A limited-edition pie created specially for sakura season. 

McDonald’s might be famous for its hot apple pies — with hot being the operative word — but here in Japan, the chain has been switching things up with some limited-edition varieties, and the latest is one of its most Japanese ever: the Strawberry Daifuku Pie.

Known in Japanese as “Ichigo Daifuku Pie“, this new release is perfectly timed for this time of year, when the cherry blossoms are blooming and people are enjoying new beginnings as they enter new schools and workplaces from April.

Daifuku” literally translates to “big luck“, a sentiment that’s reflected in the packaging for the new pie, which is served up in auspicious red-and-white packaging and finished off with a mizuhiki knot in the middle, an embellishment often seen on monetary gifts given in envelopes to help celebrate happy occasions.

Unlike the humble apple pie, the Ichigo Daifuku Pie adds a dash of strawberry to the dough to give it a reddish pink hue that’s both auspicious and reminiscent of the pale pink cherry blossoms.

Ichigo daifuku are popular sweets in Japan, where they’re usually served up as small, palm-sized treats, with a whole strawberry sitting inside a mound of sweet red bean paste and encased in a plump, soft ball of mochi sticky rice.

▼ An example of an ichigo daifuku, sliced in two to show the cross-section of ingredients.

With this sweet being extremely popular in Japan, we were keen to find out how the McDonald’s pie version would fare, so we opened the casing to get a good look at the ingredients.

While the pie doesn’t contain a whole strawberry, the fruit is still there, as a strawberry paste, which has been combined with a red bean paste and served alongside a mound of sakura-flavoured mochi.

▼ So how would this combination taste?

Upon first bite, the sourness of the sweet hits the taste buds, thanks to the tartness of the strawberry, which made its presence felt with actual pulp in the paste. However, this was soon followed by a delectable sweetness from the red beans, and then a surprising hit of sakura, making for a great mix of flavours in every mouthful.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about it was the warmth, as we’ve never eaten a warm strawberry daifuku before. This warmth made the mochi seem even smoother than usual, while the crunchy pie casing added a fun textural accent that had us yearning for more.

McDonald’s says it was difficult to perfect the combination of flavours and textures to create a great-tasting pie, but the chain has certainly done that, in terms of both appearance and taste. It’s an exciting new take on the popular Japanese sweet that makes us appreciate the original components in a whole new light.

Priced at 160 yen (US$1.20) each, this is a delicious pie we’ll definitely be purchasing again before it disappears from the menu in mid-April!

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter