Celebrate the cherry blossom season with this delectable cherry blossom milk pudding. The soft silky pudding simply melts in your mouth.
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.
If you plan on visiting Japan, I highly recommend visiting during the cherry blossom season between the end of March to the 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 sightsee.
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 getting full-fat milk, heavy cream, and full-fat yogurt for the ultimate milk pudding. I used low-fat yogurt this time and the 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.
My Favorite Gelatine Sheet
Ever since I discovered gelatin sheet/leaf (read this post), I haven’t used the stinky gelatin powder. This German brand from Amazon works amazingly. No smell at all (maybe a 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 Them?
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 of flowers), and put weight on 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 completely dry. To preserve, pack them in a jar with salt (about 1:1 ratio). This way, they can keep for one year.
Where To Buy Them?
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 from this Japanese online store that ships internationally (this company also sells them on Amazon), or another brand on Amazon. You might be able to find it at Japanese grocery stores when in season. You can also purchase it from Weee!
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 is both sweet and a bit salty from 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 taste good.
Recipes Using Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms
Use salt pickled cherry blossoms this spring to make these delicious and pretty recipes! Happy spring!
Cherry Blossom Milk Pudding
For Milk Pudding
- 2 sheets gelatin sheets (5 g)
- 3 Tbsp hot water
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup plain yogurt (I used low fat)
- ¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
Cherry Blossom Jelly/Jello
- 8 salt-pickled cherry blossoms (you can buy them from this online store, which ships internationally)
- 1 sheet gelatin sheet (2.5 g; in order to set 1 cup (240 ml) of liquid, you will need 2 gelatin sheets. this pudding is softer in texture, not hard set)
- 1 ½ Tbsp hot water
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp sugar
- red food coloring (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- 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.
To Make 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 ml) 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 ml) 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.
To Make 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 ml) water and 2 tsp 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.
- 1 sheet gelatin = 2-3 g powdered gelatin, or approx 1 tsp
- 3 ½ sheets = approx 1 envelope Knox gelatin
- 4 sheets = approx 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin
- 1 tsp gelatin powder = ½ tsp kanten powder
- 1 tsp gelatin powder = 1 tsp agar powder
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on March 30, 2016.