Spring is still at its earliest shy stages here, but I already start dreaming of light refreshing desserts and those flavoured with matcha instantly come to my mind. This cold light matcha cream with its freshness, its astringency and its magnificent green colour perfectly embodies springtime and the boost of energy I desperately need now.
The recipe is based on a classic French milk and yolk baked cream, which can be tweaked with any chosen flavour. I took it from “Le meilleuret le plus simple de Robuchon“ and simply added matcha. At the time I made this cream for the first time I used the cheapest matcha available in Switzerland (which was quite expensive anyway, like every matcha I see in Europe). When I used a better quality product brought from Japan, I realised that not only the colour but also the taste and aroma had nothing to do with my first experiments. Instead of pale, greyish hue, I have been obtaining a vibrant, impressive green colour and intense taste. Now that I see my old photos and this one, I feel this is a completely different dessert! (Not to mention the flavours). I encourage everyone to avoid the cheapest matcha. Buying the second least expensive one will make a big difference (UPDATE: of course this advice is for those who live outside of Japan, where the cheapest matcha from a good brand is excellent anyway).
After dozens of creams prepared and thoroughly enjoyed, I must admit I still have a slight problem with matcha sediments staying at the bottom of each dish… It doesn’t bother me and I’m even delighted to find the most intense flavours at the bottom, but I thought it’s worth mentioning in case some of you have a trick to avoid this flaw.
If you feel like playing with matcha, you might also like these ideas:
Preparation: 1 hour + at least 2 – 3 hours in the fridge
3 or 4 individual baking dishes
Ingredients (makes 4 small or 3 medium creams):
400 ml (about 14 fl oz) milk (I used skimmed)
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar (or sweetener)
2 flat tablespoons matcha + some more to sprinkle before serving
Pour the milk into a pan.
Slowly bring the milk to boil.
Heat the oven to 140°C.
Combine the yolks, the sugar and the matcha.
Strain the warm milk into the bowl with egg yolks and mix everything with a spoon.
Wash the pan.
Pour the cream mixture into the pan.
Heat the mixture for about 10 minutes (without boiling), constantly stirring.
Strain it and put aside.
Boil a big amount of water.
Prepare a baking dish at least as high as the individual cream dishes and big enough to contain all the creams.
Strain the cream mixture once more into the individual dishes.
Place them in the big baking dish.
Fill the big dish with boiling water so that it comes up to the halfway point of the baking dishes.
Cover the creams tightly with aluminium foil and put (very carefully!) into the oven.
(This step is very important to avoid a thick “skin” forming on the top of the creams.)
Bake for about 25 minutes (the creams are ready when only the centre is slightly trembling, but the rest is set).
Let them chill and put into the fridge for several hours.
Serve very cold sprinkled with sieved matcha just before serving.