Looking for a unique and slightly creepy dessert? These brains in jars jiggle just like real brains but taste delicious! These would be perfect for a Halloween or zombie themed party. And why stop with brains? Shape the dough into any kind of organ or specimen and make your own little edible laboratory! Just make sure that the jars you use are about double the size of the strawberries, because the dough will make them much bigger. I made this mistake while I was filming, and am very lucky that I have a dollar store in my building that I could run down to and pick up some bigger jars.
For the brain
For the clear jelly
- 500 ml clear apple juice
- 2 tsp gelatin
To make the dough:
- Gradually add the water to the shiratamako rice flour, dissolving it and creating a watery white liquid.
- Then add this liquid to the shiroan paste (which is a sweet, white kidney bean paste) in a small pot, and mix very well with a rubber spatula until the liquid is completely incorporated. Place the pot on the stove, and set it on medium-low heat. Keep kneading the dough with the spatula until most of the water has been absorbed, and it no longer has a shine. It should still have a paste-like consistency and hold together well, but feel and look slightly dryer than before. You don’t want to cook it so long that it begins to brown, and remove it immediately from the heat if you notice it browning. On the other hand, if you do not cook it long enough it will be much too sticky to handle.
- Once it has reached this stage, remove it from the heat, and spread the paste evenly along the insides of the pot, for it to cool. Spreading it around ½ to 1 cm thick will allow the paste to cool without drying out too much.
- Once the nerikiri has cooled enough to touch and not burn your hands, scrape it off from the pot with a spatula, and roll it into a ball. If it crumbles and cracks when you are trying to shape it, it has been overcooked, and if it sticks to your hands and is very difficult to shape, it has been undercooked. In both of these instances, I would recommend making a new batch. My first batch did not turn out well at all, but you will quickly get used to the dough and what it should look like. It should feel like a slightly denser version of Play-Doh.
- Knead the nerikiri together with the pink food coloring, and if you are going to add a happy face to your brains, tear off a small piece of the nerikiri and knead it together with some cocoa powder.
- Remove the stems from the strawberries.
- Lay out some plastic wrap, and spread over a thin layer of koshi an. Place the strawberry in the center, then wrap the plastic wrap around the strawberry. Repeat for the other strawberry. Divide the nerikiri into 2 balls, and flatten into 2 pancakes. Lay out a new sheet of plastic wrap, and spread the nerikiri out thinly. Unwrap the strawberries and place one in the center of each nerikiri pancake. Like with the koshi an, wrap the nerikiri around the strawberries with the plastic wrap.
- Unwrap the brains, and place them seam-side down. Then using a small spoon, make the wiggly lines on the brain. If these look a bit too realistic to you, make a little happy face with the nerikiri mixed with cocoa powder. Now they look like happy brains!
- Heat the apple juice in a pot, and add and dissolve the gelatin. Pour about 1-2 cm of apple juice into each jar, and then place the brains in the jars. Fill the jars the rest of the way with the apple juice.
- Place them in the freezer without their lid for 20 minutes, then transfer them to the fridge to finish setting. Replace the lids once they have finished setting.