Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pumpkin Spring Onions Chinese Flower Steamed Buns 南瓜葱花卷

After being praised for steaming my first batch of Chinese flower steamed buns, I'm inspired to make something pretty and flowery again...

Since I'm obligated to use pumpkin, an autumn ingredient as the theme ingredient for Little Thumbs Up for this month, I'm making use of its bright orange colour to help me to create something bright and pretty for Spring.

Well, let's see...

Pumpkin spring onions flower Chinese steamed buns
Pumpkin spring onions flower Chinese steamed buns 南瓜葱花卷

Nice bright colour, isn't it? ... but I have to say that these pumpkin flower buns are not as prettily shaped as the plain ones that I made previously.

Although the previously made plain flower steamed buns are nicer in their looks, I find them a little too soft to eat with lesser texture or structure as the buns collapse immediately after their first bites. For this reason, I hope to pursue and explore more steamed bun recipes from the book, the first book of noodles for beginners by Carol Hu.
I have used a different shaping method from the book to shape these buns and wonder if this is the reason why the buns are not as pretty as expected. Personally, I don't think the problem lies with this alternative flower bun shaping method as the dough is actually quite sticky to handle.

Clearly, this recipe doesn't make pretty flowery buns but it makes very delicious buns with wonderfully moist and fluffy texture. You will see what I meant...

I started making these buns with this butternut pumpkin...
I like the natural sweetness of this ingredient.
I have to say that making this pumpkin steamed buns dough can be a little tricky. 

As this recipe contains mainly mashed pumpkin, the mash acts as the liquid agent to absorb dry ingredient and bind them together to form a dough. However, the absorption power of different batches of mashed pumpkin can vary depending on the actual water content of steamed pumpkin and type of pumpkin used. For this reason, I have increased the amount of milk slightly to combine all ingredients into a sticky dough initially and fine tune the texture of the dough slowly by kneading in more flour subsequently. This is what I did.

I made a sticky dough at first.  After proving, I kneaded in more flour to form an easy-to-handle dough
These are the ingredients and steps that made the steamed buns pretty and yummy!
Keep stretching and twisting to get more defined flowery patterns.
These buns need any extra timing for second proving.
Not so flowery buns... Ops! The corners of the dough don't make very pretty buns.
... but they are all fluffy and delicious!

Here is the recipe mostly adapted and translated from the book, the first book of noodles for beginners by Carol Hu

Makes 10
(including two not-very flowery looking buns made from the end of the dough)
For the dough:
180g pumpkin, steamed and mashed
215g all purpose flour
100g low protein flour, preferably bleached and self raising (optional) for extra fluffiness and fine texture
plus 15-20g to knead before rolling
1/8 tsp salt
20g caster sugar
1/2 tsp yeast
20ml vegetable oil, preferable canola oil
1/4 cup or 60 ml milk, lukewarm

To shape the buns:
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

Using a breadmaker, mix all dough ingredients and knead into a smooth dough and allow it to prove for 1 hr. At this point, you can either store the dough in the fridge to use it on the next day or use it now.

If breadmaker is not available, kneading this dough by hand is possible. Combine pumpkin, both flours, salt, caster sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture, add milk and oil mix to form a dough. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead to form an elastic and smooth dough (at least 15 mins) and then let it rise for 1 hr.

Before rolling, knead in 15-20g of low protein flour to fine tune the dough texture. Add more if it is required.

Roll into a large rectangle sheet with 5mm thickness.

Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt evenly on the rolled dough. Using a pastry brush, brush the sesame oil on the dough. Then, distribute the spring onions throughout the oiled surface.

Start rolling the sheet along the longer side of the rectangle and roll it into a Swiss-roll-like rod and cut into 20 equal pieces. Place two pieces of cut dough on top of each other. Hold both ends with your finger and pull. Stretch and twist the dough while pulling and this will form a nice flowery pattern.Tuck in the ends of the dough into its bottom as you allow the flowery pattern to display as the main part of the bun.

Place a piece baking paper on each of the shaped buns and place them on steaming racks and place the rack under lukewarm water (about 37°C) and let it prove for 1 hr or double the size.

Steam buns for 15-20 mins or until done. The steam timing varies if you have multiple layers of steamed buns to steam. The layer that is closest to the direct steam will take 15 mins to cook. When ready remove the buns immediately from the steamer and serve warm.

Happy Steaming

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Eileen from Eileen's Diary at this post.


For October 2014, Eileen has requested her Little Thumbs Up event with PUMPKIN theme to starts on 1st October and will end on the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with PUMPKIN for October 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st October 2014.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Eileen from Eileen's DiaryFor more details, please see this.

What after October 2014? Little Thumbs Up is having a break in November and December 2014. We will be back with Anne from My Bare Cupboard being the next hostess of January 2015 and her theme is NOODLES and PASTA! starting on the first Tuesday of January 2015.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple and Pear Crumble Tart (Gordon Ramsay)

I can't believe that today is the last day of September 2014...

... and I'm sure that we all have lots of fun exploring apple recipes for Little Thumbs Up September 2014 with Kit as we have more than 94 entries* linking with us for this event.

We love baking with you, Kit! This is a beautiful theme ingredient!

Although the apple baking was fun and Spring has fully arrived in Melbourne, I feel that I have been maxed out lately. Due to recent personal reasons, I have been quieter than usual. In regardless, I try to stay positive and look forward for my break in mid-October 2014.

