The first–and only–time I had mochi was at the original Fatty Crab restaurant in New York City’s West Village. I went to this place every chance I got, before it was nearly impossible to get in. There was a time when there were no dessert items on the menu, but you would receive a little mochi cake with the bill. I had never tasted anything so pillowy (some people call that “heavenly”), chewy, and crunchy, all in the same bite. I needed more.
Fast-forward many years later, and I finally baked a mochi cake of my own. I used , as featured in Gourmet Magazine’s May 2005 edition. Changes made: addition of 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds sprinkled on the top of the cake batter, and sugar reduced to about 1 3/4 cups (simply because I ran out).
The result? Wonderful! Crunchy exterior, custardy and chewy on the inside. Next time: add more sesame seeds, try increasing sugar to 2 cups. They froze fairly well, though we’ll see how they hold up with a near two-week transit time to get to my brother in Afghanistan! They are very dense and satisfying, and great with a cup of tea in the evening.