All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kurimanju / chestnut cakes

A humble autumn confectionery with candied chestnut and white bean paste. Tastes great with bitter or strong unsweetened tea.


(for 5 cakes)

5 kuri no kanroni candied chestnuts
75g shiroan sweet white bean paste

30 g all-purpose flour
10 g rice flour
1/2 egg yolk (use 1/4 for dough and 1/4 for egg wash)
20 g condensed milk
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp water (not in photo)

1/4 tsp mirin (to mix with egg yolk for egg wash)

White poppy seeds (optional; not in photo)


In a medium bowl, put condensed milk, honey, 1/2 (4-6 g) egg yolk, baking soda and water, and mix well.


Mix flour and rice flour well, and sift into condensed milk mixture bowl.

Mix well.

Cover, and let sit for 30+ minutes.


Meanwhile, mix remaining egg yolk with mirin, and strain.


Divide shiroan into 5 (15g each).

Wipe moisture from kuri no kanroni well, and wrap each with shiroan.

Preheat oven to 180C/360F.


Place dough on board sprinkled with flour, and lightly coat surface with flour to prevent dough from sticking to your hands.

Divide dough into five.


Flatten each dough piece, and wrap shiroan-covered chestnuts.

Put flour on fingers as necessary if dough is sticky.

Place manju cakes (with wrapping closure at bottom) on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat.


Apply egg wash (egg yolk and mirin mixture) on top.

Wait 5 minutes until egg wash is somewhat dry.
Apply egg wash once again.


Bake until top is brown, 15 minutes or so.
Cool, and place in a covered container.

The crust is relatively crunchy immediately after removal from oven, but it softens by the next day.

  • Kurimanju in the top photo are formed with a pointy end; egg wash is then applied to the round end, which is dipped in white poppy seeds, followed by two applications of egg wash on the remaining top surface before baking. White poppy seeds are available at Indian grocery stores in the US.
  • Mirin is added to the egg wash in order to obtain a darker color in the final results.
  • Kurimanju shapes range from perfectly round to a flat oblong. 
  • Some kurimanju uses a mixture of sweetened chestnut paste or chunks and shiroan inside instead of a whole candied chestnut.
  • The rice flour above is from the Western baking ingredient shelf and is not the joshinko rice flour used in traditional Japanese confectioneries. If rice flour is not available, use corn starch or more all-purpose flour. I mix in rice flour in order to get a lighter dough texture after baking.


Anonymous said...

Can I substitute the condensed milk? The stuff I could get here is different than the condensed milk I know from the US. Thinner, perhaps not as concentrated. I'm also hesistant when it comes to buying ingredients I don't really have any other use for, especially when they go off quickly. Maybe swap for a small piece of (melted) butter?

I realized I'm not perfectly happy with the Japanese recipe I've used so far. I don't make these that often only when in season, although I do love kuri manju. The recipe I use results in a rather stiff, unyielding dough which makes it very hard to wrap around the filling. It's often virtually impossible to smooth out the pleats and creases so I hide them at the bottom. Sometimes even some of the shiro-an leaks out while baking :( I'm a fan of your recipes and the addition of honey might give a better color as well.

Regards, Philip

neco said...

Have you considered making your own condensed milk? You only need milk and sugar. Some people use evaporate milk, but regular milk seems to work just fine. Mix 20-40g sugar per 100cc milk, and cook on low heat, stirring often, until thickened (or microwave in a tall container for 30+ seconds; need to often pause and mix). The finished color is soft caramel.

The dough photo above with broken edge (the second photo of Process 7) is actually a bad example. When the dough has enough moisture, the edge would be smooth. The amount of water under the ingredients section should be enough (I took the number from my successful cases), but you can add a bit more if the dough mixture looks dry and crumbles easily before letting it sit.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tip! I will definitely try that. The (sweetened) condensed milk cans you can buy in Asian supermarkets around here are too big for my purposes.
Can I use whole-fat (3.8%) milk?

So far, I've used another recipe - not yours - and really want to try this one. Especially as it still is chestnut season in a way.

Again, thank you for your help; it is much appreciated.


neco said...

Hi Philip,

Yes, milk with any fat content should be OK. Hope it works.

I see some recipes don't use condensed milk. They use cake flour, sugar (or a combination of sugar and honey), butter, whole egg and baking soda. I will try a butter-version recipe next and see how it works. I imagine that the crust would be crunchier than the condensed milk version on the first day but equally softened by the next day. It is handy to know more options.

Anonymous said...

I made the condensed milk a couple of days ago (turned out well I think) and just finished a batch of kuri manju.

It's good that you noted that you used 5-6g egg yolk, my egg yolk weighed over 22g!

I used 32.5g flour and 7.5g starch (katakuriko) as I didn't have 'normal' riceflour. I ended up adding roughly 2 tsp of flour later on as the dough was too moist but I think there could be a number of reasons for this: home-made condensed milk, the type of honey used &c. Next time I'd just leave out the water at first, see how the dough comes together and adjust accordingly.
Nevertheless the dough was pliable, soft and smooth - and very sticky ;) Maybe the honey. I was able to wrap the chestnuts coated in shiroan nicely and mold into 'chestnuts'.

Thanks so much for your help and I, too, would be interested in alternative - and new - recipes.