Sweet Sesame Taro Fingers
This dessert starts with a loaf of frozen bread. Sliced 1/8-inch thick, the bread turns into a thin crust to roll around slim taro paste cylinders. Dipped in sesame seeds on each end, the taro fingers are wok-fried to golden brown.
- White Loaf Bread - 1/2 loaf good quality white bread, fine texture
- Taro root - 1-1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into chunks
- Vegetable Oil - 1 quart
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Egg - 1, beaten
- Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup, toasted
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Mint sprigs for garnish
Freeze the bread in a plastic bag. Remove the bread from the bag and slice the loaf crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices using a slicing machine or sharp serrated knife. Make 20 slices. Cut off the crusts, making all slices the same size, about 4 inches square. Flatten each slice with a rolling pin to provide a thin crust. Cover the slices with a slightly damp towel to prevent drying.
Place taro pieces in a pie dish and place in a steamer. Cover and steam over boiling water for 20 minutes, or until very soft. Drain off excess moisture. Place taro in a food processor and puree until smooth. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a preheated wok over medium-high heat. Add the taro, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Add the sugar gradually while stirring. If the mixture begins to stick or burn, remove the wok from the heat, or lower the heat. Continue stirring, and add the remaining oil. Cook until the taro mixture loses its excess moisture. It should become a thick mashed potato-like consistency. Reduce the heat as the taro mixture thickens and becomes glossy and translucent. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes of constant stirring. To test if the filling is done, cool some of the mixture slightly and touch it with your finger; it should leave an indentation, and the mixture should not stick to your finger. Place the taro mixture in a shallow bowl or plate and allow to cool.
Mix the water and flour together in a bowl to form a paste. Lay a flattened bread slice down on a work surface. Roll a 1/2-inch-diameter cylinder of taro filling to match the width of the bread (about 4 inches long). Place the filling crosswise along one edge of the bread slice. Brush flour pate along the opposite edge. Roll the bread slice away from you to enclose the filling into a 1/2-inch-diameter roll. Overlap and lightly press remaining edges to seal with the flour paste. Gently cut each roll in half crosswise to make two equal-size rolls, or 40 rolls total. (This much can be done ahead. Freeze in an airtight bag. Remove from the freezer and thaw completely before continuing.)
Place the beaten egg and sesame seeds in separate shallow dishes. Dip both ends of each roll into the beaten egg, then coat with sesame seeds. Set aside on a plate or tray. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Heat 1 quart of oil to 350 F in a wok. Gently lower 8 to 10 rolls into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.
Reheat the oil in the wok to 365 F. Fry all the rolls in the oil for 10 to 15 seconds to recrisp the coating. Do not over-brown. Remove and drain.
Place 4 rolls on each individual serving plate. Dust the rolls lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Garnish each grouping with a sprig of mint.