Monday, September 13, 2021

Custard Polo Buns / Hong Kong Pineapple Buns 菠蘿包 - with reduced sugar and butter! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Just realised that the mid-autumn festival is arriving in a week time and I have not bake any mooncakes or Chinese pastries for my family... Ops!

However, if you are interested, these are my favourite mid-autumn-related recipes:
Baked Custard Mooncakes at HERE
Thousand Layer Flaky Swirl Yam / Taro Mooncake (with custard filling) 千层芋泥月饼 at HERE
Colourful Spiral Flaky Pastry Coconut Custard Mooncake - Made with Natural Colouring and Less Sugar at HERE
Mini Honey Mooncakes at HERE
The Flaky and Flakiest Tau Sar Piah with smooth Tau Sar filling 酥皮豆沙饼 at HERE
Penang style Tau Sar Piah Tambun Biscuits 槟城豆沙饼 at HERE
Like 611 Buttery Tau Sar Piah 像611牛油豆沙饼 ar HERE
Yuan Yang Sweet and Salty Tau Sar Piah 鸳鸯咸豆沙饼 at HERE

No mooncake this year? Yup! I don't know why... I wasn't craving for any mooncakes and tau sar piah lately. As Melbourne has been in lockdown since mid-July until now, I was actually craving for yum cha especially the custard polo buns 菠蘿包!!!

Instead of mooncakes, I was baking these fluffy soft custard polo buns with crispy buttery topping and custard filling. Plus, I was baking these buns with the minimal amount of sugar and butter, resulting them to be less sinful and yet as yummy as the ones we normally ate in yum cha restaurants!

Try baking them and you'll see what I mean.

custard polo Hong Kong pineapple buns
My Homemade Custard Polo Buns / Hong Kong Pineapple Buns 菠蘿包
with reduced fat and sugar

Throughout all these years of home cooking and baking, I have learnt that a delicious food doesn't to be excessively sweet, salty or greasy. It needs to be made with good quality ingredients, preferably with nice aromatic flavours.

This is why my bakes including these polo buns are made with premium butter, real vanilla, good quality flour and free-range eggs.

In fact, baking these custard polo buns is not difficult if you can organise your tasks like how I baked mine in my video.

In my video, you'll see that the buns are made with three major components:

1) The bread dough
2) The custard filling
3) The polo topping

I started by kneading the dough first. While kneading and proving the dough, I cooked the custard filling and set it aside to cool completely. After the first prove, I shaped the buns with the custard filling. While waiting for the shaped buns to prove for another hour (second proving), I made the polo topping. Assemble, bake and enjoy! Easy!

Music: Bensound

bo luo pineapple buns
Mmm... I can detect the smell of success when I was baking these polo buns.
custard pineapple polo buns
soft fluffy bread
smooth custard filling
crispy buttery polo topping

Each of these buns contains 10g butter and 8g added sugar plus 1ml condensed milk and they taste exactly like the yum cha restaurant ones but way less sweet. Better? I think so ^-^

Like how we enjoyed our Milo dinosaur muffins at here, my son and I removed the polo topping from our breads first, ate the bottom, then enjoyed the tops last. LOL!

I hope you like my less sinfully version of polo buns. If you like this recipe and also my other family friendly recipes, please support me! Please LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids or SUBCRIBE my YouTube channel at here. Your LIKE, SHARE, FOLLOW and SUBSCRIBE mean a lot to me and will keep me motivated and share more of my tried-and-tested recipes in the future. Thank you!!!

Here's the recipe.

Make 12 medium buns

For the bread dough:
180g lukewarm water, at about 37°C
50g egg (about 1 egg without the shell) - please use exact weight
320g strong bread flour with 12% protein
20g milk powder - please do not replace this and water with milk.
25g caster sugar
2g salt
50g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
1 tsp instant dry yeast

extra bread flour for dusting and shaping

If you are using a breadmaker to knead and prove, add all ingredients into the breadmaker according to this order. Use "dough" setting to mix and knead dough for 30 mins or until the dough is smooth and elastic and allow the dough to prove for 1 hr.

If you are using an electric mixer with an hook attachment to knead, combine all ingredients except butter in the mixing bowl and mix at low speed until a soft dough forms. Then, knead in the butter until incorporated. Continue to knead at low speed for at least 25 mins or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It is important that the dough has to be elastic and stretchy. Cover the dough and allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.

While kneading and proving the dough, cook custard filling.

For the reduced-sugar reduced-fat custard filling:
30g custard powder
20g icing sugar
20g cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
60ml coconut milk, preferably fat-reduced with 13% fat
1 tbsp condensed milk
15g unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk

Sift custard powder, sugar, cornflour and salt into a saucepan. Whisk in coconut milk and condensed milk. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until smooth. Add butter and whisk until the butter has melted.

Keep whisking while mixture thickens substantially. Continue to whisk and cook until mixture thickens to form firm texture that leaves itself off the side of the pan. Remove the pan off the heat and whisk egg yolk into the hot custard immediately. The residue heat in the custard will cook the egg yolk eventually.

Transfer custard into a bowl and allow it to cool down completely.

When the custard is cooled to room temperature and the dough has doubled in size, line baking trays with baking paper.

Divide custard filling (total 170g) into 12 equal portions by weight (14g each). 

Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 12 pieces (about 52-53g each). Shape each piece into a round smooth ball and allow it to rest for about 10 mins. Flatten each dough and place each custard filling in the middle of the dough. Pinch up the sides of the dough to completely enclose the filling. Place each bun with its seam sides down, about 5 cm apart on the prepared baking trays.

Allow dough to prove in a warm and humid place for another 1 hr or until doubled in size.

While proving, make polo topping.

For the polo topping:
60g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
50g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 large egg yolk, 15g
100g cake flour with 8% protein
10g milk powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp milk

Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolk and beat until combined.

Sift flour, milk powder and salt into the butter mixture. Use a spatula to fold in gently until just combined. Divide into 12 portions equally by weight (20g each) and roll each portion into round ball. Flatten all into flat round discs and use a knife to score criss cross pattern (about 3-4 lines on each side) on the topping discs. It's ok that the discs don't have an even thickness or perfect criss cross pattern as the toppings will become puffy and have rough surfaces during baking.

Place each disc on each bun, very carefully making sure that the buns are not deflated. Combine egg yolk and milk and brush egg wash on the toppings. 

Bake in a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven with one tray at a time for 13-15 mins or until the breads are thoroughly baked and the toppings are golden brown.

Transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving. These buns are the best on the day they are freshly baked.

Do not store buns at room temperature as the custard might go off on the next day. The best way to store is to wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them in serving portions for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake frozen buns in preheated 180°C oven for about 10-15 mins until they are thoroughly warm and the toppings are crispy again. You don't have to thaw the frozen buns before reheating. The reheated bread buns will remain fluffy soft like they were freshly baked. However, the custard fillings are firmer after freezing and reheating.

Happy Baking
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