I am a cookbook collector and reader. I love reading them and cooking from them. I also have a small collection of cooking magazines, and I also collect recipes off the internet and place them on my Pin board for future reference. So it goes without saying that over the course of many years, I have accumulated a ton of recipes. One of the things I like to do is combine two different recipes to create my own spin on something. I especially like doing this for sweets and baked goods.
One such recipe I recently developed is for filled peach mochi. Mochi, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is a rice cake type dessert popular in Japan and other Asian countries. It’s not a cake in the traditional western sense, with wheat flour that bakes up tender and fluffy. It has more of a chewy, almost gummy, dense texture. The Japanese mochi many people are familiar with are individual serving sized with a filling, usually of sweetened beans.
A number of years ago, one of my girlfriends, Eva, went to Japan on vacation and came back raving about the fruit-filled mochi she had there. So I was excited when I received this cookbook, A World of Cake, by Krystina Castella, as a gift and found a recipe for apricot mochi rice cakes inside.
Unfortunately, the recipe for the outer mochi wrapper was all wrong and resulted in a wet batter rather than a cooked dough. The recipe for the filling however, looked easy enough with three ingredients, one of which was apricot nectar. Having no luck finding apricot nectar, I decided to use peach nectar and make peach mochi instead.
My mom has a mochi wrapper recipe that she has used for a number of years, and I decided to use that in place of the recipe found in the book. I replaced the water with peach nectar. The ingredients for the wrapper are glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, granulated sugar, and peach nectar.
Glutinous rice flour (not to be confused with regular white rice flour) and wheat starch (not to be confused with regular wheat flour) can be found in most Asian markets. Some regular supermarkets carry glutinous rice flour under the Mochiko brand. Both types of flour are usually sold in one pound packages, which is what you want to get for this recipe. You will actually need more than one pound of the glutinous rice flour, so buy more than one pound.
Take a skillet large enough to hold a 9-inch pie plate, and fill it with about an inch of water. Set a rack inside the skillet, and place a 9-inch pie pan on it.
Because the original recipe is written with weight measurements instead of volume measurements for the two types of flour, and I’m assuming most of you don’t have a scale, what I’m about to tell you may seem a little unorthodox.
Combine one pound (~ 3-1/3 cups plus another ½ cup) of the glutinous rice flour with half a pound (~ 1-2/3 cups plus another ¼ cup) of the wheat starch in a large bowl. To that add 2 cups of granulated sugar. Using a whisk, mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly until everything is well combined. (Alternatively, if you have a scale, just weigh out half a pound of rice flour and a quarter pound of wheat starch to make half the recipe. You will need to do this two times to make the full recipe).
Now here is the tricky part. Remove half the dry ingredients, which is about 3-3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons, and set aside in another bowl. To the first bowl, add 2 cups of the peach nectar. Using the whisk mix until there are no clumps in the batter.
Immediately pour the batter into the pie pan set up inside the skillet. The rice flour and wheat starch have a tendency to settle down into the batter, so try not to let the batter sit for too long before steaming it. If you do, redistribute the flours by re-mixing the batter with the whisk before steaming.
Cover the skillet. Turn the heat on high. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to maintain a steady boil. Steam for about 20 minutes, until the batter is set. Test for doneness by sticking a chopstick or skewer into the center of the plate of dough. The steamed dough should feel solid all the way through, and the chopstick/skewer should come out clean. (A bit a sticky dough stuck on it is okay). The surface of the cooked dough will be dimpled.
Allow the dough to cool to about room temperature. This may take up to several hours. Repeat the process with the other half of the reserved dry ingredients to make another batch of batter. Replenish the water in the skillet for steaming if needed.
Now if you have a large enough bowl and skillet to hold the entire amount of batter, go ahead and make the wrapper recipe using the full amount of ingredients, and steam for an extra 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes before testing for doneness.
While the dough is cooling, prepare the filling. You will need a 29-oz can of sliced peaches in heavy syrup, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
Set a mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the peaches into the strainer to strain out as much of the liquid as possible. Chop the peaches well into small pieces. Place the chopped fruit back into the strainer to drain out more liquid.
After most of the liquid has drained, transfer the peach into a medium bowl. You will have about 2 cups of peaches. Add a packed half cup of light brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix the filling ingredients well.
Over medium-low heat, lightly toast ½ to ¾ cup of glutinous rice flour for 3 to 5 minutes to remove the raw taste of the flour, stirring constantly with a spoon to prevent burning.
Transfer the flour to a small bowl and let cool.
Pour out any excess water from the pans of steamed dough. Scoop out a two-inch ball of dough.
Roll the ball of dough in the bowl of toasted flour to coat and allow for easier handling, as the dough will be very sticky.
Remove the dough and stretch into a disk. The dough is very stretchy and will want to spring back as you stretch it, so don’t be afraid to hold it between the fingers of both hands and really pull on it.
Dunk the stretched disk of dough back into the bowl of flour, pressing both sides into the flour to coat.
Using a small spoon, scoop up a small bit of the filling along the side of the bowl, allowing it to drain, as the addition of the brown sugar will have caused the peaches to exude even more liquid.
Place the filling inside the disk of dough. Do not overfill, as that will make it difficult to seal the mochi.
Grab the sides of the dough and pinch them together around the filling to seal. If the liquid in the filling prevents you from creating a good seal, dab a bit of the toasted rice flour over any moist part of the wrapper, and it should be easier to pinch close.
If you can, try shaping the mochi into a ball as you’re pinching the wrapper close.
Place sealed mochi into a cupcake liner, seam side down.
I didn’t have much success shaping my dough into the traditional ball shape, so my mochi ended up in more of a long potato shape.
It takes practice to get the shape right.
- Lay out your cupcake liners before you start shaping and filling the mochi. This minimizes the amount of contact between your sticky fingers and the liners.
- I found the dough was a bit easier to handle if it was slightly warmer than room temperature.
- If you find that some of the liquid from the filling starts to dribble out as you are sealing the wrapper, tip the mochi over the bowl of filling to allow the liquid to drain out before dabbing a bit of toasted rice flour over the moisture to help seal the mochi shut.
- Make sure to place the mochi in the cupcake liners with the seam side down, as this will help further seal them as they settle into the paper liners.
- Store mochi at room temperature. Unlike traditional Japanese mochi which can be refrigerated and frozen, these mochis will harden instead of staying nice and soft upon refrigeration.
My mom, who is a health nut, loves making mochi because there is no added fat in either the filling or the wrapper, so this is a great recipe for people who need or want to watch their fat intake.
Let me know if you tried this recipe and what you think of it in the comments :0)