Friday, January 21, 2011

Fujicco Chestnut Pudding

Pudding or "purin" as it is called in Japan, is sold pretty much everywhere here, and I tend to pretty much ignore it. It's not that it's bad, but rather that the flavors tend to be pedestrian (vanilla, chocolate, and coffee) and also I'm not the biggest fan of pudding. There's also the fact that most of these little cups of thickened goo are full of fat and carry a high calorie punch for their size.

This caught my eye at the local Peacock supermarket for 108 yen ($1.33) because 75 grams (2.6 oz or about 3/4 cup) is only 91 calories and it is "kuri" or chestnut-flavored. Granted, chestnut is a common flavor in autumn and winter in Japan, but I never noticed it in pudding before. That's probably because I wasn't paying attention rather than because it wasn't on offer before. I was probably distracted by all of the chocolate in the next aisle.

This is made by a company called "Fujicco" and it was my first experience with a product of theirs. The company makes a vast array of foods for markets including "Caspia" yogurt (greek yogurt), health and diet foods, nata de coco, and vacuum-sealed bags of things which look like they have been regurgitated by a bizarre sea creature. The last item is my way of summarizing "food that is used in Japanese cooking which I don't consume."

The texture is surprisingly decent considering that it breaks up like a gelatinous blob rather than as a smooth creamy pudding. The smell is really quite nice with a roasted chestnut aroma that also brings coffee to mind. It is the roasting that brings about this comparison, not the actual presence of coffee.

The flavor is incredibly good. Chestnut is a flavor that is easy to screw up because too much is gag-inducing and too little leaves you shrugging. To me, this had the perfect balance of chestnut flavor and sweetness with a hint of something that reminded me of the brandy so often used in mont blanc desserts. I truly enjoyed this, and that surprised me.

As a great fan of Mont Blanc, I really loved this. It was like eating just the top off of a pastry except with a bit more intensity and sweetness and a lot less fat. I will definitely have it again, and would recommend it to anyone who is a great fan of chestnut paste or chestnut pastries.


Dani said...

Oh, wow! I would so eat that!! Glad you gave it a try! :)

p00lriah. said...

that looks more like flan, not pudding. i think a lot of times asian companies label flans incorrectly. when i see asian puddings, my head automatically translate them as flan, and most times flans are what's in the package. it could be just a language quirk.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to both of you for commenting.

P00lriah: I'm not sure what technically differentiates a flan from a pudding since both are generally the same except for texture. My guess is that a flan has more eggs in it, but frankly, I've never made a flan so I'm not sure. That being said, this is thickened with gelatin, so it probably is technically neither flan nor pudding, but the common translation of "purin" (among my English-speaking Japanese acquaintances) is "pudding".

Most purin in Japan though does seriously resemble flan or creme caramel.

p00lriah. said...

if wikipedia can be trusted, the japanese purin are typically flan (or custard pudding). my personal experience with asian "pudding" seems to coincide with the info from wiki. in US pudding are typically the smooth kind from the jell-o brand.

wiki also lists gelatin as a common thickening agent for those that want to take shortcuts making flan (i'm guessing commercial plants), so it's technically still a flan, just not a high quality flan. :P

ebidebby said...

It sounds delicious! You're absolutely right about chestnut flavor - if done well, the aroma is delightful.