan (sweet red bean paste filling bread), kuriimupan (custard filling bread) and melonpan (soft bread topped with crunchy cookie dough) are probably the most known kashipan, but the varieties are many more.

However, most o-kazupan use cheese, mayonnaise, bacon and sausages – sometimes combined with season’s vegetables. So it’s time to get creative!

Gratin-Style Bread with Autumn Vegetables (8 pcs)

200 g plain flour
20 g sugar
4 g dry yeast
20 g egg
100 cc milk
20 g butter
1/2 tsp salt

White sauce:
25 g plain flour
25 g butter
300 cc milk
A hint of white pepper

Vegetables for filling:
1/2 pack of shimeji mushrooms
1 potato
1/4 onion
40 g bacon
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce

For finishing touch:
Some beaten egg
Grated cheese
Dried parsley

1) Make the dough first. Put half of the flour in a bowl, and put sugar and yeast next to each other on it.
2) Put the other half of the flour, salt and cubed butter in another bowl.
3) Pour the egg in the first bowl, but not on the yeast and sugar. Warm the milk to 42°C and pour on the yeast and sugar. Mix well with a wooden spatula.
4) Add the ingredients in the second bowl to the mixture, and mix until the “flourness” is gone.
5) Move the dough to a table, and knead by hand. When the dough comes nicely in shape, roll with both hands like drawing the alphabet V.
6) Move in a bowl, put a wrap on it and let proof in 40°C for 25 mins.
7) Prepare the vegetables next. Peel the potato and onion, cut the potato in bite-size and onion in thin slices vertically. Cut the stalk of the shimeji off, and rip in smaller bunches by hand. Cut the bacon in 1 cm slices.
8) Boil the potato cubes in salted water for 5 mins. Put 1/2 tsp of oil on a frying pan, and fry bacon over medium heat. Add onion slices and fry until they become transparent. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 tsp of soy sauce and mix quickly. When the potatoes are finished, add to the mixture and let cool down.
9) When the dough has become double the original size, push it down to get the excess air out. Move to table and cut in 8 pieces. Shape in balls and let them rest under wrap for 15 mins.
10) Prepare the white sauce. Put flour and butter in a microwave safe bowl (glass bowl is recommended), put a wrap on the bowl and heat in 600 W microwave for 2 mins. Mix well with a whisk.
11) Add 1/3 of the milk mixing well at the same time. Add the rest of the milk, mix and put the wrap on. Heat again on 600 W for 7 mins.
12) Mix well, put the wrap back on and heat another 2 mins 30 s.
13) Mix and add a hint of white pepper for taste. Add also the vegetables prepared in 8).
14) Line up 8 aluminum foil cups (Ø 8cm) on a oven plate. Take one ball of the dough and flatten by hand making a round fitting to the foil cup. Place nicely in foil cup and picket with a fork. Prepare all the rest dough balls in the same way.
15) Fill with the gratin sauce, put the wrap and moist cloth on them, and let proof in 40°C for 30 mins.
16) Brush the dough parts with beaten egg, sprinkle some grated cheese on the top, and bake in a 180°C oven for 13-15 mins.
17) Garnish with parsley and serve for lunch or night snack.

Tarte Tatin with Rice Cooker


If someone asked me what’s my favourite fruit, I would say apple. I mean, I love most fruits, and in the autumn kakis, or Japanese persimmons, are irresistible, but can you think more versatile fruit than an apple? There are many fruits that are sweeter or more exotic than the apple, but the humbleness of the apple gives us almost unlimited variations with cooking or baking.

As a reader of my blog might have noticed, I like to try out new ways of using a rice cooker. Thus when I found a recipe for Tarte Tatin made with a rice cooker, I immediately wanted to try out.

