Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sweet Adzuki Bean Tartlets

Adzuki beans (or red beans) are common in a variety of Asian desserts.  There are sweet red bean pastries, cakes, breads, steamed buns, and even soups!  One of my favorites while growing up was Filipino halo-halo, which is a mixture of shaved ice, ice cream, milk, beans, custard, fruit, and an array of other sweet ingredients. I remember only wanting to eat the red beans, but they were always at the bottom of the cup.  Boo.  My red bean obsession has continued into adulthood, and into my cooking.  These tartlets are nothing fancy and the recipe could probably use some tweaking in terms of tartlet structure.  But the flavor and concept are really all that matter, right?  :)  These are yummy and best eaten whole.  That's the beauty of tartlets!

Makes 16 tartlets

1 cup dried adzuki beans, soaked in water overnight (or use canned adzuki beans/paste)
1 cup granulated sugar (adjust based on your desired sweetness level)
A pinch of salt
Dough for a 9"-inch pie crust (your own favorite vegan recipe or this one)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon agave nectar
A mini muffin pan

  1. Cook the pre-soaked beans by boiling them in water for about an hour until tender, or with a pressure cooker. (3 minutes once pressure is reached; natural release)
  2. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add the sugar and salt and let simmer until the sugar is melted and the mixture is thick. You can mash the beans into a paste or you can leave them somewhat whole. Up to you.
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mold the pie dough into the mini muffin pan. You can do this by rolling the dough and cutting out small circles or by forming small balls of dough with your hands and pressing them into the muffin tin.
  3. You can use pie weights or some dried beans to keep the dough from puffing up. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned. 
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  1. Mix the coconut flakes, sesame seeds, and agave nectar together in a small bowl. Adjust the measurements to get your desired texture. You can also add some granulated sugar for additional sweetness. 
  1. Fill each crust with the bean filling and top with the coconut mixture. Voilà!

I wanted to keep the beans whole, so I didn’t mash them into a paste. If you're not too keen on seeing whole beans in your desserts, you can follow the instructions for preparing red bean paste here. Or if you’re close to an Asian grocery store, you can find cans of ready-made red bean paste there.

Oh, you'll likely have some leftover red bean filling. I did. And I ate it like chili. Yummy. Fiber is good for you!

Enjoy! :)