14 desserts isn’t too many, right?

We’re entering sweet potato season, and as with just about all seasonal produce in Japan, that means two things. The first is that we’re going to be seeing a lot of sweet potatoes in supermarkets, but the second thing gets us just as excited: we’re going to be seeing all sorts of sweet potato desserts!

Convenience store chain Family Mart is wasting no time getting into the spirit of the season, having just released a huge array of sweet potato pastries, dessert drinks, and more. We managed to get our hands on 14 different sweet potato temptations from the lineup, and made absolutely no pretense of having any sort of willpower to resist trying them all ASAP.

Here’s what we thought of each.

● Hattendo Chill-Before-Eating Beni Haruka Melty Cream Bread (280 yen [US$1.90])

This pastry is a collaboration with Hattendo, a famous cream bread bakery founded in Hiroshima, and beni haruka is the sweetest class of Japanese sweet potatoes. If that sounds like a winning combination to you, we’re happy to report it is, with the soft bread giving way to a creamy but not cloying cream center enhanced with sweet potato paste.

● Beni Haruka Sweet Potato Crepe (348 yen)

As delicious as crepes are, sometimes they can get a little overpowering with all their whipped cream and sugary sweetness. That wasn’t a problem here, though, as the flavors were nicely balanced, with a wonderfully spongy wrapping and even little bits of pie crust-like dough crumbles inside.

● Sweet Potato Kouign-amann (250 yen)

Japan has a pretty diverse and eclectic taste in desserts, but kouign-amann, a type buttery northern French pastry, isn’t so easy to find here, making this Family Mart sweet potato offering feel extra special. The outer surface has a texture like a candied Danish, the inside a delightful sweet potato cream, and if this is many people’s first experience with kouign-amann, we think it’ll make them fans.

● Sweet Potato Mont Blanc (320 yen)

Mont Blanc, on the other hand, is a French dessert that’s got mainstream recognition in Japan. Japanese confectioners are fond of adding an additional twist to the chestnut cream dessert, so here we’ve got sweet potato paste mixed in, and as an added touch, diced beni azuma sweet potato sprinkled with black sesame as a topping, all of which belends together in a blissful harmony.

● Yakiimo Latte (208 yen)

Yakiimo is what Japan calls roasted sweet potatoes, and here we have a drink inspired by their comforting flavor. The first sensation as you sip is of milk, but it isn’t long until the sweet potato flavor washes in and takes over. One word of warning though: the flavors are strong, so it really is best to think of this as a drinkable dessert more so than a beverage to quench your thirst.

● Satsuma Imo Stick (168 yen)

Satsuma imo is another way to refer to sweet potatoes in Japanese, and the Satsuma Imo Stick is exactly what it says: a sweet breadstick made by mixing sweet potato in with the dough prior to baking. These have a simple, old-school flavor to them, but that makes them great as a quick snack, and the fact that you get six sticks per package makes them easy to share with friends or family too.

● Sweet Potato Steamed Cake (138 yen)

Another simple treat, this is light, fluffy, and moist, this is all you really need in a sweet potato sweet. Not having any cream filling even makes this one feel just a bit like you’re eating an actual sweet potato.

● Oimo Bread (158 yen)

Oimo is a way of referring to sweet potatoes, or even just potatoes in general, and this pastry does look like a sweet potato. That golden center is sweet potato infused anko (sweet bean paste), giving this one an extra dash of Japanese taste.

● Beni Haruka Chips (198 yen)

Truth in advertising: these are slices of pure beni Haruka sweet potato, fried up like potato chips. Like with the Satsuma Imo Sticks, these are a sharable snack…potentially sharable, anyway, provided you can resist eating them all yourself (for the record, no, we do not personally recommend resisting)

● Bebi Haruka Donut (138 yen)

Chocolate, donuts, and sweet potatoes are all great on their own, so no surprise that they taste fantastic combined into a single dessert. Family Mart has done a fine job here, as the quality of the donut was so high that we would have thought it came from a dedicated donut shop if we didn’t know otherwise

● Beni Haruka Cream Daifuku (165 yen)

Daifuku are chewy mochi dumplings, and this one has a center of sweet potato paste and whipped cream. It’s not the biggest snack on the list, but the texture means you can leisurely savor each delicious bite.

● Beni Haruka Pound Cake (178 yen)

With a beautiful golden color, this is the sort of snack you’ll want to put on a fancy plate to admire while you nibble on it, which will also give you the chance to see the bits of sweet potato in the cross section. Moist with a solid sweetness, but not sticky or cloying, this feels like something that would have fans even outside of sweet potato season.

● Beni Haruka Baumkuchen (198 yen)

The ring-shaped cake Baumkuchen is overseas-originating dessert that’s entrenched itself in the Japanese sweets scene, In Japan, personal-sized Baumkuchen slices like this are popular, and this most yet airy example is a worthy addition to the genre.

● Beni Haruka Financier (168 yen)

And finishing up our marathon tasting, we come to the Beni Haruka Financier almond cakes. Here too we have diced bits of sweet potato, and the sweet, nutty flavors would pair nicely with a cup of coffee on a crisp fall afternoon.

Like with sweet potatoes themselves, all these sweets are available for a limited, indeterminate amount of time. They’re all waiting at Family Mart right now, though, and we’ll be the last ones t judge you if you can’t limit yourself to just one.

Photos © SoraNews24
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