You may have already come across the idea of a sake affogato – a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a suitably sweet and savoury heated sake poured over the top in place of a shot of espresso – but here’s another very Japanese take on how to include kanzake in a dessert menu.

Tabata Anji, writing for YouPouch, covers a recent special menu item at the Kurand chain, where kanzake is served over a yukimi daifuku – a mochi envelope filled with vanilla ice cream. And it’s very easy to replicate at home!

All you need is some sake, a yukimi daifuku and a microwave.

Tabata chose a sake readily available at Japanese convenience stores or supermarkets – which implies it’s from one of the big brewers as they have the widest distribution. And it’s a Junmaishu Yamada Nishiki, from Sawa no Tsuru, a large Nada brewery. The writer describes the sake as fairly dry and strong at room temperature, but sweeter and mellower when heated – a good description of how heating can take the rough edges off some sake.

Mentioning in passing that the usual way to heat sake is to decant it into a tokkuri [carafe] and place the tokkuri in hot water, Tabata says that’s too much bother so they’re using the microwave. One (180 ml) of sake heated for 60 seconds comes up to around 50°C.

Tabata places the yukimi daifuku in a bowl, and pours over the sake until it’s up to the daifuku‘s “shoulders” – as if it were taking a bath. This softens the mochi wrapper while still protecting the ice cream enough that it melts slowly.

Contact with the cold daifuku brings the sake down in temperature to around 40°C, or nurukan [ぬる燗]. The dry sake, sweet ice cream and vanilla merge to create a delicious taste sensation, while the warm mochi wrapper adds texture.

The only downside? It’s incredibly moreish and far too easy to keep on making!


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