Tarte Tatin with Rice Cooker (3合分)

2 middle sized apples
30 g butter cut in 1 cm cubes
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Tart dough:
15 g butter
35 g almond powder
20 g sugar
2/3 egg
15 g plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
*liquid from the apples

1) Peel the apples and cut them in 4 chunks. Cut out the core with seeds.
2) Wipe some butter to the bowl of the rice cooker, and put half of the butter and sugar (for the filling) in it. Arrange the apple chunks in the bowl so that the round side faces down. Add rest of the butter and sugar, sprinkle lemon juice over the apples, and turn the rice cooker on.
3) Make the tart dough. Melt the butter in the microwave, and let it cool down a bit.
4) Mix almond powder and sugar in a bowl, add egg and mix lightly.
5) Mix flour and baking powder, and add to the dough using a sifter. Mix lightly, but don’t knead. Add the melted butter and mix well.
6) When the rice cooker finishes, pour out the liquid to a separate bowl. Be careful, as the rice cooker bowl is hot! After cooling the liquid down a little bit, mix it to the dough.
7) Check that the apples are neatly at the bottom of the bowl, and crush them lightly to make the surface even. Pour the tart dough on the apples, and turn the rice cooker on again.
8) When finished, turn the bowl over to get the tart out.


Walnut & Fig Hearts

Walnut & Fig Hearts

Although St. Valentine’s Day was last month, I decided to try to make heart shaped rolls. After proofing they aren’t quite as heart shaped as I wanted, but still quite cute. I used walnuts & figs in the filling, but other nuts and chocolate chips can also be used. Even cinnamon rolls could take this shape!

Walnut & Fig Hearts (8 pcs)

200 g plain flour
20 g skim milk
20 g sugar
a hint of salt
3 g dry yeast
30 g of egg lightly beaten
120 g milk
20 g butter (room temperature)

30 g walnuts (roasted)
2-3 dried figs
5 g butter (room temperature)
1 tsp sugar
(a hint of cinnamon)

1) Mix flour and skim milk in a bowl. Put sugar and dry yeast next to each other on one side, and salt on the other side.
2) Mix milk and lightly beaten egg and warm to 40°C in a microwave.
3) Add milk and egg mix to the bowl with flours, and make sure the yeast is mixed well. Knead by hand until the dough comes firm. Add the butter and keep kneading in a stretching manner. When the dough stops sticking to the bowl, make it a seamless ball and cover the bowl with wrap. Let proof in 40°C for 40 mins.
4) Roast walnuts in a oven for around 10 mins, and let cool down a bit. Crush them smaller pieces by hand. Cut the figs the same sized pieces as the nuts with scissors.
5) Take the dough out of the bowl and push it down to let the excessive air out. Make the dough to a ball and cover with wrap. Let rest for 15 mins.
6) Push the dough down again and make into a rectangular by using a rolling pin. Spread the butter over the sheet and sprinkle sugar over it. Sprinkle also roasted walnuts and figs onto the sheet. If you want, you can add some cinnamon for taste.
7) Roll from both side towards the centre so that they meet up in the middle. Use some water to glue them together so that the hearts won’t open while in the oven.
8) Turn the roll 90 degrees upwards so that the the upper part of the heart is towards the wall. Cut to 8 pieces with a dough scraper or a sharp knife.
9) Put on the baking tray and fix the shape. Put on a wrap and moist cloth, and let proof in 40°C for 25 mins.
10) Brush some egg on the hearts (use the leftover from making the dough) and bake in 180°C oven for 15-17 mins.


Macha Twists

Macha Twists

I decided to try new shape for macha bread, and came up with these macha twists. They look almost like lollipops, but are soft and fluffy inside.

