Mitsumami: Japanese Summer Fruit Dessert
This is a classic Japanese sweet summer treat, featuring soft, smooth, crisp textures and colors of all the seasonal fruit, studded with sparkling cool gems and creamy ice cream. What is not to like!
Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it’s dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled. It can be used as a substitute in most recipes. Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature–it can even set at room temperature.

Banana an’ Ginger Ice
I never would have considered banana-ice; remember the banana song which cautioned against putting bananas in the refrigerator?
(BTW: that is not quite right…)
I’d never thought of bananas being popular in Japan, either! A quick google of “bananas in japan” reveals that two years ago, Japan, prone to dieting fads, convinced itself that bananas for breakfast is a magic formula for weight loss. This sweet desert recipe, adapted from Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh, is not suitable for slimming!
This is an easy to make summer treat.

Japanese Black Sesame Ice

Amazaké (literally ‘sweet sake’) is the liquid and sweetener used to make this popular Japanese okashi (Kuro Goma Aisu). In her book, Washoku, Ms. Andoh notes, “ama-zaké (her spelling) is sipped on ceremonial occasions in Japan such as Oshogastu (New Year’s holidays) and Hina Matsuri (Dolls’ Day, celebrated on March 3).”

pesach It’s Passover so we are not eating foods made with wheat (except for matzoh). I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but it’s a holiday so I usually make a batch of almond macaroons. This year I’ve been inspired to try something new from Z at AMBROSIA TEA PARTY. She posted a recipe…

Honey Cake A Sweet and Happy New Year 5770! Shana Tova! It is Rosh Hashanah, and I had to make the honey cake I’ve made every year since 1979. It’s from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen. I wrote about this treasured book last Pesach (Passover), including recipes for almond macaroons and Egyptian haroset. The posts also…

Persimmon Purée Gelée

Persimmon Pureee GelatinPersimmon, an exotic fruit for one who has always lived in cold northern places, is a taste of tropical paradise and daydreams. The first time I ate a persimmon was when I moved to Ann Arbor after college and lived in a house with a communal kitchen. My husband, who was then just one of the house-mates, found a crate of almost rotting fruit behind a produce store. I was reluctant to taste trash, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying them. That was the best fruit I’d ever tasted. Astringent persimmons (Hachiya) are edible only when they are very soft. They were perfect!

Mitsumame! Japan’s Summertime Sweet

MitsumameMitsumame is a traditional Japanese summertime sweet—a bowl of fruit, sweet red peas, ice cream and gelatin that looks like ice cubes. Does this sound appealing? No? To be honest, I was hesitant to try this recipe.

What a surprise: this dessert is fabulous! Use fresh ripe fruit. You won’t be disappointed.

Maize Gelée

Maize Gelee Corn Kanten Corn agar-agar, korn kanten, maize gelée, creamy yellow jello… What was I thinking? Tomatoes have always been my highlight of summer, but suddenly I am attracted to corn. I was thinking about creamy corn soup, but cold, so the idea of a savory corn gelatin came to mind. It’s pretty, but it surprised me how sweet it was! I’ll have time to experiment with this recipe. Lots of possibilites: shoyu, miso, cheese, yogurt? Or go with dessert? vanilla…

Watermelon Jewels

Watermelon Kanten Agar-AgarWatermelon can be an elegant summer dessert—what is more tempting than frosty pink fruit shimmering in the heat. At your next sophisticated soirée, you can serve watermelon without worries about the seed-spitting, juice dripping antics disrupting the urbane atmosphere of your affair, if you make watermelon gélatine!