Miso-butterscotch-togarashi mochi ice cream

This recipe was inspired by a dish I tasted during the Spring Break of my freshman year. It was at Hinoki and the Bird, a restaurant in Century City, and the dessert itself, it sounded really gross. I’ve had terrible miso dessert experiences in the past, such as this miso creme brûlée that tasted like spray cheese, so I had really low expectations. But this dessert, with a miso ice cream, fluffy mochi, delicious butterscotch, and fragrant togarashi, it all was a beautiful combination. I really loved it. I would easily put this dessert in the top three best desserts I’ve ever had in my life granted, I’m only 21, so it’s not a LONG life, but still.

I didn’t get the actual restaurant recipe, nor was it shared online, so I decided to try making my own rendition of it. It’s not an 100% perfect replica, but at least the flavor profiles are close to what the Hinoki recipe entails.

 

Makes 16 servings:

Miso Ice Cream:
3 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups rice milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon amemizu or light corn syrup
1/4 cup white or yellow miso paste (white miso works best, but yellow is the easiest to find)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

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In a pot, heat the rice milk and heavy cream. In a bowl, whip the egg yolks, miso, sugar, and amemizu together. Once the milk mixture begins to release steam, gently pour half of it over the egg yolks while whisking. Then pour the egg yolk-dairy mixture back into the pot and continue the tempering process by whisking over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Either churn through an ice cream machine or freeze the ice cream base into a solid block (roughly 6 hours of freezing, or two if you spread the ice cream base onto a shallow sheet tray), and then blend it using a blender or food processor so that it yields a creamy texture. If you are doing that latter, you’ll need to refreeze the ice cream after blending so that it firms properly, another hour. Then scoop the ice cream into small balls and quickly refreeze until they are completely frozen solid. The best way to do this is either with a small ice cream scoop or, a melon baller. Another option is to spread and set the ice cream base in a .3 ounce silicone half-sphere mold. The ice cream will need at least 4 hours to set in the freezer once you portion it.  I highly advise you make, set, and portion the ice cream days in advanced, as it is the most temperamental component.

Mochi:
1 cup mochiko
3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
corn or potato starch to dust
togarashi to garnish

 

 

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In a bowl, combine the mochiko and the water. Set inside of a steamer and steam for 20 minutes. At this point, while the mochi is steaming, gently dust a baking sheet or large plate with the corn or potato starch. In a pan, add in the sugar. Carefully transfer the mochi dough from the bowl to the pan with sugar. Turn the pan on low heat, and slowly mix the two together until the sugar dissolves completely into the dough. Then pour onto the dusted surface, making sure to cover the entire dough with the starch to prevent any sticking.

Butterscotch Sauce:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cups water
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup rice milk

In a pot, add sugars to water. Reduce until it forms into a dark syrup, registering about 350 degrees F; this should take about 10 minutes of cooking on medium-high heat. Once it reaches this stage, take off heat, and add in the butter and cream, whisking vigorously to incorporate. Allow the butterscotch to sit at room temperature so that it’ll cool.

Assembly:
To fill the mochi, divide the dough into 16 even pieces, and roll out one of the pieces into a thin sheet between your fingers. Make sure that the mochi is no warmer than room temperature at this point. Place the ball or half-sphere of ice cream inside of the sheet, and quickly close the mochi around it, pinching the ends together. Quickly transfer these to the freezer as you finish closing each mochi, because the ice cream will most likely melt quickly. Allow the mochi, once filled, to set up for at least one more hour in the freezer.

 

 

For plating, start with a generous helping of the butterscotch at the bottom of a small bowl. Take the mochi and slice in half. Set inside of the butterscotch puddle, and sprinkle with togarashi. Serve immediately.

Alternatively, roll out mochi and cut into disks. Spoon butterscotch into the bottom of the bowl, and top with a scoop of ice cream. Cover scoop in the mochi disks, and top with the togarashi.

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