Sweet Potato and Chestnut Candies

It is customary in Japan to offer special bean paste candies with tea. The candies tend to be very sweet by themselves, but contrast well with Japanese green tea. They also make an unusual dessert at the end of a special evening meal.


makes 18
450 g (1 lb) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
2 egg yolks
200 g (7 oz) 1 cup sugar
60 ml (4 tbsp) water
75 ml (5 tbsp) rice flour or plain flour
5 ml (1 tsp) orange flower or rose water (optional)
200 g (7 oz) can chestnuts in heavy syrup, drained
caster sugar, for dusting
2 strips candied angelica
10 ml (2 tsp) plum or apricot preserve
3 - 4 drops red food colouring


1. Place the sweet potatoes in a heavy saucepan, cover with cold water and add the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Drain and return to the pan. Mash until smooth or rub through a wire strainer. Place the egg yolks, sugar and water in a bowl, then mix in the flour and orange flower or rose water, if using. Add the potato puree and stir over a gentle heat for about 3 - 4 minutes.Turn the paste 3ut on to a tray and allow to cool.

2. To shape the paste, place 10 ml ( 2 tsp) of the mixture in the centre of a wet, cotton napkin. Enclose the paste in the napkin and twist into a nut shape. Make sure the napkin is properly wet or the mixture will stick to it.

3. To prepare the chestnuts, rinse off the syrup and dry well. Roll the chestnuts in caster sugar and decorate with strips of angelica. To finish the sweet potato candies, colour the plum or apricot preserve with red food colouring and decorate each candy with a spot of colour.

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