The following is a healthy recipe for an Asian style sweet bun, baked, not steamed. Just in time for Halloween, these little pumpkin shaped (and pumpkin derived) treats are perfect for sharing at work or during your hipster costume party.
Full recipe after the jump…
- half a cup of mashed, baked or steamed pumpkin
- a quarter cup of self-rising whole wheat flour
- chilled filling rolled into four to six tablespoon sized balls (the recipe for adzuki and lotus seed filling (read this post for health benefits) can be found in my Mooncake post but I’ve also posted version towards the end of this post for smaller portions. I used frozen leftovers this time around, but you can make them fresh, if you want. Just make sure to let them chill sufficiently so you can form little balls.)
Cook your pumpkin in some way or another. I highly recommend cutting the pumpkin into wedges and baking them at 325F/~160C for around 30-40minutes, or until soft. Make sure to skin the pumpkin first. Mash the pumpkin and fold in the flour one tablespoon at a time. You may find that you don’t need all of the flour to make a dough, which will be very sticky. Once the dough starts forming, dust it with flour and scoop it into a plastic bag to shape.
Forming the Buns
Forming the buns really took me back to my mooncake post. The pumpkin dough was really sticky so I formed everything with my hand in a plastic bag, dusting the surface with flour when the dough started sticking to the bag instead of itself. Be careful! If you use too much flour, you won’t be able to close the bun (some water would probably help in this case).
Flatten a portion of the dough (slightly more than a tablespoons worth) and place your filling of choice in the center. This works best when the filling has been chilled and rolled into tablespoon sized balls.
Pinch the edges of the dough to enclose the filling and roll it in your hands to form a ball before plopping it into a silicone baking cup. Repeat this until you’ve used up all of your dough. Using the dull end of a knife, press into the dough to form pumpkin “lines.” Dust with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Top the buns with a raisin to mimic a pumpkin stem.
Place the buns in the oven over a tray of water for 30 minutes or so at 350F/175C. You could also steam them, which will give the buns a stickier, denser texture. When the outside of the buns no longer feel mushy and sticky, remove the tray of water and bake the buns at 400F/205C until just before the the tops start to brown.
LOTUS SEED FILLING
- ten dried lotus seeds
- tapioca starch
- coconut extract
Boil your lotus seeds on medium-low heat until the seeds are soft. Puree the seeds in a food processor and add in honey and coconut extract. Pour the puree back into the pot with a little bit of water and mix continuously on low heat until the mixture become thick. Mix in the tapioca starch and Splenda (taste as you go) until a thick paste forms. Set aside to cool. You may want to freeze it for a little while so you can form filling balls more easily.
ADSUKI BEAN (豆沙) FILLING
- a little more than tablespoon of dried adsuki beans
- tapioca starch
- coconut extract
[Pretty much the same recipe as the lotus seed filling] Boil the adsuki beans for about half an hour on medium-low heat, until the beans are soft. Strain and puree the beans in a food processor and add in honey and coconut extract. Pour the puree back into the pot with a little bit of water and mix continuously on low heat until the mixture become thick. Mix in the tapioca starch and Splenda (taste as you go) until a thick paste forms. Chill before forming filling balls.
Makes four to six buns, but you may have to adjust the amount of pumpkin/flour you use depending on how much filling you make.