Use a pan that doesn't easily burn. Put the ※ ingredients in the pan, and warm it up until the sugar has dissolved while mixing. Make sure to not let it come to a boil.
Turn the heat off, add the dried shiro-an powder, and mix well to dissolve. The powder forms clumps easily so be sure to mash them.
Turn the heat on to a low setting, and stir and knead the paste until it reaches your desired consistency. It burns easily, so keep stirring consistency and work fast.
The paste will keep stiffening up with residual heat, so take the pan off the heat as soon as you're done.
The paste will also become stiffer when it cools, so stop cooking it when it's a bit more liquid than you want.
Cover the paste with plastic wrap so that it doesn't dry out.
You can adjust the consistency depending on what you are going to use the paste for, but it tastes best when it's soft and creamy.
When the paste falls slowly from a spoon when scooped up as shown here, it was delicious spread on toast.
This is a bonus but... I wanted to make it really milky flavored, so I tried using just condensed milk to sweeten the paste. The next day the paste was like very hard clay!
Next, I tried adding sweetness with white chocolate and condensed milk. The paste became very soft, but the sweetness was cloying...
This time I tried adding condensed milk and sugar in equal amounts. The texture was moist and creamy and really nice! The moisture retaining powers of sugar are awesome! But! It was too sweet...
So, I took the middle road and used the amounts listed in this recipe, and it was just right. You do need sugar, even if it's a small amount. It was a learning experience!
Story Behind this Recipe
My friend Makunouchi told me about inexpensive and convenient dried shiro-an powder, so I've been using it to make many kinds of an (bean paste). I tried making a milk-flavored paste with it, and it was delicious.
If you reduce the paste too much and it become too stiff, add a little milk to loosen it up. If you prefer the paste to be sweeter, add more sugar to taste. If you prefer it to be less sweet, try reducing the condensed milk rather than the sugar. If you reduce the sugar the paste may become too stiff.