Azuki Red Bean Ice Cream, #SundaySupper Birthday Party

Why am I writing about red azuki bean ice cream in the dead of winter? I’ve been invited (and so are you!) to a Sunday Supper birthday party. Plenty of cake is sure to be served. But birthday cake just isn’t the same without ice cream. And red azuki bean paste is what fills an-pan bread – a popular Japanese winter warming bun. (Anko - red azuki bean paste - is made from boiled beans and lots of sugar.) So, I thought it was logical to bring red azuki ice cream to this January birthday party. (Does this make sense to you, too?)

An-Pan Bread: Japanese Winter Comfort

Here are the details behind the Sunday Supper birthday party. (Please scroll down for more info about your invite.) Isabel Laessig of Family Foodie is the grande dame of Sunday Supper. She is on a mission to bring families together around the dinner table. Two years ago Isabel created a #SundaySupper chat on Twitter. Initially a small band of friends exchanged recipes and tips, two years later the Sunday Supper crew is comprised of bloggers from around the globe. Every week foodies bake, cook and (make ice cream) for an announced theme. Today we celebrate Sunday Supper’s second birthday!

Red Azuki Bean Ice Cream in a fancy wine glass...
garnished with cheesecake Pocky!

The host of today’s Sunday Supper party is Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake. She is the lady who kindly welcomed me to the SundaySupper and was my mentor. Liz is elegance personified. Many of her dishes are gourmet and/or French inspired. The humblest chocolate fudge recipe gets elevated to another level when touched by Liz ‘s hands. So you know this is going to be one classy turning-two birthday party.

In keeping with the upscale crowd, I turned to Saveur magazine for inspirational ice cream recipes. Sure enough I found one that infused red azuki bean paste into a vanilla bean ice cream base. I tweaked the recipe a bit and was delighted to discover an ice cream that murmured a distinct flavor of red azuki bean. I love red bean paste in my an-pans and traditional Japanese cakes. However, in ice cream I prefer a giggle of flavor. 

Red Azuki Bean Paste Ice Cream Clown
(This may be an upscale Sunday-Supper-is-turning-two birthday party
but my inner two-year-old couldn't resist!)

If you prefer a guffaw – a more pronounced flavor - of azuki bean in ice cream, you’ll love the Maeda-en brand’s ice cream. (Available in many Asian markets.) Of course, you can always adjust the bean paste called for in the recipe below to your birthday / celebration treat taste.

Azuki Red Bean Ice Cream

Always-popular Japanese bean paste blends beautifully with classic American vanilla bean ice cream. This azuki red bean ice cream bridges the best of Japan and America into one creamy delight. The recipe is inspired by and adapted from Saveur magazine.

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ½ tablespoons French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup sweetened red bean paste
  • Drops of pink food coloring

Get out your sharpest knife. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the insides into a bowl. Add ¼ cup of the sugar along with the vanilla powder. Mix well.

Combine the sugar and vanilla mixture with the rest of the ingredients - except the bean paste and food coloring. Whip until slightly custardy and thick.

Pour into a container with a tight lid. Refrigerate overnight.

Churn the custardy mix in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. After 10 minutes, slide spoonfuls of bean paste into the whirl of creamy goodness. Add a drop or two of pink food coloring, if desired. (Left alone, a very pretty pale shade of lavender appears.)

Once the bean paste is incorporated into the cream mixture, transfer to a Tupperware bowl (or similar container) and freeze overnight.

Have sweet dreams and awaken to a day promising a divine dessert.

More Sunday Supper Birthday Party Food:

Brilliant Breads and Breakfast Fare:

Amazing Appetizers and Cocktails:

Spectacular Soups and Salads:

Enticing Entrees:

Decadent Desserts:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement


Japanese Red Azuki Bean Ice Cream:
Great for birthday parties and celebrating every day.

The best birthday present anyone can give is their care...I've been gifted many times in 2013 by fellow Sunday Supper participants online and even in person. Who knew that a chat around a virtual dinner table could create bonds of friendship? 

Wishing you good friends and food to celebrate every day!

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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