For anyone who hasn't had steamed buns before, you are truly missing out. They are soft and pillowy and come with savoury and sweet fillings. There's something about a tower of bamboo baskets which instantly made me think of tiered cakes at afternoon tea, so I decided Jasmine would be the perfect pairing. The addition of Jasmine to the custard mellows it's overall sweetness and provides you with a soothing finale to a meal. In order to achieve the golden custard I did add food colouring. This is optional however if you are wanting something visually satisfying I would suggest adding it.
So what are you waiting for? Plan a banquet and make sure it includes Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns) as part of the main course, and Jasmine Custard Buns for dessert.
Makes 12 buns
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Proving Time +1 hour
Cooking Time 10 minutes
380ml Full-fat milk
1 sachet or 2 1/2 tsp Fast-action yeast
260g plus extra for dusting Plain flour
50g Rice flour
95g Caster sugar
Salt, couple of pinches
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp plus extra for greasing Oil (flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)
1/2 tbsp Loose leaf Jasmine tea
2 Eggs, medium
1/8 tsp Yellow food colouring, liquid gel is recommended (optional)
2 Mixing bowls
Saucepan with lid
Measure 180ml of milk in a jug and add the yeast.
Combine using a fork.
Add 250g of plain flour, rice flour, 50g of sugar, a pinch of salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl.
Pour the milk and 2 tbsp of oil over the dry ingredients and combine using the spatula.
Tip out onto a clean surface and knead for approx. 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
Clean the mixing bowl and lightly grease with oil.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with clingfilm.
Leave to prove for at least an hour until doubled in size.
In the meantime get on with making the custard.
Pour the remaining 200ml of milk into a saucepan, add the Jasmine tea and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat, cover with the lid, and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Using the sieve strain the milk over the cleaned jug. You need 170ml of milk. Ensure you press down on leaves to release as much of the Jasmine milk as possible.
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs together with 45g of sugar until you have a pale yellow mixture.
Add 10g plain flour along with the cornflour and a pinch of salt and whisk again until combined.
Clean the saucepan and pour 170ml of the Jasmine milk back into it.
Place over a medium heat until steaming.
Whilst whisking the egg mixture, slowly add the milk until it has all been incorporated.
Tip the custard mixture back into the saucepan and place back over the medium heat. Continuously stir this with a spatula.
You should find the mixture will thicken up fairly quickly.
Once you have a thick custard remove the pan from the heat.
Clean the mixing bowl you used earlier. If there are lumps you can always press the custard through the sieve over the bowl, this is optional though. Otherwise transfer it directly to the bowl.
This last step is also optional. If you want a truly yellow custard, add the food colouring and stir until you have a gloriously golden colour.
Take a piece of clingfilm and place directly on top of the custard. This will stop a skin from forming as it cools down.
When you are ready to make the buns, take a piece of baking parchment and cut into 12 squares, approx 5 cm wide.
Remove the clingfilm from the bowl, tip the dough out onto the worktop, and divide up into 12 pieces. They should be about the size of a ping pong ball.
Lightly dust the surface in front of you and roll a piece out into a circle approx. 12cm wide.
Cup your hand and place this dough in your palm. Dollop a teaspoon of the custard into the centre.
The shaping of the buns can be a little fiddly. The key from my perspective is to ensuring they’re nicely sealed.
Lift one side of the dough to the centre and bring the opposite side up to meet it. Pinch them together. Do the same with the other two sides. You should now have 4 pleats. Pull these up to the centre and pinch to join then together. Finally pinch and twist the centre where they all meet (clockwise or anticlockwise). This should ensure the join is properly sealed. Place the bun onto a piece of parchment and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 12 buns. Snip a cross into the tops of the buns using scissors.
Fill the saucepan with water and place over a high heat until boiling. Lower the heat to a medium-low to keep the water at a simmer.
Depending on the size and type of steamer you have, place the buns inside so they’re evenly spaced apart. With a bamboo steamer I’d recommend 3 buns per basket, so you will have to bake the buns in 2 batches.
Ensuring the lid is on top, place the baskets over the saucepan for 10 minutes.
Remove the baskets from the pan when the time is up and transfer the buns to a serving plate so you can steam any remaining buns.