Yatsuhashi are Japanese pastries made of mashed red beans wrapped up in rice flour skins.
They are made in the form of very thin, flat triangles. You can see the filling in the centre through the pastry.
The pastry part is made from rice flour (a mixture of regular rice flour and the sticky rice flour called “Shiratamako”), with small amounts of soybean flour, sugar and cinnamon added to it. You mix the dough by adding some water, then either steam the dough for 15 minutes or microwave it for 2 minutes, then you knead the dough.
The bean filling is sometimes referred to as “bean jam.” Note that the sweetening and spice have gone into the dough, and don’t go into the bean mixture. Depending on the season, fillings on offer may be white bean paste mixed with chestnut or persimmon. Green tea paste may also be added as a flavouring.
To assemble the Yatsuhashi, the dough is rolled out and cut into squares. A small amount of filling is placed in the centre of each square, then it is folded into triangles.
The Yatsuhashi are not cooked, though they can be baked for about 3 minutes to crisp up the pastry at about 250 F (125 C), or on top of a similarly heated griddle.
In architecture, “Yatsuhashi” means a small, low bridge made of 8 planks laid down in zig-zag pattern, with no side rails.
Occasionally referred to as “otabes”, as in Otabe, the name of a famous maker of them in Kyoto.