Christmas is a festival celebrated on December 25. A holiday which has a cultural and commercial phenomenon. People of both Christian and Non-Christian community have been celebrating the festival religiously. It is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, a spiritual leader. Popular customs and traditions do vary from place to place and family to family but the common things which includes are Decorating a Christmas Tree, Exchanging Gifts, Visiting Church, Sharing Meals with Family and Friends and last but not the least, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive and give gifts. Since 1870, Christmas has been a federal holiday in the US.
Christmas in Japan is being celebrated since last few decades. It is still not a religious holiday or celebrations as such because there aren’t many Christians in Japan. With less than just 1 percent of the population, here Christmas is adopted as a time for friends and dating!. The preparation begins in November with Malls and Stores doing best decorations accompanied by Carols.
Its remarkable to see that Christmas in Japan has become an important festival even without having any Traditional, Historic or Religious background. In Japan, Christmas is more of a time to spread happiness rather than a religious celebration. Christmas Eve is celebrated as a Romantic day. A big date night where couples hang out for dinner and present each other with lavish gifts. There is a slightly strange tradition of eating fried chicken at a fast food restaurant because of which pre-orders are placed weeks before in advance at every KFC store. Its almost like Valentine’s Day celebrations in the UK and the USA.
As we all know a fact that none of the festivals are complete without some sweets and desserts, Japan is a no exception and when it is Christmas, it definitely has to be splendid.
Here, we bring you some of the best desserts recipes which are found in every Japanese’s house during Christmas eve. Prepare them and be ready to welcome your friends and family with some Japanese skills.
- Chocolate Gateau(Chocolate Cake): A decadent chocolate cake has always been a classic dessert to bake, especially during festive season. Dark, Moist and crumbly, the Japanese Chocolate Gateau makes everyone happy. If you prefer more chocolaty flavor, slather it with a fudge frosting or chocolate Ganache or you can keep it simple with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar on top.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes.
Cook Time: 45 minutes.
Total Time: 1 hr. 15 minutes.
Servings: 1piece of 8” Cake.
- Unsalted Butter: 90 gms.(7 tbsp.).
- Unsalted Butter: ½ tbsp (For Greasing).
- All Purpose Flour: 30 gms.(1/2 Cup).
- All Purpose Flour (For Dusting).
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: 75 gms. (1 Cup).
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: 150 gms.
- Cold, Large Eggs: 4.
- Sugar: 180 gms.
- Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream: 60 gms.
- Raspberry: 10-12(For Garnish).
- Powder Sugar (For Garnish).
- Gather all the ingredients, place a rack in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. In an 8 inch Pan, spread the butter, dust the flour and tap off the excess.
- Place a parchment paper at the bottom, butter it, dust it with the flour, tap out the excess and set aside.
- Mix the flour and cocoa powder and sift, keep aside.
- Chop the chocolates into small pieces and set aside.
- Set up a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts.
- Add the chopped butter and let it melt down. Transfer the bowl and let the mixture cool down.
- Take the eggs, put the whites in the mixer bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
- While the chocolate is cooling down, place the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt. Beat the egg whites until foamy and add half of the sugar in 2-3 additions.
- Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved on high speed. To test the peaks, the peaks should stand straight when you lift up the beaters. The whites should not slide around. Transfer the meringue in a bowl and wash the bowl for next step.
- In a clean mixing bowl, beat the yolks and the remaining sugar until creamy and stir in the heavy whipping cream.
- Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
- Add cocoa powder and all purpose flour in the mixture.
- Stir 1/3 of the meringue in the batter, then gently fold in the rest until the color is uniform.
- Pour batter in the Pan and give it few sharp taps to bring up the air bubbles trapped in the batter.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F and then lower it to 340 degrees F and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick pulls out the moist crumbs when inserted in the cake. Transfer the Pan and let the cake cool down.
- At the edges of the cake, run a knife and turn the cake over on a rack and remove the pan and the parchment paper. Place the cake on a serving platter. As it cools down, decorate it with raspberries and dust some powder sugar before serving.
- Kabocha Squash Pie: Something different for the holiday this year with the rich and creamy Pieand a hint of rum. A dollop of whipped cream is optional, but encouraged for a good taste. The Pie is easy to make and will impress your holiday dinner guests! Serve it as a Thanksgiving.
3 Hacks for Kabocha Squash Pie:
- a) Use the frozen Pie Shell or Pie Crusts.
- b) Steam Kabocha.
- c) Use Pumpkin Pie Spice.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes.
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes.
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes.
Servings: 1 – 9”
- Kabocha Squash/Pumpkin: With Seeds and Skin, 1134 gms.
- Unsalted Butter: 2 tbsp., 30 gms.
- Sugar: 2 tbsp., 30 gms.
- Egg Yolk: 1 Large.
- Eggs: 2 Large.
- Brown Sugar: ½ Cup.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: 2 tsp.
- Salt: ½ tsp.
- Rum: 1 tbsp.
- Heavy Cream: 200 ml.
- Pie Crust: 1.
- Heavy Cream: 1 Cup.
- Sugar: 2 tbsp.
- For Blind Bake:
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take a pie crust and thaw for 10 minutes.
