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7 popular western desserts that Japanese chefs have made their own

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(CNN) – Japan has long been famous internationally for its diverse and delicious dishes, from sushi to ramen, with these commodities appearing on menus around the world.

But in recent years, word has also spread about his experience in another culinary field: cakes and pastries. The country’s chefs have taken many of the traditional “western” desserts known and loved around the world and raised them to new heights.

Unlike Japanese sweets, called wagashi, Western-style pastries, called “yogashi,” are made primarily of flour and sugar. But the Japanese versions are generally less sweet compared to their Western counterparts.

Many of the classic yoghurts that are popular in the West came to Japan centuries ago and have since been adapted, perfected, and popularized. Some of the biggest dessert brands have already opened chains in other Asian cities, from Bangkok to Taipei.

“In making Japanese sweets, there is a tendency to incorporate improvements … Japan is good at using local ingredients and expressing the tastes of the season while incorporating Western techniques and combinations,” says Kengo Akabame, a pastry chef. Imperial Hotel Tokyo.
Akabame was part of the Japanese team that competed this year Pastry World Cup, or the Pastry World Cup, and went with the silver medal.

“I think the point of trying to create new things while incorporating them (classical methods) leads to one more evolution,” Akabame says.

Hideo Kawamoto is the president of Juchheim Group, one of the oldest pastry brands in Japan. He agrees that freedom of experimentation has helped the country’s chefs build one successful dessert product after another.

“Japanese customers like to taste as much as they can and get to know their favorites. Through these competitive markets, some chefs achieve a famous position and create popular products,” Kawamoto tells CNN Travel.

Given Japan’s status as a leading travel destination before the pandemic, a successful new take on a cake would often become fashionable in other Asian countries.

These are some of the popular cakes and desserts that Japanese chefs have made their own.

Strawberry shortcake

Japan Strawberry Cake has become a popular winter cake all over Asia.  Here is the version of Good Good, a Hong Kong bakery.

Japan Strawberry Cake has become a popular winter cake all over Asia. Here is the version of Good Good, a Hong Kong bakery.

Well well

Japan’s most iconic yoghurts include the classic strawberry shortcake and many credits Rin’emon Fujii, founder of Fujiya, the first national chain of western-style pastry shops in western Japan, for its popularity.

After establishing a pastry shop in Yokohama in 1910, Fujii went to the United States to hone his pastry skills and knowledge. It was there that he first tasted the strawberry shortcake and fell in love.

A year later, Fujii returned to Japan to create his version: an airy, fluffy layered biscuit coated in velvety cream and topped with candied strawberries.

Considered a luxury to enjoy on special occasions, colorful festive desserts are now synonymous with Christmas in Japan. Hotels, department stores and bakeries promote their versions of strawberry shortcakes during the holiday season.

The tradition and popularity of the Japanese version of the iconic cake has even moved beyond its borders.

“It’s such a Japanese cake: Europe’s cake didn’t take that style,” says Tammy Chan, dessert chef and founder of Well well, a Hong Kong cafe serving one of the city’s most popular strawberry shortcakes.

“I put it on our menu every winter because, despite its simplicity, it’s a cake that makes you feel so happy. It’s basic but there’s a lot of room to explore and improve.”

Baumkuchen

The Japanese group Juccheim recently invented an artificial intelligence oven that cooks Baumkuchen on a spit.

The Japanese group Juccheim recently invented an artificial intelligence oven that cooks Baumkuchen on a spit.

Juchheim Group

Baked in a spit-like rotisserie, Baumkuchen is a round German cake with golden circular lines that resemble the growth ring of a tree (see image at the top of this story).

“Baumkuchen in Germany is defined by the German Pastry Craft Association. On the other hand, Japanese is undefined and has many versions created by many chefs,” Kawamoto says when asked to compare them.

Although it now symbolizes peace, longevity, and eternal love, the Baumkuchen of Japan had a sad beginning.

According to legend, in 1909, Karl Juchheim, founder of the Juchheim Group, opened a pastry shop in the Chinese city of Jiaozhou, which was under German concession.

When World War I broke out, Juchheim, who served as a private in the German army, was sent to internment camps in Japan with his wife. It was there that she began cooking and selling the first Baumkuchen cakes in Japan in 1919. After the end of the war, the couple stayed in Japan and opened E. Juchheim in Yokohama in 1922.

Baumkuchen became popular in the following decades for a variety of reasons: there was the wedding cake boom in the 1960s, followed by increased demand for local gourmet cakes in the 1980s and the rise of Japanese biscuits in the 2000s. .

Today, Juchheim Group has stores all over Asia and Baumkuchen has become a staple in Japan’s dessert menus.

