Introduction: Hackentaschen! (Earl Grey Banana Mochi Pockets)

About: Former Artist in Residence at Instructables, currently Hacker Advocate at Hackster. Cofounder of ProtoTank, a hardware prototyping startup. FIRST kid (rock on, team 677!). Former board member at AHA (Ann Arbor…

A late worknight last week left me wanting to smoosh something around with my hands. So, to overcomplicate this simple pleasure: Hackentaschen!

They're like mochi-ice-cream balls, made with Earl Grey flavored mochi and frozen banana "ice cream". And since balls are difficult, these were formed into pockets. They have a flat triangular form that resembles closed-up hamentaschen. (Or squat samosas... squamosas?)

Step 1: Materials

I adapted a few different recipes for the mochi -- mainly this one. As other recipes seemed to vary or totally invert the ratio of sugar to mochigome (mochi flour), and I didn't want it too sweet, I made them equal. I also had imperial measuring cups, not metric, so I used ratios instead of converting the exact quantities:
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c mochigome
  • Earl Grey tea and water
  • Abundant cornstarch
The banana idea came from one I've seen posted in many places around the internet. You just need
  • 2 medium bananas
(I used three, which yielded much more than needed.)

Besides that, a few tools will make your life easier:
  • A bunch of spoons
  • Flat wooden pusher/smoosher thingy
  • Melon baller (optional)
  • Food processor

Step 2: 'Nanas

Put your 'nanas in the freezer, basically forever. I let mine chill from 11am to about 8pm, and they were rock-solid.

When they're ready, toss them in a food processor. I cut mine in half before freezing them, but 1" chunks were much, much easier to handle.

Throw in about 3/4 to 1 cup of banana chunks at a time, and process until they're super creamy and white and hold peaks. Remove this heavenly mixture to a bowl and put more chunks in.

Once you're done, put it back in the freezer.

Step 3: Mochi

As mentioned previously, this person has a good description of the process for making mochi. I won't pretend that I have any improvements; I set the microwave to 50% power, which I figured might be equivalent to "medium", but it was not so. After a few minutes, the mochi was still very sticky, but I rolled with it.

The main difference is that I substituted some strongly-brewed Cream Earl Grey tea for the water. I have a favorite version that's available from By the Pound in Ann Arbor, but you can get by with something less classy if you want. Brew it with lots of tea, and not for very long, to prevent the bitter taste that comes from over-steeping. (I could have gone longer; the mochi dough tasted sorta like Southern sweet tea, but this was only hinted at in the final product.) Let the tea cool before proceeding.

Roll with it

If you end up with super-sticky mochi, add clouds of cornstarch. If it's still sticking to the work surface, I found that it helps to add liberal mounds of cornstarch along the edge. Then, use a karate-chopping motion to sort of wedge this between the mochi and the board as you work the dough free. It isn't perfect, and you'll likely end up with holes.

Likewise, this was too sticky to use the cup-dipped-in-flour method to make pretty circles. So, I pulled off the least leaky-looking bits, smushing them between my starched hands to flatten them further. Then, everything went back in the freezer for a few minutes.

Step 4: Form the Balls!

As previously mentioned, the most successful method was to form little tetra-packety taschen thingies. A melon baller was deployed for making reasonably-sized scoops of the banana cream, which started to thaw fairly quickly. If you're making these, stay close to the freezer!

Keep a cup of water close by, and dip your fingers into it to sparingly wet the edges of the mochi before pressing them together. This helps seal the join.

Step 5: Deploy

Well, I liked them, and the others expressed appreciation without prompting, so I call that a win! Check out these delighted humans. Many even bit into these before asking what they were, which I think is a wonderful case study in how to take down the entire Instructables office at once... people seem used to eating weird stuff without question.

The banana cream also goes great with chocolate chip cookies!