- Once the pie crust softens a bit, prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork, make sure not to poke through. It will help steam to escape and prevent bubbles formation from the bottom. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until it turns Golden Brown. Remove from the ove, let it cool.
- Kabocha Squash Pie:
- Fill a pan with a cup of water and place a steamer basket on top.
- With a firm knife, cut Kabocha in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut squash in 4 cms. cubes.
- Fill kabocha cubes in a steamer basket and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to high and steam it for 15 minutes.
- By inserting the skewer into a thick kabocha cube, check if it is ready. If it goes through smoothly, they are done or else keep steaming and check after 1-2 minutes. Remove the steamer basket from the pan and let the Kabocha cool down, once it is good enough for you to touch, remove the skin with a knife.
- Take a blender, transfer kabocha in it and blend it until smooth. No need to add any liquid because the kabocha was steamed and it contains moisture. If incase, it looks settled down, add 1 tbsp of water.
- Combine 2 tbsp of unsalted butter and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar in a bowl, whisk until its creamy.
- Add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk and whisk well to combine before adding next, make sure to use one egg at a time
- Add 2 cups blended kabocha and mix to combine.
- Add half cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice and ½ tsp salt in the bowl and mix all.
- Add 1 tbsp Rum and ¾ cup + 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream and whisk.
- Pour the filling in the pie crust and tap the crust to make sure there is no gap in the fillings.
- Bake it at 400 F for 15 minutes and then at 350 F for 50 minutes.
- Once done, let it cool down for 2 hours.
- Serve instantly with a scoop of whipped cream or refrigerate upto 3 days.
- WHIPPED CREAM:
- Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10-15 minutes (OPTIONAL).
- Add a cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp sugar in the mixing bowl. Whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
- Store the unused portion in an airtight container for upto 24 hours. When ready to use, re-whisk for 15 seconds.
- Matcha Tiramisu: The irresistible creamy, rich, and bursting with bold matcha flavors, Matcha Tiramisu consists matcha soaked ladyfingers layered with a light and airy mascarpone custard filling. A classic tiramisu dessert with Japanese twist. It is one of the simple and easy to make dessert which involves 2 steps:
- Make the mascarpone custard filling with egg yolks, whites, mascarpone cheese and sugar.
- Assemble tiramisu by layering the custard filling and ladyfingers.
Once you are done, simply refrigerate it to chill before serving. No need to bake.
Preparation Time: 50 minutes.
Cook Time: 10 minutes.
Total Time: 5 hours.
Serving: 1 – 8×8 baking dish or 8 180ml-individual dishes.
- Egg Yolks: 3 Large
- Sugar: 1/3 Cup.
- Marsala Wine: 2 tbsp.
- Mascarpone Cheese: 1 Package (226-250 gms.).
- Heavy Cream: 360 ml.
- Water: ½ Cup.
- Matcha (Green Tea Powder): 1 – ½ tbsp.
- Ladyfingers: 24 pieces and 36 pieces if 3 layers.
- Matcha (Green Tea Powder): 2 tbsp for Dusting.
- Gather all ingredients and equipments. A medium saucepan, a heatproof mixing bowl, 2 large bowls.
- In a saucepan, fill 2 inches of water. Set the mixing bowl but make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Remove the bowl and bring the water to simmer and reduce the heat.
- To Make The CUSTARD:
- Add egg yolks, marsala wine and 3 tbsp granulated sugar and whisk with a handheld electric mixer in a heat proof bowl.
- Over the saucepan of barely simmering water, set the bowl and continue to beat the eggs. To consume the tiramisu safely, heat the egg yolk mixture for 10 minutes until it reaches 160 degree F.
- Until the custard is Light & Thick, cook the beatingConstantly.
- At level 3 of the mixer out of 5, continue whisking.
- Remove the bowl from the saucepan once the custard reaches 160 degree F and set it in a large bowl of ice water. Let it cool down for a minute
- Fill another bowl with mascarpone and soften it with a silicon spatula and fold the custard into the mascarpone.
- NOTE: The mixture of egg yolk gets cooked a bit on the side of the bowl from double boiler. Do not scrape off to use it.
- Gently fold until smooth.
- Beat heavy cream until foamy and add sugar gradually in a large bowl.
- Until medium peak forms, beat it.
- Fold in the heavy cream mixture in the mascarpone mixture until well combined.
- Whisk hot water and matcha powder until there is no lump. Transfer to a container that fits in the ladyfingers.
- Dip both sides of the ladyfingers in the matcha mixture until soaked, one at a time and place them on the bottom of an 8-inch-square baking dish, arranging 2 rows of 6 ladyfingers each.
- Spread half of the mascarpone custard over ladyfingers and smooth the surface.
- Dip in the remaining ladyfingers in the match mixture and place them on top of the custard.
- Top it up with the remaining custard, smooth over the top and cover with the sheet of plastic wrap to cover the cream. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Dust with Matcha powder before serving and enjoy.
So, here comes an end to our list. Celebrate this Christmas, Japanese style and give your friends and family a feel of being in Japan because, a little change from our regular style is definitely a good thing to do. Give your taste buds some Japanese desserts and show your cooking and baking skills too. With only days left until Christmas, its not too late to try your hands on these recipes and make this year, a memorable one.