I love how creative Japanese pastry chefs are. Although the traditional French Mt. Blanc is made from chestnuts, the pastry chefs from my favorite country have taken it into their own hands and spun out something entirely original, including pumpkin and purple sweet potato versions. Which suits me just fine, since I can get pumpkin year-round unlike chestnuts. I was actually a bit hesitant to try it (since I can’t imagine what pumpkin cream would taste like…perhaps like pumpkin pie filling?), but I’m very glad I did since the elements blend surprisingly well together. A matcha roll cake with sweet adzuki beans and fluffy Chantilly cream heartily drizzled with pumpkin cream rests on top of a base of crisp pâte sucrée. And the pumpkin cream? Well, I can tell you honestly that it tastes 100% better than pumpkin pie filling since there are no strong spices that mask the original flavor of pumpkin.
The following recipe is from one of my favorite websites created entirely by professional pastry chefs. You can find the original link here (website is entirely in Japanese) with step by step pictures, but I made tweaks here and there for my own batch. They also don’t tell you how to make basics such as crème pâtissière and pâte sucrée, so the following will be my own. They used dainagon (a larger type of adzuki beans) which I didn’t have, so I just used regular ones. Depending on how you cut the cake later, you can get about fourteen servings. Long recipe but it isn’t as intimidating as it looks.
Components: Matcha Roll, Pumpkin Cream (with Crème Pâtissière), Pâte Sucrée, Adzuki Beans, Chantilly Cream
150g Unsalted Butter
100g Powdered Sugar
30g Almond Flour
250g All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
215g Cake Flour
10g Matcha Powder
75g Unsalted Butter
38g Whole Milk
56g Invert Sugar
500g Whole Milk
100g Egg Yolks (about five, since one yolk weighs 18-22g)
1/2 Vanilla Bean
25g Cake Flour
400g Pumpkin Puree
84g Unsalted Butter
68g Caster Sugar
128g Heavy Whipping Cream
36g Invert Sugar
200g Crème Pâtissière (From Above)
1000ml Heavy Whipping Cream
A touch of vanilla essence
1/3 cup of adzuki beans
1/2 stick of brown cane sugar (the type you get in Asian grocery stores)
Lightly rinse the adzuki beans, and cook in a pot of boiling water with the sugar until it becomes soft. Since it takes a while to soften the beans, the trick is to let the beans sit for 15-20 min or so after you’ve had it boiling for about 5 minutes. Repeat the process until it it softens, but is still slightly firm when you take a bite.
- Cream the butter until soft and smooth with a paddle attachment.
- Mix in powdered sugar, almond flour, and the vanilla bean paste.
- Beat in the egg and mix until incorporated. The mixture should have the consistency of wet sand.
- Mix in flour and salt until just incorporated with the paddle attachment.
- Pound the dough into a thick, flat disc and wrap with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out your dough with a lightly floured rolling pin. The thickness should be around 3-4mm (you can eyeball this). The dough should also be big and wide enough for you to stamp out 14-15 6cm diameter circles.
- Refrigerate for another hour to let the dough relax (so it won’t shrink when you bake it).
- Preheat oven to 175° Celsius (or 350° Fahrenheit) and bake for 20-25 minutes on the upper third rack of your oven. There’s no need to place any baking weights on this since it’s a flat disc.
- Quickly stamp out 14-15 6cm circles with a cookie cutter (or cake mold) after you take it out. If you let the crust cool, it’ll be tough to get perfect circles because it’ll harden.
Matcha Roll (for 2 rolls, 25cmX25cm each)
- Heat milk and butter in a pan until it has melted.
- In another pan, heat the invert sugar and water so that it becomes a syrup (it can boil, but make sure to take it off the heat so it doesn’t brown).
- Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a stainless steel (or copper) bowl before adding the sugar.
- Transfer the bowl to your stove and continue whisking over a weak fire until the egg mixture becomes hot to the touch.
- Mix in the invert sugar syrup and continue whisking for another 30 seconds or so by hand.
- Take mixture off the fire and whisk on high speed until mixture is pale and fluffy. Batter is done when it falls back in thick ribbons.
- Sift the matcha powder and cake flour together.
- Add the flour to your egg batter. With a spatula, fold by hand until you can’t see any flour lumps. Matcha powder clumps easily so it’s alright to mix a little harder. It’s important to scrape from the bottom up since flour tends to congregate there.
- Add in the melted butter/milk mixture and lightly fold until incorporated. The batter should still fall back into shiny ribbons.
- Pour the batter onto two 25cmX25cm jelly roll pans and spread evenly.
- Bake at 185° Celsius (or 365° Fahrenheit) for 15-17 minutes. To check when it’s done, stick a toothpick in and make sure it comes out clean.
- Quickly transfer cakes onto a cooling rack.
- Put whole milk, half of the sugar, and a split vanilla bean into a pan and heat. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and add in the rest of the sugar.
- Add in the pre-sifted cake flour/cornstarch to the egg yolks and gently mix. Over-whisking will form gluten.
- Boil the milk, and take away the vanilla pod.
- While whisking the egg yolks quickly, pour in 75% of the boiling milk. Return the mixture to the pot and heat on medium fire. Whisk continually until the cream thickens.
- Transfer finished cream to another bowl at once and let it cool.
- In a stainless steel (or copper) bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, invert sugar, butter, and milk together. Place on top of the stove and whisk continually while heating directly on medium fire. The mixture should boil.
- Transfer into another bowl so that it can cool.
- Once pumpkin mixture has cooled, fold in 200g of the pastry cream until fully incorporated.
Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla essence on high speed until fluffy. If you over-whip (the cream forms airy clumps), you can save it by adding in a tablespoon of liquid cream and gently folding.
- Place the cake onto a clean piece of large parchment paper (enough for rolling the cake later). Spread a layer of Chantilly cream evenly across (the layer should not be that thick).
- Line the adzuki beans in the middle.
- Spread a layer of cream over the beans. It should look like a small log in the middle.
- Roll the cake into a Swiss roll, and refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set. You’ll have two logs of matcha cake.
- Cut each log evenly into 5-7 pieces. The thickness is up to you.
- Place a piece on top of each of your baked pâte sucrée circles.
- Generously pipe a small column of cream on top the middle of each cake.
- Pipe the pumpkin cream in drizzles just like you would do for a Mt. Blanc.
- Decorate with chocolate leaves, choux, and roasted hazelnuts.