When you think of Japanese cuisine, savoury dishes like ramen, sushi and udon noodles might come to mind. But what about Japanese desserts?
The Japanese were making desserts for centuries before sugar became widely available in their country. As a result, their most famous desserts are innovative and unique, based on the ingredients that were available at the time, like rice and sweet beans. When sugar did hit Japan’s shores in the 1860’s, the country went nuts for it. Today, Japanese desserts span the full gamut from sweet to savoury and everything in between.
This modern Japanese dessert recipe comes from Sydney and Melbourne restaurant Kobe Jones. It features delicious new season red plums steeped in hot sugar and Umeshu (Japanese plum wine), folded in a crepe cooked in Umeshu butter, and flamed in Slivovitz. It’s served with creamy vanilla ice cream and chilled Umeshu (Japanese plum sake). Here’s how to make this tasty treat for yourself.
Chef’s Tip: This recipe makes 24 crepes, so divide the serves accordingly.
Drink Pairing: Chilled Umeshu (plum sake)
500g semi-ripe plums, firm to touch
200g white sugar
50ml Umeshu (plum sake)
4½ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 cups lager beers
3½ cups flour
2 pinches salt
250g unsalted butter
720ml bottle Umeshu (Plum Sake)
6 ume plums, quartered
Slivovitz (fruit brandy)
Vanilla bean ice cream, 1 scoop per person
- Wash the red plums. Remove pips and slice each plum into 4 or so pieces.
- Place sugar in the water and bring to a boil, dissolving all the sugar, then reduce to a simmer. Once boiled, add Umeshu and bring to the boil.
- Take off the heat and after 5 minutes, add the plums – the plums will cook in the steep, do not reheat.
- Refrigerate until cold – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When cold, pour the juice into a pouring jug
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk together eggs, milk, beer, and melted butter. Scatter the flour and salt over the mixture and whisk until smooth (about 2 minutes – batter should be the consistency of heavy cream). Cover the bowl and let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.
- In a small non-stick skillet, melt the remaining ½ tablespoon Using a ladle, stir the batter and pour roughly ⅓ cup into the pan, quickly rotating and tilting the pan to form a thin crepe.
- Cook the crepe until golden on the bottom (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). Using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook for a further 30-60 seconds. Remove from pan and place crepe on a plate. Cover with a towel to keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining batter, each time stacking the crepes on the plate and covering them back up. After you have cooked the first few, you should only need to cook each crepe for about 30 seconds on each side.
- For each serve, heat a griddle pan to a low heat of 120-140°C. Melt a tablespoon of butter and add 2 tablespoons of Umeshu (you want a wet base).
- Place a crepe over the base. Pour a tablespoon of Ume Steep on the crepe. In the centre of the crepe place 2 pieces of plum.
- Fold crepe over the plum. Pour a little Slivovitz on and around the crepe and flambé.
- Transfer to a plate. Place vanilla bean ice cream on top. Garnish with a little more of the Ume Steep and enjoy.