28 November 2013

steamed kabocha cake (kabocha no mushigashi)

This is a recipe that I've modified from Hiroko Shimbo's The Japanese Kitchen. The recipe is very flexible — I've used different flours, different squash (or sweet potato), and I've added fresh cranberries or currants in lieu of raisins (or left both out). It is always a hit, and is my most-requested dessert.

  • 6 oz. roasted kabocha (I prefer roasted to steamed, and I've doubled the quantity)
  • 5 cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp. grond ginger
  • 2½ tbsp. cake flour (used here, but I've use whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour as well)
  • ⅓ c. rice flour (I've use mochiko in the past, Shimbo calls for joshinko, and here I used an all-purpose stone-ground variety)
  • 4 eggs, separated (or 3 if you have extra large ones)
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ⅓-½ c. each zante currants and walnuts tossed in a tablespoon of rice flour
Prepare a pot to steam: if you have a springform that fits in a bamboo steamer, that's great. But springforms are often too tall. In that case, I have a rack on the bottom of a stockpot that will fit an 8- or 9-inch springform pan with water going up to the rack. Line the springform with parchment.

Blend the kabocha, spices, and egg yolks (the spices are optional, but seem appropriate for Thanksgiving) in a medium bowl.

Beat the whites to soft peaks with the salt, adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time as you reach the soft peaks. Fold the whites, a third at a time, into the kabocha mixture. Sift the two flours together and then into this mixture, being careful not to deflate. Do the same with currants and walnuts.

Steam for 25-40 minutes (about 25 in a pot, longer if in a bamboo steamer), until a toothpick comes out clean.

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