One of the many reasons the Japanese have the longest lifespans is their absence of sweet desserts. However, one of my favorite Japanese desserts is Mochi Ice Cream. Although I have enjoyed this dessert ONLY in a Japanese restaurant, I thought it might be fun to experiment and make it myself.
If you don’t know what Mochi Ice Cream is, picture a small frozen round of rice dough filled with ice cream. It reminds me of a Japanese ravioli, but much more fun. I actually made ice cream sandwiches with the Mochi dough and made rounds of ice cream to go in between two thin rounds of the dough. This became Mochi Ice Cream Sandwiches and they were so much fun to make AND EAT.
I first made three different flavors of ice cream that would work well with the rice dough. I made mango, green tea and coconut ice creams. After I processed them, I put them each into a separate square pan lined with plastic wrap. This would make it easier to use a round cookie cutter to cut out rounds to fit in between the Mochi dough rounds.
The Mochi dough was a bit more of a challenge. I purchased sweet rice flour from an Asian food market and combined it with water and coconut milk. Any thin liquid would work. I microwaved it until it became taffy-like. That is to say sticky, but not unmanageable. I then divided it and kneaded in some red food coloring to half the dough to contrast with the ice cream.
I rolled out the doughs on a work surface heavily dusted with cornstarch. I then cut out twice the number of rounds than I made with the ice creams. Be sure that the dough and ice cream rounds are both the same size. I froze the rounds for a short time so they would stiffen. This would make it easier to assemble the sandwiches later on.
On a foil lined sheet pan, I placed some of the Mochi rounds and lightly brushed them with water so that the ice cream would stick to the Mochi round. After placing an ice cream round on top of each round I topped off each ice cream with another lightly moistened Mochi round. I froze them until they became firm.
For a great presentation, I halved two different types of Mochi Ice Cream sandwiches and served a combination to each person stacked half on top of another half. Garnished with a little whipped cream, ganache and some berries it was quite the dessert!
What a hit they were when I served them to a friend who has to eat gluten-free. She was so happy that I had tried so hard to make her a GREAT GF dessert, because let’s face it, GF desserts can be pretty bad.
What I love about Mochi, the actual rice dough, and ice cream together is the combination of textures. There is the chewiness of the rice dough and the cold and creaminess of the ice cream. It is one of the lightest desserts you will ever have and one of the most exotic.
You must try it sometime even if you use store bought ice cream. Your stock will rise with all of your friends.