Macha Twist (8 pcs)

200g plain flour
1 tbs sugar
a hint of salt
20g melted butter
1 tsp instant yeast
100cc milk
40cc water

For macha dough:
1 tsp boiling water
1 tsp macha (Japanese green tea powder)

1) Mix the flour and instant yeast in a bowl.
2) Put milk and water to an another bowl and warm in the microwave to 42 degrees.
3) Add sugar to the warm liquid and mix. Add the flour and yeast mix little by little.
4) Add melted and cooled down butter, and knead until the dough don’t stick to the bowl anymore.
5) Cut 1/3 of the dough and move to another bowl. Add macha that is mixed well with hot water, and knead until evenly green.
6) Let both doughs proof 20 mins in 40 degrees.
7) Push the excessive air out, and cut both doughs to 8 pieces. Let them rest 10 mins.
8) Start with plain dough and flatten it with a rolling pin to make a circle of ca. 10 cm. Flatten the macha dough too, and put it on the plain dough to make two layers. Roll the doughs to a stick and close the seam well. Then cut the stick in half vertically, leave 2 cm together. Twist the two strips like making a braid, and gather the ends together to make a knot. Do the same to rest of the doughs.
9) Let the twist to proof for 20 min in 40 degrees.
10) Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, then lower the heat to 170 degrees and bake the twists for 12 min. If they seem to get too much colour, you can put a foil on them in the middle of the baking.

If you want to make them sweeter, you can use 2 tbs of sugar, or even put some anko (sweet red ban paste) inside, but I like them as a bit more savory version.


Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes)

Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes)

Hotteok are pancakes that are filled with brown sugar and grounded peanuts & sesame seeds.

Hotteok (5 pcs)

1,5 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbs dry yeast
1/4 cup water (35°C)
1/4 tbs sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tbs roasted & grounded sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbs roasted & grounded peanuts

1) Mix yeast and sugar with warm water.
2) Mix flour and salt in a bowl, add milk and yeast-water mix and knead until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore. Put some wrap on the bowl and let it proof for 2 hours.
3) Mix the ingredients of the filling.
4) Cut the dough in 5 equal sized pieces. Round them with a rolling pin.
5) Take the dough in your hand (using some vegetable oil prevents it to stick to your hand) and put 1 tbs of filling in the middle of the dough.
6) Enclose the filling inside the bun by pulling the ends of the dough. Pinch to close. Noe you should have a round bun.
7) Warm some vegetable oil on the frying pan. Place the bun to the pan seam side down and fry for 10 sec. Turn around and flatten the bun with a paddle (thickness should be around 1 cm). Fry with low heat until both sides have nice colour.


Kabocha anpan

Kabocha anpan

These small buns are filled with sweet pumpkin paste. Kabocha, Japanese pumpkin, is one of my favourite vegetables, as it has a slightly sweet and gentle taste. It can be used both in savory cooking as well in sweets ♪

Kabocha anpan (6 pcs)

200g kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
30g sugar
50cc milk
a hint of salt
10g butter

160g wheat flour
1 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tbs sugar
1 egg
50cc water
a hint of salt
30g butter

1) Start with pumpkin paste. Cut off the green skin of the pumpkin and cut it to small chunks. Warm the chunks in microwave until they are soft. (Depending on your microwave, this may take 4-8 mins) Smash the soft pumpkin with a fork to make even paste.
2) Put the paste in a pot and add sugar, milk and salt. Boil down until you get the thickness you like (I prefer to boil it quite thick, as it is then easier to bake inside the buns.)
3) Add the butter and let the paste cool down.
4) Make the dough. Warm the water to 40 degrees. Melt the butter. Mix flours and yeast in a bowl.
5) Add sugar, salt and egg to the water. Mix well. Add the flour mix and knead until well mixed. Add the butter and knead until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore.
6) Leave the covered dough to a warm place (40 degrees) to proof for 35 mins.
7) When the dough has become 1.5 times the original size, move it to the baking board and punch the excessive air out. Cut in 6 pcs and make them round. Cover and let them rest for 5 mins.
8) Remove the air again and make round flats from the dough. Put around 1 tbs of kabocha-an in the middle of the round and wrap the ends together to make a ball. Put on the oven plate so that the seam becomes in the bottom.
9) Make five cuts with even distance on the bun so that you get balanced flower shaped buns. Let them proof covered in a warm place for 25 mins.
10) If you want, you can glace the buns with an egg and put some pumpkin seeds in the top. Bake in a 190 degrees oven for 13 mins.