|preserved sakura leaves
This variation of sakuramochi hails from the western Kansai region of Japan, and apart from being based on a combination of sticky doumyouji-ko rice and fragrant sakura leaves, differs quite a bit from the identically named but crepe-like Kanto-style Sakuramochi. The Kansai version wraps a ball of sweet anko bean paste in a layer of sticky doumyouji-ko rice flour, the coarse-grained texture of which is quite a contrast to the soft, smooth mochiko coverings of many other Japanese confections. The salt-preserved leaf wrapper may look unappetizing to the unfamiliar, but they are tender and marvelously fragrant, and the mild saltiness contrasts perfectly with the sweet interior.
Taking a bite into one is an adventure of textures in miniature, layering the crisp leaf, sticky, chewy rice, and soft center. The wonderfully delicate combination of flavors and textures will bring a little bit of Japan’s famed springtime in the form of dessert to teatime or dessert regardless of how far away you might be in season and location.