Another year came and another winter is about to go. So is the season of yuzu, the wonderful citrus fruit we are so fortunate to have in abundance in Japan. I've had my fair share of yuzu over the winter, but before I try to write about it here, I wanted to share something else with you.
Last winter, I cooked and baked my way through using yuzu just as much as I did this year, starting with multiple batches of yuzu marmalade. And about a year ago from now I was working on a follow-up entry here, when it happened - and everything changed. I never got around to finishing the post, which had been so close to it, and the yuzu season ended before we knew it.
So today I set myself to do the unfinished job and post the entry, a year overdue. All the pictures shown, foods prepared, and words written you'll see below were done last winter, save for a few words here and there that I've just added. I'm hoping to do another post for things I've done with yuzu this winter, but here's a flashback to (a happy part of) last winter... cx
So, yuzu. I've made jars after jars of marmalade with this beloved citrus fruit of Japan for the past month or so. In fact, I had more marmalade than I knew what to do with - so I decided to turn them into cakes. And ice-creams. And puddings. And so it goes...
here; I used ginger marmalade for a bit of kick.
Another breakfast favorite:
this recipe for apple and marmalade crisp, I thought this would be a perfect substitute - a bit of crispness without a fuss of making shortcrust pastry! Of course, crisps aren't the same as tarts, but still good in their own ways. And perfectly doable in a busy morning; you can make the crisp topping on the day before, and even cook the sliced apples first (in a small pan or in a microwave), which will shorten the baking time.
Still more for breakfast...
recipe was created by pastry chef Kim Boyce, the author of Good to the Grains, which is a very useful resource of whole-grain baking. I've tried more than a handful recipes from the book and enjoyed them immensely, and these scones didn't disappoint.
More yuzu-chocolate combo:
Nigella Lawson calls Pantry-Shelf Chocolate-Orange Cake in her classic How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking (Hyperion, 2001 (US edition)). It's so named because you should be able to make this cake using ingredients that are most likely be found in your pantry shelf. And sure enough, this is one of the easiest cake you can make, and it makes rich, dense and slightly pudding-y texture thanks to the generous dose of marmalade in it.
Served alongside was another yuzu marmalade creation, by the way:
recipe that does exactly that. I don't have an ice-cream machine, so I went for my tried-and-tested method of mixing the cream with other ingredients (marmalade here) in a blender, freezing it, then processing the mixture again in the blender until smooth, and re-freezing it. It works well, and the ice-cream was really good.
And oh, I also made the sorbet, too:
Another cool dessert...
this recipe. Compared to the cream-rich, fluffy version I made with strawberries a while ago, this is more of a standard rice pudding, except for the addition of white chocolate. Cardamom goes really well with both white chocolate and yuzu, and the slight bitterness of yuzu made a nice contrast with the sweet white chocolate. Overall, the whole thing made a very pleasant dessert - really sweet, but really good.
Now, a couple of cakes that are good for teatime:
this cake and realized I didn't have semolina around. On a whim, I decided to substitute cornmeal, which I did have, for semolina - now I was fully aware that semolina and cornmeal are two different flours, but just thought I'd give it a go - to a mixed result. The combination of marmalade and cornmeal wasn't bad, but the thing was, cornmeal was a little overpowering, which was no surprise when you see the recipe closely enough to see how much semolina (cornmeal in my case) it contains. Should I make this again with cornmeal, I will definitely cut it down and replace a part of it with plain flour or maybe ground almonds.
The other cake was the last thing I made with marmalade, and incidentally, one of the easiest to make and tastiest here:
here, and it is far easier to make than most fruit cakes, with no beating butter involved; in fact, no butter involved at all, nor any oil/fat added for that matter. The result is a very dense and rich cake that is not heavy, and smells wonderful - even better if you include candied yuzu in the dried fruit mix if you can. I liked to smear a thin slice of it with a dab of butter, and even a bit of marmalade, but the cake tasted good just as it is.
Hm, lots of stuff made with yuzu marmalade, right?
And although I was busy making marmalade with yuzu and making other things with marmalade, I was determined to making things with fresh yuzu, too...
topped with some bubbles, and decided to use the fruits in baking.
Enter a(nother) breakfast favorite like this:
this trusted recipe for lemon and ginger scones and made yuzu and ginger scones. I've done the yuzu-ginger pairing so many times in many different things, and they always make a top flavor combo.