The company even built the world’s first AI furnace, called THEO, to cook the cake.

Castile

Bunmeido is one of the most famous Castilian brands in Japan.

Bunmeido is one of the most famous Castilian brands in Japan.

Bunmeido Tokyo

The history of Castile combines bad communication with a 500-year commercial history.

In 1543, a number of Portuguese merchants became the first documented Europeans to arrive in Japan after a storm diverted their ships. In the following years, the Portuguese established a trade relationship with Japan.

During a missionary exchange, the people of Nagasaki were presented with a simple loaf of bread made of flour, sugar, and eggs such as “bread of CastileIt is said that the locals, who loved the cake, confused this description as the name and went with it.

It soon became known locally as “Castile” and became a popular dessert throughout the country.

Today, Castilla is made in different flavors, from chocolate to matcha, and the thick-sliced ​​cake with a caramelized top goes perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee.

Bunmeido and Fukusaya are two popular Japanese brands that sell these cakes.

Montblanc

Namashibori Montblanc is a specialized chain that serves Mont Blanc with freshly squeezed chestnut garnishes.

Namashibori Montblanc is a specialized chain that serves Mont Blanc with freshly squeezed chestnut garnishes.

IMM Food Services Inc

Mont Blanc can make frequent appearances in bakeries around the world, but few countries have shown as much affection for this dessert with chestnut noodle blanket as Japan.

There are even specialty shops for different Mont Blanc styles, from a six-seater Mont Blanc shop to waguri (Japanese chestnut) offering limited tickets at 9:30 a.m. each morning at Namashibori Montblanc, a chain of shops that has its own chestnut grove. squeezing machine to ensure maximum freshness.

In 1933, after the founder experienced an amazing excursion to the Royal Mont Blanc in France, he asked permission from both the mayor of Chamonix (where Mont Blanc is located) and the then president of the Mont Blanc Hotel in the city before to name him. its Tokyo dessert shop in honor of the delicious treat.

Cream puffs

Beard Papa's is one of the largest Japanese cream puff chains.

Beard Papa’s is one of the largest Japanese cream puff chains.

Papa’s beard

Akabame says that despite the evolution of so many amazing desserts, her absolute favorite is a classic dessert: Burns.

The pastry chef is not alone.

In a recent study published by Seven-Eleven convenience stores in Japan, the best-selling dessert is its choux a la crème, known locally as shu kurimu. It is a crispy, light paste with a cream filling. (Mont Blanc was third in the same classification.)

In the 1850s, Yokohama was a designated foreign settlement and was open to foreigners living and working there. It was there that a French baker introduced his first strokes of cream to Japan.

The candy soon became a hit, with pastry chefs from all over Japan traveling to Yokohama to learn the craft.

Cheesecake

The Morozoff Bakery is believed to have created the first Japanese-style cheesecake in 1969.

The Morozoff Bakery is believed to have created the first Japanese-style cheesecake in 1969.

Morozoff Limited

Founded by a Russian pastry chef in Kobe in 1931, Morozoff started as a chocolate shop. But it wasn’t until 1969, when then-President Tomotaro Kuzuno was tasting a cheesecake in Berlin, that the brand was inspired to create a Japanese version.

Japanese cheesecakes are often praised for their light, fluffy texture, a marked difference from the dense versions that many know and love.

The soufflé cheesecake, also known as the dance cheesecake, is the fluffiest version of all the variants of Japanese cheesecake. It is so light and airy that it shakes when moving.

It is usually made by folding cream cheese into a meringue: the foam is made from beaten egg whites, resulting in a very fluffy texture.

Puff pastry pancakes

Flipper's Japanese Pancake Restaurant specializes in fluffy soufflés pancakes with sumptuous accessories.

Flipper’s Japanese Pancake Restaurant specializes in fluffy soufflés pancakes with sumptuous accessories.

The pinball machine

Similar to the idea of ​​soufflé cheesecake, Japanese soufflé pancakes are hot cakes made from meringue, resulting in an extremely airy texture.

The origins of these delicious and highly photogenic are murky, but most agree that the trend started in Japan in the last five or ten years.

Now appearing on Instagram channels around the world, these piles of fluffy, fluffy pancakes, which are eaten all day, not just for breakfast, accompanied by colorful fruit and cream, are available in many specialty stores. from all over the world.

Popular pancake pancake restaurants include Flipper’s, which was founded in Japan in 2016. Since then, he has traveled to New York with Flipper’s SoHo opening in 2019. Flipper’s Singapore opened its first outlet in 2020.

Top Image Credit: Juchheim Group

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