Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kick Starting the New Year

My mom has been talking about Asian sweets, which inspired me to give this recipe a try - Steamed Pumpkin Buns. I got this recipe from Natural Health magazine - the November 2007 issue. Although I recognize there is little nutritional value in AP flour & cake flour, I tried it with whole wheat pastry & the results were less than pleasing - a little too dense. Next time, instead of cake flour (which seems to include weird chemicals during processing - bromates & peroxides), I want to try this again with unbleached organic white pastry flour. White pastry flour has a higher protein content than cake flour, but it should be an educating experiment. The resulting buns will not be as "white", but hopefully the texture will not be sacrificed too much - I need to make sure not to over knead the dough & a little vinegar may help with the color - says my mom.
The buns were a success, which means the filling can be changed up all sorts of ways - savory filling, taro root, mung bean, adzuki/red beans, etc. Wow, the options are plentiful. If & when making a savory bun, I'll probably reduce and/or eliminate the sugar in both the starter liquid & filling mixture.
Steamed Pumpkin Buns
3 ounces warm H2O (100-110F)
2 tblspns sugar
3/4 tsp dry active yeast

3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup AP flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp butter

2 tsp coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (can or fresh)
1 - 2 tblspns sugar
cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg to taste
pinch of salt
  • Make the starter - combine warm water, sugar & dry active yeast. Stir to dissolve sugar & allow mixture to sit for 5 - 10 minutes, till foam/bubbles form on the surface of the water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift together cake flour, AP flour, & salt.
  • Once the starter is ready, create a well in the center of the flour. Slowly moisten the flour with the starter liquid using a fork.
  • Remove fork & knead mixture till soft dough is formed.
  • Add butter & knead till smooth & elastic; add an additional 1 tsp of water if necessary.
  • Form a ball, cover with clean damp cloth & allow to rise till double in size - ~ 60 - 90 minutes. (If necessary, place in oven with oven light on to provide warm environment.)
  • While dough rises, prepare the filling: heat oil, add puree, sugar + spices + salt, to taste. Set aside & allow to cool.
  • When the dough is ready, divide evenly into 6 - 7 balls.
  • Place dough on flat floured surface & roll out into 6-inch diameter disks, making the edges slightly thinner than the center.
  • Place roughly 2 tablespoons of filling in the center & fold edges around the filling & press dough together to create a bun shape. Invert buns so smooth underside is now on top.
  • Cut squares of parchment paper to place underneath the buns to prevent sticking during steaming.
  • Allow buns to rest for 1 hour uncovered.
  • Heat water under steamer. Steam buns over high heat for 10 - 12 minutes.
  • Serve warm. Or refrigerate/freeze for longer storage. If frozen or refrigerated, steam for a few minutes to warm through - sprinkle the top with a little bit of water to prevent over-drying if necessary.
  • Makes 6 - 7 buns.
Other Buns:
Steamy Kitchen's
Baking Bites


Cookie baker Lynn said...

These look like wonderful buns! I love the idea of pumpkin as a filling.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

These are truly lovely--so ethereal looking. They beat the heck out of turkey, which is what I rung the new year in with!

Monika K said...

Yes! Another excuse to make a sweet treat with pumpkin - I'm sold!