Nothing makes a University of Chicago student long for spring like seeing the koi start to move about in Botany Pond. To celebrate the first warm days of the season, I modeled this wagashi after it!
Wagashi artisans typically draw inspiration from the nature around them. Our little pond is the closest thing we have to natural inspiration, so I chose to use it as a confectionery emblem of fresh beginnings and spring romance.
I made this gelatin using houji-cha, a variety of green tea. One of the options is for the gelatin to be crystal clear. I chose instead to represent the pond after a pop-up spring shower that has made the pond a bit murkier than usual.
The “rocks” at the bottom of the jelly are sweet kuromame black beans. The green maple leaves are made from nerikiri, a mixture of sugar, bean paste, and rice flour.