Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Adzuki beans, or red beans, aren't something that are very well known to the Western palette. This is something of a shame. Although this East Asian ingredient originates from a far away place for Americans, the name is also confusing. Beans, aren't those supposed to be savory? Perhaps so for the majority of beans, but not for Adzuki beans, which are sweet. They strike a nice balance between overwhelming sweetness and a lack of flavor. They're often made into a paste. Red bean paste is incredibly multi-purpose, and I've enjoyed everything I've ever tried them in, ranging from agar-based gelatins to pastries stuffed with it. The dish I present to you today is even more transcendent; it goes even further above its previous heights by combining chocolate, vanilla, and coconut in a pot de crème mixture. Smooth, creamy, and with a heavenly mix of flavors, the true genius of red bean paste reveals itself: a flavor that is in perfect balance with what it is combined with and produces a recipe that delights and seduces rather than overpowers. It almost makes you forgot the heavy nature of the dessert. Breaking into the the harder upper shell and biting into the creamy interior carries you away with each bite—every mouthful melting away deliciously. And it isn't even terribly difficult to make: simply mixing together some ingredients, baking, cooling, and voilà!
This recipe is entirely my own, although I largely based the cooking process on a previous recipe of mine Orange-Cardamon pot de crème.
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- ~1 pound red bean paste, (package size may vary, mine was 1.1 pounds or 500 grams)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- Combine together the heavy cream, milk, pinch of salt, red bean paste, vanilla, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir in dissolving the red bean paste, carefully scraping the sides and bottom of the pot and mixing the ingredients well. When the liquid beings to boil at the edges, add in the cocoa powder, mix, and then turn off the heat, remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and allow to rest for 15 minutes for the flavors to combine.
- Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites, and in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are light colored and thick. Then add in the liquid and combine. Add in the 1/2 cup of coconut and combine that as well. At this point the liquid itself is ready.
- Place ramekins into a large baking dish. In my case, I had used 3 ramekins of what I would estimate were perhaps 6 oz, and 3 of 4 oz. If one is forced to use different sized ramekins, then cooking times may have to be adjusted. Fill up halfway around their sides with hot water. Place the liquid into the ramekins.
- Place the baking dish into an oven at 400 f degrees for 45 minutes (this is for 6 oz ramekins: for smaller ramekins, such as 4 oz, I would estimate 350 f for the same same period of time). The top will harden and will look crinkled, but this is not unfortunate, and is part of the end result. The inside will continue to be liquid and soft. They should still jiggle slightly when moved. Extract from the hot water bath, place onto a wire rack to cool, and then refrigerate until chill. Appropriate garnishes include whipped cream, mint, and frothed milk.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas