Monday, June 23, 2014

Baked Custard Pudding KitKats

Finally. I get around to reviewing these KitKats that can be baked - everyone else already has!

You can see some great reviews & pictures from the likes of Grocery Gems, Yummy Unchi, and Chocolate Mission. I'd love to see anymore reviews that have already been done too - these are such exciting and strange creations I'm sure there have been tons!

The KitKat brothers have truly had a banner year. In Japan they've opened up the very first shop dedicated purely to KitKats with the KitKat Chocolatory (English language & great photos here) which has seen coverage all over the internet & inspired even more KitKat lovin' folk with the fresh limited batches of some favorite flavors like green tea & chili. They've had some success here at home as well with the launch of the 'new' orange flavor Chunky for summer, and the KitKat cones arriving in shops. Of course, the big KitKat news this year that got everyone at the factory a company sponsored pizza party was the invention of the Baked Custard Pudding KitKat - from Japan, as you might guess.

This got press all across the world - after all, it sounds quite insane. Put a KitKat in the oven and take out a two-finger bar of creme brulee? What madman genius would even think of such a thing? Yasumasa Takagi, apparently! If you take a look at the cover his book available on Amazon, you might guess that he's a bit of a maverick pastry chef in Japan. He's got a few patisseries in Japan and this coming August, if I can remember, maybe I'll try & visit one!

So, I ordered my bag from OyatsuCafe - who had it for the cheapest price at the time but is no longer shipping due to the hot weather in Japan. I understand why, but I as a person living in the UK I can't help but think to myself "Well, they'd firm back up by the time they arrived at my house." It just barely ever reaches chocolate-melting temperatures here. Hey, fair enough though; I'm sure they've had enough experiences with people ordering in the summer & being annoyed at receiving goo that they just put a ky-bosh on the whole thing.

However, UK & EU readers are in luck because TofuCute is still stocking & shipping these! If you're interested, I'd snatch them quick as I've seen them sell out on the other UK based Japanese snack shop, sushinoms.

Once I opened the bag, I was already able to smell the strong vanilla extract scent emanating from these. It really did smell like baking, or rather unbaked vanilla sugar cookie dough. The color scheme is attractive, but I am a bit surprised that they didn't go with any sort of yellow & brown theme around the custard pudding/caramelizing uniqueness of these. The blue color reminds me more of the rum raisin KitKats than anything else.

I was lucky to get the 13-count bag, so I tried one 'raw'. It wasn't mind-blowing - it tasted like a more vanilla white chocolate, maybe a touch sweeter. While it was nice raw, it didn't really get me too excited to try them baked - it was a bit of a let down, actually. For that reason I'd recommend even if you have a large bag to just bake them all up. Believe me, you'll be regretting that wasted unbaked KitKat the second you try one warm from the oven.

I followed the direction of Grocery Gems blog post, but put them on the highest rack (as if I was grilling) and kept my oven a bit lower as mine is fan-assisted. Though when I checked after three minutes and saw they were sort of just melting I blasted it all the way up as high as it could go for the last minute or two. I have a feeling these can quite quickly go from melting & non-caramelized to burnt & wasted, so keep your eye on them!

I also highly recommend putting foil down, as they spread considerably and any mishap might lead to an oven or pan mess that would be hell to clean up. I mean, where do you find the instructions on how to clean up burnt-on KitKat goo? Stick with foil and a pan with sides and you should be fine.

The smell of baking vanilla had gotten even stronger as they stayed in the oven, definitely like a custard or baked vanilla sugar cookie.

The spread layers looked nice and 'burnt', in the way a good creme brulee appeals from it's burnt crust. They form a nice little lattice, and though I was worried about getting the whole kit & kaboodle off of the foil it was incredibly simple once I let them cool for about 2 or 3 minutes. Really, just wedge a fork underneath them and tilt up - or flip them directly into your mouth. You'd be happy you did.

It's amazing how these work, I have no idea how it happens but they truly get a crispy sugar crust and a pastry feel to about 80 percent of the bar. The rest is the cream from in between the wafers, and in my experience just a little melted chocolate still remaining in the section that joins the two fingers.

The taste was like a creme brulee - very very sugary outside, but with a delicate vanilla base & after taste. A fair amount of butteriness as well, and well - it just reminded me a lot of custard! A creme brulee, or a custard in a flaky pastry...either of those comparisons will work.

I think the photos do a better job if explain the textural madness at hand here than words ever could. These come with my highest recommendation, they were both incredibly tasty & really fun to 'make'. Grab them while you can at TofuCute, or wait until summer's over (for Japan, unfortunately - as here in the UK we'd just have to wait a matter of weeks) and get them from anywhere KitKats are Japan...that ship abroad.

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