It’s the cherry blossom season! According to the cherry blossom forecast, Tokyo is having cherry blossom in full bloom today! I made a cherry blossom milk pudding (桜ミルクプリン) to celebrate spring and to enjoy the short cherry blossom season, which usually lasts only 1-2 weeks.
Photo: Tedd Okano/Flickr
If you plan on visiting Japan, I highly recommend visiting during the cherry blossom season between end of March to beginning of April (it’s hard to predict when it’ll exactly happen each year) or fall. The weather is nice and it’s just a beautiful time to sight see.
Silky, Light and Not-So-Sweet Cherry Blossom Milk Pudding
My family loves this milk pudding that I make with fruit jelly (or Americans would say jello) on top. I sometimes make plain milk pudding and serve with seasonal fruit compote.
“Milk” pudding is made with just a few simple ingredients, milk, heavy cream, and yogurt. I highly recommend to get full-fat milk, heavy cream, and full-fat yogurt for the ultimate milk pudding. I used low-fat yogurt this time and result also turned out really well. I’ve been using this ratio of milk/heavy cream/yogurt for a long time since we really love it, but you’re welcome to experiment and play around with ratio to your liking.
Get PerfectaGel Sheet instead of Gelatin Powder!
Ever since I discovered gelatin sheet/leaf (read this post), I haven’t used the stinky gelatin powder. This German brand from Amazon works amazing. No smell at all (maybe tiny bit if you’re super sensitive) and it is much more pleasant to make gelatin desserts these days. I highly recommend!
Edible Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms
Last summer when I was in Japan, my high school friend gave me a care package of Japanese ingredients that she thought I would enjoy. She loves cooking too, so the box has a lot of cool ingredients that I can’t easily get in the U.S. One of them was salt pickled cherry blossoms.
I actually forgot about them until a few weeks ago! The cherry trees in our backyard had bloomed already in warm California back in February, but it’s a good thing I found them before everywhere else has a cherry blossom season.
How To Make Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms
Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms are made with Yaezakura (八重桜). You’ll need to carefully handpick tender young buds, washed, drained/dried, sprinkle salt over the flowers (about 1 cup salt for 10 cups flower), and put a weight the top. Next day, you will squeeze out and discard brine, and submerge the flowers in ume plum vinegar (梅酢) and let them sit for about 3 days. Finally, let them dry in a single layer for 3 days in the shade or until they are comply dry. To preserve, pack them in a jar with salt (about 1:1 ratio). This way, they can keep for one year.
Where To Find Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms
Too much work to make salt pickled cherry blossoms from scratch? Or there are no cherry blossoms around you? Don’t worry, you can purchase these salt pickled cherry blossoms online here. The store ship internationally!
Creamy Cherry Blossom Milk Pudding with Sakura Jello on Top
I am usually not very proud of my desserts, but I would say this is probably one of the most beautiful desserts I make at home. So what does this pretty dessert taste like you might wonder? The bottom milk pudding part is very similar in texture and flavor to panna cotta. To celebrate cherry blossom season, I made pink cherry blossom jelly to go on top.
The top layer are both sweet and a bit salty from the the salt pickled cherry blossom, and the combination of salty cherry blossom jelly, creamy and gently sweet milk pudding is a match made in heaven! You can definitely try making different flavors to go on top of the milk pudding base, let me know what you made and what combinations tastes good.
I hope you enjoy making this Cherry Blossom Milk Pudding recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
CHERRY BLOSSOM RECIPE
- 5 g gelatin (2 gelatin sheets) (Buy online)
- 3 Tbsp. hot water
- ⅔ cup (160 g) whole milk
- ⅓ cup (70 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) plain yogurt (I used low fat)
- ¾ cup (180 g) heavy cream
- Put the salt pickled cherry blossoms in a small bowl and add water to cover the flowers. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes to remove the saltiness from the flowers.
- Milk Pudding: Cut 2 gelatin sheets into thin strips and put in a small bowl. Pour 3 Tbsp. hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely. If it’s not completely dissolved, microwave for 30 seconds and mix.
- In a small saucepan, heat ⅔ cup (160 g) milk and ⅓ cup (70 g) granulated sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved.
- When the milk is about to boil, turn off the heat (don’t let it boil!) and add the gelatin. Mix well and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup (120 g) plain yogurt, ¾ cup (180 g) heavy cream. Mix well to combine.
- Slowly add the milk mixture to the yogurt mixture while you stir.
- Run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve/strainer to achieve silky smooth texture.
- To speed up the process for solidify the milk pudding, fill up half of a large bowl with iced water. Place the bowl with mixture in the ice bath. It will take at least 30 minutes till the mixture becomes thicker and syrupy.
- Once the mixture gets thicker, pour to individual serving cups. Keep them in the refrigerator till the milk pudding sets, about 30 – 60 minutes.
- Cherry Blossom Jelly/Jello: Start this process only after your milk pudding has set. Cut 1 gelatin sheet into thin strips and put in a small bowl. Pour 1 ½ Tbsp. hot water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved completely. If it doesn’t get dissolved, microwave it for 20 seconds and mix.
- In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup (120 g) water and 2 tsp. (10 g) sugar over medium heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Gently squeeze water out of the salt pickled cherry blossoms and add them in the saucepan. Turn off the heat.
- Add the gelatin and give a quick mix and then add a tiny bit of red food coloring. If you want nice light pink color, add only tiny bit. You can always add a little more if you want it to be a darker red.
- Mix well so that color is evenly distributed. Place the saucepan over iced bath and let the mixture cool. This will make the mixture syrupy and thick.
- Once the mixture is slightly thicker, pick up the stem of the blossoms and gently place it on top of the milk pudding. Pour the mixture to cover the cherry blossoms on top of milk pudding.
- If you want the cherry blossoms to look bloomed, scoop the flower with the liquid mixture in a big spoon and pour onto top of the milk pudding.
- Keep in the refrigerator till the top layer is set (about an hour). Garnish the milk pudding with mint leaves and serve it chilled.
You can buy salt pickled cherry blossoms from here (the store ships internationally).
In order to set 1 cup (250 ml) of liquid, you will need 2 gelatin sheets (This milk pudding is more soft, not hard set). That's equivalent to
1 sheet gelatin = 2-3 g powdered gelatin, or approx 1 tsp.
3½ sheets = approx. 1 envelope Knox gelatin
4 sheets = approx. 1 Tbsp. powdered gelatin
1 tsp. gelatin powder = 1 tsp. agar/kanten powder
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.