Craving makes you slightly insane I think. But what if the item is not available in a store, at least not within a 50 mile radius from my home then the only viable option is to make it? …right? Thank goodness for Google search, I found the recipe for this 100 year old popular sweets. The story behind it was even sweeter.
The birth place of Hiyoko, is a coal mining town of Iizuka, Fukuoka (飯塚、福岡) where sweets making flourished in the Meiji era. Japanese pasty shop owner Shegeru Ishizaka (石坂茂) who inherited the Yoshinodo (吉野堂) from his father was brainstorming new pastry shapes, non traditional and more adorable style for a while. Then one night chicks appeared in his dream…okay...that sounds a bit strange but .. it was a huge success. Eventually they opened a factory in Saitama, near Tokyo in 1964 the year the Tokyo Olympics were held. Hence, chicks population exploded!
To make this I have to start with white sweet bean paste. Unlike sweet azuki bean paste, white sweet bean paste is…well…not in the store. Oh shucks! I spent an entire afternoon stirring, washing many pans. cleaning kitchen, I was just trying to make it to the finish line, refraining from a strong desire to tear the recipe up. I seriously thought about calling my son for a big box of chicks…express delivery of course.
Ingredients and Instruction for white sweet bean paste yield about 200g
(Print Recipe here)
Necessary equipment : food scale, food processor, colander, fine mesh sieve
- 250g white kidney beans Substitute option: large lima beans
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 150g more or less sugar. I used made-in-Japan light brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Soak beans in plenty of water for at least 5 hours, overnight if possible.
- Drain water and place beans in the pot and pour water ( three or five times the weight of beans ). Bring to a full boil for 5 minutes then drain water.
- When the beans are safe to touch, peel off shell from the beans. discard shells. Return the beans to the same pot and add plenty of water to cover and the baking soda and cook at medium–low heat ( low boiling stage) until the beans are soft. 20 to 30 minutes. Skim off scum periodically.
- Drain the water. Put cooked beans in the food processor and puree.
- Rinse the same pan quickly, put pureed beans in. Add sugar and salt and cook at low heat,stirring constantly with wooden spatula. Careful not to burn the bottom. Cook till puree is like stiff mashed potato – when you lift spatula, puree won’t drop,15 to 20 minutes.
Ingredients and instruction of 6 Hiyokos
Necessary equipment: Spray Mister
- 200g white sweet bean paste – see recipe above
- 1 egg yolk
- 15g rice flour I used Joshinko (上新粉 –Top rated rice flour)
- 1/2 egg
- 5g sugar
- 5g corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder –sift with flours below
- 45g low viscosity flour
- 10g bread flour
- Make sweet egg paste - Add egg yolk to the white sweet bean paste and mix well. Put rice flour in the egg/ bean paste mixture and combine well. Divide in 6 then shape like marshmallow ‘peep’. Set aside. I’m on a roll… made 8 peeps.
- Make skin -Double boil egg stirring constantly at low heat, 1-2 minutes Add sugar and light corn syrup until incorporated. Remove from double boiler. Add sifted baking powder, flours. Knead with wooden spatula well. Rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 340 F. Set aside small amount of dough and roll out the rest of dough in a very thin sheet. Divide in 6ths. Cover the ‘peep’ shaped sweet paste (step # 1) from top and tuck underneath of peep, reshape to the way you want it to look. Use the set aside dough to make a tiny beak and stick to center of the face (I used water as glue) Make eye holes with tooth pick. Place on the baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper. Cover with damp cloth to avoid drying out while you make the other chicks.
- Mist entire peeps with mister. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Mist again and immediately wrap with plastic sheet and cool. Warning: If you don’t mist and wrap right away the skin will harden quickly.
I’m embarrassed that mine looked like seals (with big nose) rather than loveable chicks. I’m sure my chick making skill will improve with more practice… The question is, will be a next time?
In hind sight, I should have doubled the white sweet bean paste recipe and freeze it since it’s very hard to find item in store..Duh moment really.
And you know what? While I researching Hiyoko story, I saw that Amazon sells this! Boy they have everything! Amazoning! I mean Amazing!
Garden diary - I don’t remember planting those but a nice surprise!….fingerling potatoes my husband dug up. And Peter Pan Kabocha – I don’t want to grow up….size of baseball…fine, be that way.Found the sweet 100…twin…
All kidding aside, we did some serious weekend projects – cleaned the gutter, prep for winter, citrus scented Quince made into Jelly, the white flesh turned to gorgeous ruby…so magical!