My husband and I have a deal: I make most of the food throughout the year, and I get to choose whatever I want for my birthday dessert and he’ll make it. Whatever I want! He’s so sweet for doing this for me. And, he’s always happy to take on whatever challenge I throw his way.
Last year I requested the Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake (way too much work!). In 2010 I requested Lemon Cloud Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce (this one still makes my favorites list, and this is the caramel sauce I make when I want some caramel for anything else). I also posted a super-quick version of the Lemon Cloud Tart with Caramel Sauce.
This year, I wanted something different. Something tasty. Something unusual. I’ve done the chocolate desserts before. I’ve done lemon. (And, lemon is my favorite!) So, I looked at some recipes, and then I eventually went to my Pinterest board for desserts.
Ah ha! I found it!
It was actually a two-part dessert treat. Part one was an Espresso Martini. Part two was a red bean crepe.
When I was younger, my mom and I would go to Ranch 99 Market. There was always a bakery at the front, and we would pick up little pastries filled with red bean paste, or green bean paste, or lotus paste, or whatever looked yummy. The pastry was crispy and flaky, and the fillings were sweet and dense. They weren’t like American pastries. Though, in a way, they kind of remind me of some French pastries, like a croissant filled with sweet almond paste is fairly reminiscent of these Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) bean filled confections.
We needed to get the ingredients for the treats, so I decided that as part of my birthday outings, I’d love to go poke around in the Ranch 99 store again, both in the bakery and the grocery store.
We stopped for Dim Sum (the first time I’ve had Dim Sum) for lunch. It was awesome! We had some spicy tofu, a shrimp noodle dish, scallops, and a lotus bun. I was stuffed! It was all so yummy and I can’t wait to go back for more Dim Sum.
Then, we headed into the store for some serious shopping. I found so many kinds of tofu. I bought 3: tofu noodles, dried tofu, and a marinated tofu. (Some people want jewelery for their birthday, I want tofu.) We got different kinds of noodles, beans, veggies, all kinds of exotic items that my grocery store just doesn’t have. We also got the ingredients to make the red been crepes as well as a couple of red bean buns from the bakery for comparison sake.
Dan also grew up eating these little red bean pastries. He lived in Japan for a few years as a child. So, he was really excited to learn that he could make these pastries, and he could make them pretty easily. The filling didn’t take too long, and he’s really good at making crepes. So, in not too much time, I had a super cool & really tasty birthday dessert of red bean crepes with an espresso martini to wash them down!
I think these would be fun to make for happy hour snacks one day – maybe I’ll do a Dim Sum themed day. Or, I could take the red bean paste and make ice cream out of it. Awesome! I also like that we took the time to make our own red bean filling rather than buy pre-made. Next time, I think we’ll try to cut back on some of the sugar. Oh, and after comparing Dan’s red bean crepes to the store-bought buns, his were better, by far!
Thanks, Dan. For everything you do. For my birthday, and for every day. I love you.
Red Bean Paste
makes about 2 cups (more than you will need for the 3 crepes)
from Apple Pie, Patis, & Pate
1 cup dried azuki beans
1 ½ cups granulated sugar, or to taste
pinch of salt
Wash the azuki beans and place in a large pot filled with about 4-5 cups of. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the azuki beans until soft, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. There will still be a considerable amount of liquid at this point.
Place a sieve over a bowl. Pour the beans and liquid into the strainer. Using a wooden spoon, spatula, or the palm of your hands, mash the beans through the sieve so that the bean skins stay in the sieve.
Pour the mashed beans and simmering liquid into a cheesecloth, cotton bag, or cotton towel and squeeze out all the water.
Put the unsweetened bean paste in a saucepan, add the sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring gently until the azuki bean paste is heated through and glossy. Season with a pinch of salt and mix well. The paste should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Red Bean filled Crepes
from Apple Pie, Patis, & Pate
Makes 3 crepes
1 large egg
¾ cup cold water
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, or light-flavored oil of your choice
9 tablespoons red been paste
Place the flour in a mixing bowl. In a separate container, beat the large egg with the cold water until thoroughly mixed. Add the egg mixture to the flour and whisk until the batter is smooth.
Heat a well-seasoned crepe pan or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Brush the bottom lightly with oil. Add 1/3 of the batter to the pan, tilting it to make sure that the bottom is evenly coated. Cook until golden, and flip the crepe over. Continue cooking on the other side until golden brown and set.
Once the crepe is set, remove from heat, and spread 3 tablespoons of the red bean paste in the middle. Gently fold in the outer edges of the crepe to form a red bean pocket.
Continue cooking and filling all three crepes. Enjoy.