For October 2014, Eileen from Eileen's Diary will be the hostess of Little Thumbs Up October 2014 and her theme is PUMPKIN! If you are cooking or baking any autumn or Halloween related food which contains pumpkin, please remember to link up with us. 

Before the arrival of October 2014, I like to showcase one last fantastic apple recipe that I have baked for Little Thumbs Up (Sep 2014).

And, here I present this super generous apple and pear
 crumble tart...
... It is generously made with lots of apples, pears and butter!
... It is generously good with lots of tangy fruity spicy flavours and nutty crumbly texture 

This gorgeous-looking and generous-tasting apple crumble tart is baked using a Gordon Ramsay's recipe. The recipe originally comes from BBC GoodFood but the licence has expired and can't be found in BBC GoodFood anymore. Fortunately, I have printed a copy of this recipe prior to its "disappearance" and managed to bake this beautiful tart. You may also refer to Kitchen Delights who had baked this recipe too.

... It is generously made with lots of butter!!! Yes, it is. This tart is made of 325g of butter. 325g!!! For the fact that it contains about one and a half of typical block of 250g butter all in one narrow 34 cm tart. It sounds kind of scary and guilty to consume even a thin slice of it. I must admit that I was initially put off by this...

After baking and enjoying it (definitely more than a thin slice... Ops!), I begin to fully appreciate Gordon Ramsay's style and approach of baking this tart... This tart consists of four major components: 1) the sweet pastry 2) the almond frangipane 3) the apple and pear filling 4) the buttery nutty crumble. Each of the component is straightforward, simple and easy to make. Most ideally, each is made with fresh seasonal best quality ingredients. To complete, all I did is to stack all four components together. Easy?

Interestingly, all of these ingredients and components are complimenting each other extremely well... resulting this one perfect apple crumble tart. I like to relate its perfectness being a perfect family with harmony, a perfect couple and kids... Kind of impossible? I believe that a good recipe with a good amount of effort can sometimes make anything impossible possible. Surely, life is chaotic but something can be possible... I like to remind myself, "Stay positive, Zoe! Stay positive!!!"

Thanks Gordon Ramsay! I really enjoy your professional way of baking this super generously delicious tart. Now, I really don't mind eating these much butter to enjoy this tart gastronomically.

* will update the final number at the end of this event.

apple pear crumble tart Gordon Ramsay
Apple and Pear Crumble Tart (Gordon Ramsay)
These are all the apples and pears that I used to make this tart.
While baking the pastry, cook the apple and pear filling.
When the pastry is slightly baked, remove the baking beans and do the above...
Add Component Two, the almond frangipane.
Next... Component Three, the apple and pear filling.
Here is Component Four: the buttery nut crumble.
Topping the tart with the crumble mix. Spot the differences! The tart looks the same before and after baking!
Can't wait to enjoy a slice of this!
Every single bit of this is perfetto!

Here's the recipe that I have mostly adapted from BBC GoodFood but the licence of publishing of this recipe has expired.

For the frangipane:
50g butter, soften
50g icing sugar
1 egg
10g flour
50g ground almond

To make the frangipane:

Cream butter and icing sugar together, slowly mix in the egg, flour and ground almonds. Chill for 2 hrs before using.

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
a pinch of salt
125g icing sugar
125g butter, cold
1 egg plus 1 extra egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

To make the pastry:
Combine flour, salt and icing sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until it forms breadcrumbs.

Briefly beat the whole egg with vanilla seeds. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Combine all until the pastry comes together. Cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.

Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to about 5mm thickness. Line one 11 x 34 x 2.5 cm loose-based fluted tart tin or one 22 cm round loose-based round tart tin with the rolled pastry leaving a little excess overhanging the rim. Line the tart case with baking paper and dried or ceramic baking beans and bake blind for 20-25 mins. Remove the paper and beans and brush the inside of tart case with egg white. Trim off the excess pastry around the rim and bake again for 5-10 mins. Leave to cool slightly.

For the filling:
4 apples, peeled and diced
The original recipe suggests Braeburn but I couldn't find this variety and so I used 2 Granny Smith and 2 Pink Lady.
4 pears peeled and diced, preferably Bosc
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
25g butter
20g brown sugar

To cook the filling:
In a frying pan, melt butter until foaming. Add fruit and toss for 30 sec. Add brown sugar and spices. Toss to combine and cook until fruit is soft but not broken down.

For the crumble:
125g unsalted butter, cold
(original recipe uses 160g butter but I reckon that 125g is sufficient to make the crumble very delicious)
150g plain flour
80g demerara sugar
50g walnut, roughly chopped (or any nuts like hazelnuts or pecans)

To make the crumble:
Rub butter into the flour and stir in demerara sugar and walnuts.

To assemble and bake the tart:
Fill the tart case with the frangipane, then fruit, and top with the crumble mix.

Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden brown. Leave it to cool slightly for 10-15 mins before removing it from the tin. Leave it to cool completely at room temperature. Serve it with cream or custard or on its own.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Kit from I-Lost in Austen at this post.


Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is APPLE for September 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 30th September 2014.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Kit from I-Lost in AustenFor more details, please see this.

What after September 2014? Eileen from Eileen's Diary will be the next hostess of October 2014 and her theme is PUMPKIN! Instead of starting on the first Tuesday of the month, her Little Thumbs Up event starts on 1st Oct 2014 and so please take note.