Hydrangea (Japanese Confectionery) Made with Simmered Beans

Hydrangea (Japanese Confectionery) Made with Simmered Beans

The beautiful colors of the hydrangeas blooming in my garden intensify as the rain drops fall on them. I made this dessert with everyday ingredients.

Ingredients: 10 hydrangeas

Store-bought simmered white runner beans
1 packet (200 g)
☆ Powdered kanten
1/2 packet (2 g)
☆ Water
250 ml
☆ Sugar
60 g
Liquor of your choice
a small amount (optional)
★ Powdered kanten
1/2 packet (2 g)
★ Water
160 ml
★ Sugar
40 g
Grape juice
80 ml


1. I used store-bought simmered beans for the anko ball in the center. Of course, you could use your favorite sweet bean paste, shiro-an (white bean paste), zunda-an (crushed edamame), tsubu-an (chunky red bean paste), or koshi-an (smooth red bean paste), etc..
2. Divide the powdered kanten into 2 g portions. Wet the inside of the plastic containers (or Tupperware) which will be used to pour in the kanten liquid.
3. <For making 2 variations of kanten liquid> For the clear version: Add the ☆ ingredients to the pan, mix, and heat until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat, pour a small amount of rum or any liquor of your choice, mix, and pour it into the plastic container.
4. For the purple version: Prepare in the same way as the clear version. Add the ★ ingredients to the pan, simmer to dissolve, remove from heat, and put the bottom of the pan in iced water to cool. Once it's cooled, pour in the grape juice, mix, and pour it into the plastic container. Chill both containers in the refrigerator until both mixtures set.
5. Warm up the simmered beans in the microwave and put them in a bowl.
6. Mash the beans with a potato masher, or of course, it would be better processed in the food processor.
7. Divide the mashed beans into about 20 g portions. If using ordinary anko, roll into balls.
8. Once both variations of the kanten sets, cut into 5-6 mm dices.
9. Take 80 g of the clear variation of kanten, put it in a pan, and reheat to melt.
10. Set aside 120 g of the purple kanten (in the photo, it's set aside to the right). Combine the remaining 2 variations of diced kanten into your desired balance.
11. The clear kanten is melted in the photo.
12. Add the purple kanten set aside to the pan, mix, and melt in the residual heat. It's fine even if it doesn't melt completely. This kanten mixture will act like the glue.
13. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your palm, and spoon on about 30 g of the diced kanten.
14. Spoon on about 20 g of the kanten mixture acting as the glue from Step 12, and put the anko ball (simmered runner bean paste rolled into balls) from Step 7 on top.
15. As you push in the anko ball, wrap and tightly twist the plastic wrap to form the mixture into a ball.
16. Chill in the refrigerator again.
17. The inside looks like this.

Story Behind this Recipe

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite kinds of flowers, a true beauty during the rainy season. On the first attempt to make these confectioneries, I used two variations of homemade anko, shiro-an (white bean paste) and zunda-an (crushed edamame), to make balls of anko with two colors. So it took a while to create them. I happened to have store-bought simmered runner beans in the refrigerator, and I thought I could use that instead to make these desserts. I gave it a try and they turned out to be quite delicious.