It’s always interesting to see the reactions when I describe Japanese dessert ingredients to someone who’s never had them before. Matcha is easy enough to describe, but mochi is a little harder. (Think of a cross between cookie dough and gummy bears, with a much milder flavor.) The biggest shock, however, often comes when I explain that we eat beans for dessert.
Yep, you read that right.
Azuki is the Japanese word for the red mung bean, a kind of red bean that is frequently used for Asian baking. These beans are cooked and mashed with a touch of sugar or honey, turning into a thick paste called anko. The sweet, mildly nutty flavor is perfect for filling pastries or rounding out any other favorite treats! (Seriously, try making a smoothie or a milkshake with this!)
Azuki takes a long time to cook from its dry state, but thankfully, you can find canned azuki paste in your local Asian market. A little bit goes a long way in recipes like these Azuki Croissants. The flaky, buttery Homemade Puff Pastry provides the perfect vessel for the sweet paste. If you have the pastry ready to go, this recipe comes together very quickly for a unique treat everyone will love!
Homemade Puff Pastry (or a can of your favorite refrigerated croissant dough)
1/2 cup azuki paste
2 TBSP heavy cream
2 TBSP turbinado sugar
Preheat the oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with foil. Roll out the pastry dough into a rectangle, and spread the azuki paste evenly over the dough. Cut into 8 triangles, and roll from the base to the narrowest tip. Brush with a thin layer of heavy cream, and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar just before putting the croissants in the oven.
Bake at 400F for 24-27 minutes, until evenly golden brown. (The azuki paste may look a little dark when finished, but that is perfectly normal.) Remove from the pan, and serve warm. These keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.