I still had some yuzu left from the yuzu honey, so I made another thing...
And what looks like chocolate ice-cream in the picture was actually chocolate sorbet... with yuzu (surprise!). I used David Lebovitz's recipe for chocolate-tangerine sorbet from his book Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2010), but as you will probably know if you have ever tasted fresh yuzu, it's not as sweet as, and far more bitter and tart than, tangerines - so I went easy on juice of yuzu, and increased the amount of sugar a little. Still, my chocolate-yuzu sorbet proved to be extra bitter and extra tart - in an excellent way. It went really well with the milder-tasting ice-cream, too.
While I made the sorbet in only a small amount, I still ended up juicing lots of yuzu, and was left with a small mountain of empty yuzu shells. I had zested my yuzu before cutting them into half and juicing them and put the zest in the freezer for another use, but I still felt it would be a shame to chuck all the shells (yuzu isn't exactly cheap, even in Japan).
my little yuzu marmalade making project, used another bit to flavor mulled cider, and used yet another few shells to make yuzu panna cotta (served here with a bit of marmalade - handmade, of yuzu, of course).
I had a long time ago seen a recipe for grapefruit panna cotta, which called for only the white pith of grapefruits to flavor the milk-cream mixture. I don't remember the exact recipe now, but I thought I'd just wing it; I combined some milk and cream (about 1:2) and added some yuzu pith, cleaned of any pulp, heat the mixture to a near boil, then let it cool to infuse the liquid with yuzu flavor. After a few hours, I removed the pith, sweetened the mixture with a bit of honey, added unflavored (prepared) gelatin, and strained before pouring into some cups and molds.
The panna cotta was light and sweet, and although it did not smell much of yuzu, it did have a hint of distinctive bitterness characteristic to this wonderful fruit.
This method of (subtly) flavoring milk/cream with pith is one fun way, but of course you can go an easier way by adding grated zest of yuzu if you have an abundant supply of it...
Well, like I did with this white chocolate and yuzu pudding. These little pots of super rich, sweet, and (white) chocolate-y cream had just a bit of grated zest of yuzu, but were burst with flavor. I used this recipe, and it was (again) really easy to make, and would make a lovely dessert. Fresh berries definitely had their role to play here to balance out all the creaminess and richness.
...Hm, I still haven't used up my stock of yuzu? A bit more baking then:
this recipe for orange bread and substituted yuzu for orange - and baked it in muffin cups. I'm normally not an icing kind of girl, but these tasted really good with the icing, which gave the muffin a good, strong yuzu boost. Excellent for breakfast, too!
I made something else also from the ever-resourceful Simply Recipes:
this recipe for lemon mascarpone blondies looked and sounded so good I just had to try. And my yuzu mascarpone blondies turned out really soft, and really sweet, with a hint of bitterness of yuzu in every bite.
And here is one more yuzu something with an American flair:
Now for something slightly more Japanese-y (but not wagashi, mind you!)
this recipe, but again, if you have a good shortbread recipe you always turn to, you can start from there.
And finally, one of the best things, with or without yuzu, that I've made in a while:
this recipe (in Japanese). It is a recipe for yuzu pound cake, which tells you to add grated zest of yuzu in the batter while using the fruit in the syrup that is prepared with shochu, a popular type of Japanese distilled spirits.
The combination of yuzu and chestnuts is something I've always loved, so I decided to throw a good handful of sweetened chestnuts into the cake batter. And because I didn't have a regular, plain shochu around, I used something I did at hand: umeshu, or Japanese plum wine, homemade courtesy of my mother.
And as we entered into March, we are seeing less and less yuzu at the stores with the prices steadily going up, a sign of the approaching end of yuzu season.
Pancake Day and I wanted to make some (for the first time in a year, since Pancake Day last year), and because I had been making everything with yuzu, so one more thing wouldn't hurt, I decided. To make these yuzu pancakes I followed this recipe, which worked pretty well for someone like me who never gets the hang of pancake making, and prepared yuzu butter instead of lemon batter to serve. An additional dash of juice of yuzu just before eating worked nicely to zing up the warm, sweet pancakes - simple pleasures.
So all in all, yuzu dominated my winter this year, from the various jars of marmalade to cakes and desserts of all sorts.