Friday, March 13, 2009

Variety Friday: Kinako Mousse from Pizza Hut

How do you know when a particular flavor has made the journey from flash in the pan to genuine fad? You know when the major fast food joints start including that flavor in its short-lived side dishes and extras. Kinako, toasted soybean flour, officially has "arrived" as the food fad of this winter/spring when places like Pizza Hut maneuver dishes incorporating that taste into their menu.

This dessert is a light vanilla mousse with a kinako top layer. One of the selling points is that the soy flour is produced with 100% domestic soybeans. There has been a lot of anxiety over the past year or so about food grown in China and consumers feel reassured when they learn something is grown in Japan. My feeling has been that the safety issues with Chinese food have been overblown to boost sales of more expensive Japanese agricultural products.

These desserts are delivered to you frozen so you can't eat them right away. They're about 20 cm (7.8 in) in diameter and cost ¥1200 ($12.20). I've had many varieties of these and they are always the same thing. There is a base made of sponge cake or light pie crust topped with a layer of light, fatty mousse which resembles whipped cream. It's not too sweet, but also not intensely flavorful. Often, there are two layers of mousse of different flavors, though not always.

In the past, I've tried chestnut (marron), chocolate, and vanilla varieties, but I have not sampled this kinako number. The reason for this is that, though the Pizza Hut mousse desserts are always kind of nice, they're greatly over-priced for their quality and quantity. You could buy 4 nice fresh cakes at a premium cake shop for the same price as 4 servings of this mousse. Pizza Hut is hoping to get people to overspend and buy something with their pizzas because they happen to have a craving for sweets and are too lazy to go out in get something. This might be worth it at half the price, or if it was fresh rather than something they keep stacked up in their freezers.


Kelly said...

If you hadn't said it was 20cm i would have thought it was a biscuit, that's what it looks like in the picture.

Orchid64 said...

The pictures do give the impression of being smaller than the actual product, but these are pretty small. In the U.S., I'd imagine that this would be seen as no more than 3 servings and possibly only 2. In Japan, I wonder if this is supposed to be seen as 6 servings.

I have purchased these in the past only when we have coupons that make them essentially free. I always regret it even when I pay next to nothing for them.

Thanks for commenting!

ebidebby said...

I like kinako, and kinako mousse sounds like it could be great, but maybe not by Pizza Hut. Interesting stuff, though! In the US, the most exciting pizza place desserts are cinnamon sticks and brownies.

Orchid64 said...

I haven't been to the U.S. for a long time, but I think the cinnamon sticks appeared for about 2 seconds in Japan and I tried them...and actually liked them, but they were pure evil.