There are a few things you’re meant to avoid this coming Friday – cleaning clothes, avoiding crying children, using scissors. For the dry cleaners, childcare assistants and tailors among us this is going to be near on impossible. According to Chinese superstition, doing any of these things on Friday 16th February – this year’s Chinese New Year – could mean you have bad luck for the rest of 2018. Thankfully, it’s the Year of the Dog, and it symbolises luck so probably balances the whole thing out. What’s not on the list is the avoidance of eating delicious steamed custard buns. So, here’s a recipe which gives not only excellent results but will have your guests questioning whether they were shop-bought. A little bit fiddly but worth the effort. The soft bread coating reveals a super, squidgy custard sweetness that’s too good. This recipe makes twelve buns which is just as well because once you start eating them, you won’t be able to stop.
220g self-raising flour
60ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast.
1½ tsp custard powder
2 tbsp self-raising flour
28g unsalted butter
75g granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 yolk, lightly beaten
A small bamboo steamer will do the trick when it comes to cooking the buns. Just make sure you don’t make them too big.
Make the custard filling
Combine the custard powder, cornflour and sugar together. Add milk and stir over a low heat. Add the beaten egg slowly and keep stirring. Add in the butter and mix well. Remove from the heat and mix into a ball. Cool the ball and place in the fridge for at least an hour for it to harden.
Make the dough
Add the sugar and the yeast to the warm water and wait until it begins to activate and froth. Mix in the other ingredients for the dough and add to the warm yeast water. Bring together and knead until the dough becomes elastic. If you have a stand mixer use this, it’s going to save you a lot of elbow grease. Brush some oil in a bowl and transfer the dough to double in size.
Get some parchment paper and cut twelve 4″ x 4″ pieces or get a cupcake case and flatten that out.
When the dough is double, tip it onto a lightly floured surface. Bash out the air.
Knead well to create a smooth dough. Roll into a log and cut into 12 portions. Shape each cut piece into a ball.
Flatten the ball and roll out to make a circle roughly 8-10cm in diameter.
Take the custard filling from the fridge and divide it into 12 pieces.
Roll each to form round balls.
Add a ball to the centre of one of the circles, pulling up the pastry in a pleat to meet in the middle. Pinch all the edges together to form a tight bun. Ensure the ends are sealed and turn the bun upside down.
Set up your steamer and let the buns rest with the lid covered. Steam on high heat for around 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and enjoy.
Make sure you don’t burn your lip with the hot custard centre.
Happy Chinese New Year.
Fancy making something with chocolate and cherries? Give this brownie recipe a bash.