Sesame Sponge Cakes with Sweet Bean Paste Recipe

This is what we're deconstructing:

Fried Sesame Mochi Balls with Sweet Bean Filling 芝麻球

#1: Sesame Sponge Cake

1 batch of cake syrup (made with erythritol, stevia, or xylitol)
a few drops of sesame oil

Simply add a few drops of sesame oil (which is very strong stuff) to your cake syrup until it starts smelling like sesame, and then soak the genoise with it.

#2: Sweet Red Bean Paste

1 batch of homemade red bean paste sweetened with your choice of sweetener

Either fill small molds with the paste and then freeze before removing, or spread the paste in between layers of cake.

#3: Sesame Tuile Cookies

1 batch of tuile dough
1/4-1/2 cup of sesame seeds, depending on how much you like them
a few drops of sesame oil

Mix in a few drops of sesame oil, and then the amount of sesame seeds you like into the tuile dough until fully combined, then continue with baking directions to make tuile cookies.

photo credits:

Portuguese Egg Tart Spoons Recipe

Low-Carb Portuguese Egg Tart Spoons: 

This is what we're deconstructing:

Portuguese Egg Tarts 蛋挞

#1: My Pate Brisee Sweet Tart Crust Recipe OR your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe

Use bake-able spoon molds, OR form tin foil around a spoon to make a DIY mold. If you're not using a non-stick silicone mold, then you'll need to create a non-stick coating by first greasing it with a thin layer of butter or oil, then dusting that layer with flour or starch of some kind. Turn them upside down and tap them well to get rid of any excess flour/starch, then you're all set to add the tart dough.

Fill the moulds with the dough, then freeze for 30 minutes. Bake them in a pre-heated oven according to the instructions for the above recipe, making sure to check halfway through and removing them as soon as they start to turn light brown.

Cool completely at room temperature before add the custard "caviar".

(Bonus step: coat the spoons in white chocolate before adding the caviar, this acts as a "waterproof" layer if you're planning on setting the dessert out for longer than 10 minutes before eating. Longer than 10 minutes, and the "caviar" would otherwise start to moisten the cookie spoons, and they might even get a bit soggy.)

#2: Custard "Caviar" / "Pearls" Recipe:

1 batch (600 ml.) of creme anglaise vanilla custard sauce: recipe link
1 tsp. of agar agar powder OR 2 tbs. agar agar flakes OR 1 tbs. of powdered gelatin
1 large jar or bowl filled with very cold grain oil (any neutral oil liquid at room temp. NOT olive oil)

First soak your gelling agent for 5 minutes in an equal volume of cold water. If using agar agar, next boil in the microwave or over the stove for about 1 minute, careful not to scorch it in the microwave (just stir it often). Add to the room-temperature or warm custard sauce (NOT cold) and combine well. If using gelatin, melt it in the microwave on 10 second bursts, stirring in between, and stop as soon as it has all dissolved. Add to CHILLED custard sauce, mixing well.

Set out your very cold oil in a deep bowl or large jar, and dribble little spoonfuls of the custard sauce into it. It should form little spheres and float to the bottom. It's best to do this in batches and so that the spheres don't crowd each other and get squished. Strain the "caviar" through a fine mesh sieve (pour the oil into another large bowl and reuse), rinse them quickly in cold water, then store in the fridge until needed.

Bubble Tea Jelly Mooncake Recipe

Low-Carb Bubble Tea Jelly Mooncake: 

(based off of this recipe for mango coconut jelly mooncakes:

Milk Tea Cream Filling:
3/4 ts. agar agar powder
1 cup stevia-sweetened half and half (or full cream)
1 black tea bag or 1 tbs. loose-leaf black tea

Mix cool liquid with agar agar until combined, then bring to a boil over low heat and simmer for one minute, stirring. Turn off the heat and add one bag of black tea (one tablespoon of loose tea) and let steep for three minutes, or longer depending on how strong of a tea flavor you prefer. Remove the tea bag or strain out the leaves, and pour the liquid into small round molds (cupcake liners could work) while still hot (agar agar will set at room temperature, while gelatin won't set until chilled). Make sure the molds are small enough to allow the set filling to fit inside the mooncake molds while still leaving enough space for the outer jelly. Allow filling to chill at room temperature or in the fridge until set.

