Monday, July 5, 2010

Red Bean Desserts

As a person with a sweet tooth, I have eaten a wide variety of desserts in my life. Some of my personal favorites are red velvet and carrot cakes; pecan, lemon icebox and key lime pies; bread and banana puddings; and coconut macaroons. Most of them are traditionally made with plenty of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, butter and bleached flour and are deliciously unhealthy morsels of goodness with very little nutritional value. In the United States, the concept of a healthy dessert is the ultimate blasphemy to a mainstream pastry chef. I can rarely think of examples of truly healthy desserts that have garnered widespread acceptance. The top contenders for that award would probably be the N.O.I. bean pies, fruit tarts and whole grain breads and muffins in the baked goods category. Then, there's the frozen treats like yogurt, sorbet, parfait, and fruit pops. A google search for "healthy desserts" retrieved 1,320,000 results and here's a list of healthy dessert recipes from the world famous Mayo Clinic: Dessert Recipes.

Then, there was Chinatown. Here in Philadelphia, there are several Asian bakeries in Chinatown. The average U.S. American would probably think of many of the baked goods there as "bizarre". I've noticed pastries with meat such as pork, green tea, sesame paste, taro, duck egg, and my personal favorite--red bean. My first red bean dessert was a puff pastry ball. It was so delicious and faintly sweet that I have been eagerly trying all Asian products containing red beans. Here are some of the great finds:

Sweety Red Bean Ice Bar

These are pretty light and are filled with red bean pieces.

Red Bean Pancakes

I had these for breakfast this morning and I think I prefer them to pancakes and waffles.

Che Ba Mau

This is my Vietnamese obsession that my friend Ngoc introduced me to. It has red beans, Vietnamese jello, mung bean and coconut milk over shaved ice.

Do you know how healthy red beans are? WHFoods: Kidney Beans They are easily becoming one of my favorite dessert ingredients. I encourage you to give them a try.

Che ba mau image:

Red bean spoon image: