Due to a craving for Chinese buns, and my failure to have purchased any while we were out and about this afternoon, I made the most amazing thing this evening: custard buns!!
I can’t believe it, but these are exactly like a custard bun you’d buy at the Chinese bakery! Well, actually, not quite the same, as these taste infinitely better than a bun you’d get from the Chinese bakery because they’re homemade ^_^
They’re not perfectly round or evenly sized, but then again, nothing I make tends to be all that perfect looking, now that I think about it. The texture is wonderfully soft, yet a smidgen bit chewy and the filling is absolutely spot on. I am ridiculously proud of these buns!
I’m actually really amazed with the stuff I’ve been making lately and it just makes me feel incredibly giddy when something turns out as well as it does!
The recipe is relatively quick to make and can easily be made by hand without the use of any heavy machinery at all, which I admit, added immense amount of pleasure & enjoyment when I made these little guys.
The recipe is from a japanese youtuber named Kumigar. As an interesting side thought: something I really appreciate that I’ve noticed with every japanese youtube cooking channel I watch — the recipes always make small quantities, as does Kumigar’s.
Kumigar has a website where you can find her original cream pan recipe. I prefer to call them custard buns just because that’s just how I grew up calling them when we went to the Chinese bakery every weekend.
Kumigar’s recipe is written in metric, and even though english isn’t her first language, the recipe is very easy to comprehend. The only issue I had troubles with was making the custard filling. I didn’t know how long to cook it to get it to the right consistency. In the end I just let it go until the custard seemed like it no longer had any liquid to boil off, and it wouldn’t thicken any more, before burning. Then I tossed it into the freezer for five minutes to cool down before putting it inside the dough. I suppose I also could use a little bit more practice making my buns more evenly sized, but on the whole, I’m not terribly bothered by their inconsistent sizes or shapes.
I am seriously loving the recipe for just the plain buns and may have found my holy grail to be used for all sorts of wonderful stuffed buns in the future.
Chinese Custard Buns
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
20g butter, melted
1 egg yolk
20g sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
Heat milk until warm.
Add yeast, first amount of sugar and mix well. Leave for 5-10 mins until the yeast gets foamy.
In a large bowl, mix flour, second amount of sugar & salt.
Add melted butter and milk mixture.
Combine together using a spatula, then gather the dough into a ball with clean hands and start kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Roll dough into a nice ball, place in a bowl covered with a tea towel & put in a warm place to rise for 30mins or until doubled.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugar and condensed milk.
Sift in corn starch, mixing well.
Finally, whisk in milk & vanilla.
Transfer the custard mixture into a non-stick frying pan and cook at medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
Cook the custard until it becomes thick enough to scoop into portions to fill buns. Mixture will set up a little bit more firmly once cooled.
Put custard into a bowl, set aside in refridgerator until cooled and ready to fill buns.
When dough has risen, punch down, knead a little bit to degas, then divide evenly into 8 pieces.
Shape each piece into a round ball, press down to flatten & gently stretch large enough to put custard cream in the center. Seal in custard gently.
Place each custard-filled bun on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cover the buns with plastic wrap and tea towel, leave for another 20 mins, somewhere warm, for a second rise.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Mix egg yolk and water together and brush gently over the buns.
Bake 10-12 mins.
Cool on a rack and enjoy while just the tiniest bit still warm.