"Brown Sugar" Jelly Outer:
3.75 ts. agar agar powder
2.5 cups liquid (of your choice) sweetened with stevia and flavored with a few drops of molasses

Mix cool liquid with agar agar powder until combined, then bring to a boil over low heat and simmer for one minute. Pour into mooncake molds, filling only 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full. Let set, then add the cooled filling on top. Add the still-warm brown sugar jelly over top to fully immerse the milk tea filling and fill the mooncake molds to the brim. Set at room temperature (30-ish minutes depending on how large the mooncakes are, and how chilly your kitchen is) or in the fridge. Carefully remove and serve. (No need to loosen from molds using heat, agar agar sets much more firmly than gelatin, so it should remove rather easily.)


  • You can use any sweetener you like here, but since it is not needed for structure or mouthfeel, I recommend stevia because it is lowest in calories. (DO NOT use sucralose/Splenda or aspartame/Equal, google their toxicity)
Boba photo credit: 040; vivis via photopin (license)


Deconstructed & Remade: Popular Chinese Sweets

#1: Bubble Milk Tea 珍珠奶茶

This is one of THE most popular drinks in China. 珍珠means pearls and 奶茶 means milk tea. The pearls are chewy and made of tapioca starch. I think the Chinese slang word 'Q' (meaning chewy) might've been invented just to describe tapioca pearls.

Originally made popular in Taiwan, the best type is made with pearls stewed in brown sugar.

In English, this drink is also called Boba, Boba Tea, and Pearl Milk Tea. (It's popular in most of Asia as well as California, USA.)

I deconstructed this by making a brown sugar jelly 'mooncake' with milk tea cream filling.

-Bubble Tea Mooncake Recipe-

#2: Portuguese Egg Tarts 蛋挞

As the name suggests, these 蛋挞 originally came from Portugal, and their popularity in China started in what used to be part of Portugal's trading empire: Macau. Today these can be found in any Chinese bakery, as well as in specialty shops. The crust is traditionally puff pastry style, but often you'll see short crust versions, and the filling is a very simple baked custard.

I deconstructed this by making a spoon out of pate brisee tart crust and filling it with custard "caviar".

-Egg Tart Spoons Recipe-

#3: Fried Sesame Mochi Balls w/ Sweet Bean Filling 芝麻球

If you don't know what mochi is, educate yourself here (video).

These "sesame balls" are actually little balls of mochi, filled with sweet red bean paste (AKA anko or 豆沙), then rolled in sesame seeds and deep fried. Like anything fried, these are a million times better fresh, with a crunchy-crisp outer shell and chewy-sticky-sweet insides.

I deconstructed these by making sesame sponge cakes layered with sweet red bean paste and topped with crispy sesame tuile cookies.

-芝麻球 Sesame Red Bean Petits Fours Recipe-

#4: Black Sesame Tang-yuan Mochi Dumplings 黑芝麻汤圆

These start out similar to the sesame balls above, but they're filled with sweet black sesame paste, and instead of being fried, they're boiled and served soft in a sweetened hot water.

These are traditionally eaten during 元宵节 Lantern Festival, but they're available frozen in supermarkets all year round.

 I deconstructed this one by making LadyandPups' Black Sesame Mochi Ice Cream.

If you're new to Chinese desserts and flavours, and don't have access to these original treats, try out these deconstructed versions and start eating your way across cultural borders.


Photo credits:

Egg tarts photo credit: Portuguese Egg Tarts, Macau via photopin (license)
Boba photo credit: 040; vivis via photopin (license)
Tangyuan photo credit: Immigrant Nation via photopin (license)
Fresh sesame balls photo credit: 芝麻球 & 蕃薯球
via photopin (license)
Lantern Festival photo credit: festival of lanterns 6 via photopin (license)
芝麻糊 photo credit: 芝麻糊 sesame dessert
via photopin (license)
Tapioca Pearls photo credit: Black tapioca pearls via photopin (license)
red beans photo credit: Adzuki Beans via photopin (license)
Shaved ice photo credit: 1 via photopin (license)
Mochi colored photo credit: Sanshoku Dango via photopin (license)