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japanese food, japanese pies, Japanese sweets

Japanese Pies: Everything You Need To Know About These Delicious Cookies!

Karina Ikedo

Karina Ikedo

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Genji Japanese pies in a basket next to a tea.

Japanese pies, or Genji Pies, are long-selling pastry snacks that originated in 1965. They are delicious Japanese cookies that are popular among people of all ages. In Japan, it is common to see pies with no filling. The cookies use many layers of pie dough rolled and shaped like a heart.

Genji Pie is a beloved snack in Japan that has been around for years. Its delicate sweetness and crispy texture make it popular among locals and tourists. These cookies are a go-to souvenir and have many wonderful flavors. Keep reading to discover this lesser-known, delicious snack!

What are Japanese Pies? (Genji Pie)

Generally, Genji Pie has a lot in common with traditional French palmier cookies. To put it differently, these flaky pastry snacks have a subtle shine, thanks to the sugar syrup glaze that gives them their sweetness. Unlike some Japanese sweets, Genji Pie is a casual, everyday snack at most supermarkets.

A bowl of French palmier cookies. They are heart-shaped.
French palmier cookies inspired Genji pies. Image via Shutterstock

Genji pies come in small boxes of two and larger volumes, such as transparent bags containing 28 pieces. The larger packages contain separately wrapped pies that are perfect for storage and remain fresh when opened.

The Origin of Japanese Pies

Sanritsu Confectionery Co. opened in 1921 and manufactured baked goods and snacks such as biscuits, crackers, and pretzels. The company introduced the first Genji Pie in 1965, and it is still a well-loved sweet treat today. All in all, Sanritsu successfully imitated palmiers to create Japan’s Genji Pie.

A bunch of crispy Genji pies against a orange background.
Genji pies are a casual and tasty snack. Image via Shutterstock

Why is it called “Genji Pie”?

Sanritsu wanted to give this delicacy a particularly Japanese-style name. The name comes from the NHK’s famous historical drama, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. He is the main protagonist of the Genji series. Following the popularity of historical dramas, many Japanese people started buying the Genji Pie in stores.

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How does it taste?

In this case, the secret to the Genji Pie’s delectable texture lies in its preparation. The pie dough is carefully folded into layers and baked slowly to achieve its delicate, crumbly texture. Afterward, the pie melts in your mouth with each buttery bite, and the thin, sugary coating provides just the right sweetness.

A plate of Genji pies held by a pair of hands.
Genji pies are heart-shaped cookies. Image via Shutterstock

It has a crispy grilled finish and fragrance. Genji Pie is made with premium flour, margarine, and sugar, then baked in a manner that gives it a delicious, homemade taste. Its subtle sweetness, satisfying flavor, and crisp texture have made it a beloved favorite.

Elegant Flavored Genji Pies

With their crispy texture and sweet flavors, it’s no wonder why Genji Pies are a crowd favorite. But which flavor should you choose? With this in mind, our top picks will satisfy your taste buds: Kneaded Chocolate, Piano Brown, and Salty Caramel. Trust us; you won’t regret trying any of these irresistible flavors!

Kneaded Chocolate

Genji Pie has a delicate texture that crumbles as you bite into it. When combined with the rich chocolate, it becomes even more delectable. Enjoy the delicious chocolate flavor mixed into the layers of these sugar pie biscuits! 

A plate of chocolate Genji Japanese pies.
These Genji pies have chocolate throughout their dough. Image via Shutterstock

Japanese chocolate is kneaded into the dough, and coarsely crushed cacao beans are rolled up between the layers of dough. Generally, you can pair this chocolate Genji Pie with your favorite cup of hot tea for a delightful afternoon tea.

Piano Brown

This mouth-watering pastry boasts a delectable maple flavor and a crispy, golden glaze. You won’t be able to resist its perfect balance of sweetness and crunch. The use of maple sugar rolled into the dough makes it even more remarkable.

A plate of dark brown piano Genji pies on a plate.
These Piano Brown pies feature maple syrup. Image via Shutterstock

The rich maple sugar gives it a rich buttery taste. When it comes to presentation, the Piano Brown pie is a sight to behold. The elegant wood grain piano design on the packaging makes it the perfect souvenir to take home.

Salty Caramel

This salted caramel-flavored Genji Pie has a crispy texture and rich buttery notes. The dough is kneaded with caramel powder and accented with Alpensanz rock salt to give it a rich caramel sweetness!

A bunch of Genji Japanese pies that resemble heart-shaped cookies.
These delicious pies have sweet caramel powder! Image via Shutterstock

This heart-shaped cookie has been a favorite for many years. Sanritsu first created Japan’s Genji Pie in 1965, and it’s been popular ever since. Pie dough is rolled and shaped like a heart with flaky pastry layers. The pie-like crust of these cookies is carefully baked into multiple delicate layers making it an irresistible treat. These Japanese pies have become a famous version of French palmier pastries.

Have you tried these Japanese pies before? Do you have a favorite flavor? Let us know in the comments below!

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