In our time on the pastry side, there was daily production but also lectures/demos/written tests, and four practicals - using the dough sheeter, making pastry cream from memory, piping buttercream shapes, and drawing designs with chocolate. And, in addition, we were assigned a project called Bring Your Own Dessert (BYOD). The idea was that everyone would make a dessert in their own free time, something from their own culture/background, something they had an emotional connection to.
I decided to make mochi, the kind that I ate as a child from the take-out dim sum shops in San Francisco's Chinatown, the kind that contained peanut sugar and was coated outside with coconut bits. I couldn't find any recipe online for it - this was the closest thing I found so I modified that recipe and came up with my own. For those who know me, I gravitate toward not cooking with recipes, and I can be very resistant to measuring things, so I've never actually created my own recipes, but this might be the beginning of something.
Here are the ingredients you need to make 8-10 mochis:
10 oz rice flour, 10 oz water, and 2 oz sugar (for the mochi).
2 oz roasted peanuts and 1 oz sugar (for the filling).
1 oz vegetable oil and 3 oz shredded coconut (for the outer coat).
Professional recipes differ from home recipes in that all the ingredients are by weight and not by volume (hence ounces instead of cups). If you don't have a scale at home, just make sure the ratios of ingredients are correct (ex: 1 cup rice flour and 1 cup water and 1/5 cup sugar for the mochi).
Cooking the mochi is the hardest part. At least, I had to go through three attempts - the first two using the method that I had found online in that previously linked article (boiling the sugar with water, mixing everything in a stand mixer, etc. etc.). It was a laborious process, and moreover, IT DID NOT WORK. The mochi was unbearably sticky and completely impossible to work with. In a fit of desperation I combined the flour, sugar and water in a bowl (kneading out all the lumps with my hands), covered it with plastic wrap and microwaved it on high for 6 minutes. It worked! And, unlike the other method which took close to an hour, it took only six minutes.
While the mochi is cooling, combine roasted peanuts and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the peanut crumbs are to the size of your liking. (If you don't have roasted peanuts on hand, you can roast some yourself by putting some peanuts in the oven/toaster oven until they brown but before they burn.)
When the mochi has cooled enough to be touched, divide it into 8-10 pieces. Make sure your hands are coated with vegetable oil, or else the mochi will stick. Take a piece and press it flat onto your palm, then spoon some of the filling into the middle. Then lift the edges and pinch shut over the filling so the mochi forms a ball.
Roll the mochi ball in the shredded coconut (food process the shreds if you would like them to be more like bits) until evenly coated.
Place each mochi ball in a cupcake liner with the seam side down, or serve as is!
To see my classmates's BYOD projects, go to my flickr and scroll through by clicking 'Next'.