Sakura Parfait

I love Japanese styled parfait. American parfaits tend to just be fruit, yogurt, and granola, and while that’s all fine and dandy, Japanese parfaits just beat their American counterparts by a landslide. They usually contain cookies, ice cream, cream, jellies, fruit, cake, just everything unhealthy for you, but in one tall glass, and decoratively arranged. It’s honestly a artform. I wanted to make my own take on a parfait, using cherry blossoms as my inspiration, in honor of 花見(Hanami or flower viewing), a time of the year when cherry blossoms or sakura bloom to commemorate the start of new beginnings. For this parfait, we have cherry blossom and ruby chocolate ice cream, a cherry blossom gelee, ruby chocolate tuiles, shiratama dango(soft poached mochi), and fresh cream to top it all off. This would be a parfait I would be glad to order(and be shamed and judged by the waitstaff for ordering because apparently parfaits are considered a “girly” thing and it is frowned upon for men to order them in Japanese culture, which I find to be some hot bullshit).

For the ice cream:
1 cup soy milk
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 salted cherry blossoms
4oz ruby chocolate
1 teaspoon pitaya powder

In a pot, whisk the soy milk, sugar, and cornstarch together on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. You do not want this to reach the consistency of pudding, though if you do, just thin out the mixture with more soy milk. Transfer to a blender and puree with the other ingredients. Chill the ice cream base down before churning for 20 minutes. Transfer into silicone half sphere molds and freeze until firm, at least another hour.

For the tuiles:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon activated charcoal powder
a pinch of salt
1 egg white
2 tablespoons canola oil
4oz ruby chocolate
1/4 teaspoon finely grated cocoa butter

Mix all of the ingredients but the ruby chocolate and cocoa butter together to form your tuile batter. Either pipe the batter into branch shapes or use a Pavoni bonsai mold. Bake the tuiles at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow the tuiles to cool down partially before attempting to unmold them. For the ruby chocolate, heat it up over a double boiler with the cocoa butter until half-melted. Take off heat and stir until the remaining chocolate melts. Continue to stir until the ruby chocolate reaches about 88 degrees F. Pour onto acetate and chill down for 1 minute. Then cut out cherry blossom shapes and return to the refrigerator for another 10 minutes. Melt down the scrap pieces and either make more cherry blossoms or transfer the melted scraps into a piping bag. Over a nonstick surface or acetate, the melted chocolate onto the tuiles and place on the cherry blossom cutouts. Freeze for at least 5 minutes before unmolding and attempting to use. Otherwise keep in the freezer.

For the gelee:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons agar agar
1/2 teaspoon pitaya powder
5 salted cherry blossoms, stems removed and petals separated

Bring water, sugar, and agar to a simmer. Once everything is dissolved, mix in the other ingredients, preferably off heat to guarantee that they don’t change in color. Pour into a shallow nonstick surface and freeze for at least 15 minutes. Cut into smaller cubes and keep the gelee refrigerated.

For the shiratama dango:
1/4 cup shiratamako
2 tablespoons mochiko
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt from the salted cherry blossoms

Mix together to form a dough. Divide into 18 pieces and roll each out into a smooth ball. Press the back of a chopstick into each ball(this will allow your dango to cook faster). Boil in water for about 4 minutes. The dango should begin to float and expand. Store in an airtight container with cold water.

For the cherry blossom cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt from the salted cherry blossoms
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer into a piping bag and refrigerate.

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