Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Apple Custard Buns

Imagine eating a soft bun almost bursting with apple pie filling and a crunchy crust on top :).

This bake came about because hubby loves cooked apples/ apple pie/ apple sauce and I still had some applesauce left. I thought that a tart apple filling combined with sweet pastry cream would be lovely wrapped with soft milk bread. And to maximize the amount of filling,  I decided to leave the tops of the buns open but with a lattice of cookie to keep the apple goodness in.

I used to be a firm believer in using the sponge dough method to make soft and fluffy bread. This method is undoubtedly the best if you want soft and fluffy bread but I think I have found the perfect straight dough recipe (simpler) that does not rely on huge amount of fat or condensed milk to make it soft. It contains little sugar and butter too. The best part is it remains soft even after 2 days! Quite a feat for homemade bread that satisfies all the above requirements. This recipe is an adaptation of the famous Wu Pao-Chun champion loaf recipe.

Ingredients (makes 16 mini buns):
160g applesauce** (refer to my previous post for the recipe)
160g custard** (refer to my old post for the recipe)

** You may wish to change the ratio of applesauce:custard depending on whether you prefer stronger apple flavour or custard flavor.

Cookie dough
25g icing sugar
50g butter
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Bread dough
225g bread flour
55g cake flour*
20g wheat gluten*
20g rolled oats (optional)
1 tsp instant yeast
10g sugar
240g fresh milk
15g butter
3g salt

*You may replace with plain or bread flour. The cake flour (low protein flour) adds softness to the bread and wheat gluten provides better structure to the bread and added nutrition. The dough passes windowpane test faster too with the addition of wheat gluten.

1. Prepare the applesauce and custard before hand. They can be kept refrigerated. You may wish to use apple chunks instead of apple puree for more bite. Mix the two together thoroughly. Wrap into balls of 20g each with cling wrap and freeze the balls.

2. Prepare the cookie dough. This is actually a recipe for shortbread cookies. Mix everything together until a dough forms. Roll the dough to 2mm in thickness. Cut small strips of dough (about 4mm in width) to wrap around a frozen ball of apple custard,  latticed style as shown in the 2nd picture. Keep the assembly wrapped in cling wrap and frozen. You may prepare this up to a day or two ahead of time.

3. Prepare the bread dough. Mix all the dry ingredients except salt (first 6 ingredients) in a large bowl. Add milk and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a dough is formed. Pour out onto a non-stick mat and gradually knead in butter and salt. I didn't add the salt earlier to make sure that as little yeast is killed as possible. Knead for 15 minutes or until the dough passes the windowpane test. Alternatively, you may use a standmixer or breadmaker but I prefer a workout :).

4. Let the dough proof for 45 minutes or until double in size in a large greased bowl covered with cling wrap. Punch down the dough and knead a few times to expel any trapped gas. Divide the dough into 16 pieces of about 36g each. Rest for 10 minutes loosely covered in cling wrap.

5. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a circle and place a frozen ball of filling in the middle. Use a bench scraper or knife to make 4 cuts as shown in the picture below (3rd picture in collage). Fold two opposite flaps up and pinch together (4th picture). Fold the remaining 2 flaps up and pinch seal (5th picture).  Place the bun in paper liner in a jumbo muffin pan. Brush the tops of the cookie dough with cinnamon powder (optional) (6th picture). Proof for 1 hour. Milk wash the buns (or egg wash if you prefer).

6. Bake in preheated oven at 170-180°C for 15 minutes or until the buns are lightly browned.

Best to consume it fresh but if you are not, do toast it before consuming the next day :).

It may seem like a lot of work to make these. But spreading the work over a few days make the actual baking really easy. I didn't make all 16 apple custard buns with this batch of dough but made other buns too :). There's corn custard,  tuna and cheese, ham rose and fruit n nut buns (not in picture) too :). We are all happy to have homemade buns for weekend breakfast at last !

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up event organized by Bake For Happy Kids with My Little Favourite DIY & hosted this month by  I-Lost in Austen.

Baked with lots of love,
Phay Shing


  1. Hi Phay Shing,
    Love your idea of this lovely buns combining apple sauce & pastry cream for the filling . I bet this buns are delicious . I will surely give this a go as my hubby love pastry cream . Thanks for sharing this recipe with LTU . Have a nice day ;)

  2. Hi Kit,
    Thanks for your compliments :). Yes it is delicious especially when eaten fresh out of the oven.
    Have a nice day too :)

  3. Hi Phay Shing, I cannot imagine leh ... cos I've not eaten Apple Custard Bun before. So I could just admire all your lovely buns !

    1. Hi Karen, haha go and make some then don't need to imagine ;)

  4. Hi Phay Shing

    Love your Apple custard bun recipe, very nutritional! Today, I used wheat gluten, plain flour and bread flour plus wholemeal flour and made Char siew buns. Truly the buns turned out very soft too. Ever since I used wheat gluten, my bread always turned out good and stayed soft for days.

    Have bookmarked your Apple Custard bun recipe for future bake. Will let you know result.

    Priscilla Poh

    1. Hi Priscilla,

      Thanks for introducing me to wheat gluten! I love it! The dough passes windowpane test more quickly too so I didn't have to knead as long. The cookie is nice and crunchy freshly baked but you need to toast it sufficiently if you are having it the next day otherwise won't be crunchy. Even if it isn't crunchy, the buns are still enjoyable with the flavor, aroma and soft buns. Thanks for trying it out :)

    2. Thanks Phay Shing, glad you are aware on the goodness wheat gluten plays in bread making. Thanks also for the tips on heating up of apple custard buns for the crunchy bites.

      Priscilla Poh