Sweet Potato and Chestnut Candies (Okashi) Recipe

Sweet Potato and Chestnut Candies (Okashi) Recipes

Ingredients :

450g sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped

1/4 tsp salt

2 egg yolks

200g sugar

4 tbsp water

75g rice flour or plain wheat flour

1 tsp orange flower or rose water, optional

200g canned chestnuts in heavy syrup, drained

caster (superfine) sugar, for dusting

2 strips candied angelica

2 tsp plum or apricot preserve

3-4 drops red food coloring

Method :

Place the sweet potatoes in a heavy saucepan, cover with cold water and add the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, for about 20-25 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan. Mash the sweet potatoes well, or rub through a fine strainer. Place the egg yolks, sugar and water in a small bowl, then combine the flour and orange flower or rose water if using. Add to the purée and stir over a gentle heat to thicken for about 3-4 minutes. Turn the paste out onto a tray and cool. To shape the sweet paste, place 2 tsp of the mixture into the center of a wet cotton napkin or handkerchief. Enclose the paste in the cotton and twist into a nut shape. If the mixture sticks, ensure the fabric is properly wet. To prepare the chestnuts, rinse away the thick syrup and dry well. Roll the chestnuts in caster (superfine) sugar and decorate with strips of angelica. To finish the sweet potato candies, color the plum or apricot preserve with red coloring and decorate each one with a spot of color. Serve in a Japanese lacquer box or on an open plate.

Cooking's Tip

Sugar coated chestnuts will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature, stored in a sealed box. Sweet potato candies will also keep, sealed and refrigerated.

It is customary in Japan to offer special bean paste candies with tea. The candies tend to be very sweet by themselves, but contrast well with Japanese green teas; in particular, large leaf Sencha and Banch.

Serves 4 - 6

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