Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Coconut Buns

Happy Halloween folks!

Halloween Coconut Buns

Gula melaka coconut filling

I've never made homemade gula melaka coconut filling before. In fact, I got my helper to help me with it as she has made it several times before when she makes ondeh-ondeh and kuih dadar. All I did was just measure out the ingredients that she eyeballed so that I can note it down, and then did some eyeballing of my own when she cooked it to note down the cooking process. Ha!

The backlog is still there, but I thought I should post something in real time once in a while. I made these today, and decided that since it was festival-related, I should post it up right away.

It's not my first attempt at ちぎりパン (chigiri pan - character buns). I've made several character buns before - Winnie the Pooh, Pooh version 2, Totoro and Mike Wazowski (yes, there are somewhere within the backlog). I'll eventually get to them and they will be on the blog then. Keep a look out!

The buns were quite easy to make, the only tough part was probably hand kneading the mashed pumpkin and charcoal powder into the dough. Oh, and piping the chocolate decor. When I broke open the first bun to try it, hey, I think it's pretty worth it.

As you can see, I stuffed quite a bit of coconut filling into the bun so that the ratio of filling:bun would be just nice and not too measly. Initially, looking at the amount of gula melaka my helper chopped up, I thought the coconut filling would be way too sweet. But it was fine, a little sweet, but not overly so. And she cooked it perfectly cos it was still slightly moist and not dry. Perfect for stuffing into a bun. The bread itself was also pretty yums,

Halloween Coconut Buns
(makes 12 buns)

Coconut filing
255g fresh coconut, shredded
160g gula mela (coconut palm sugar), chopped into small pieces
3 pandan leaves, knotted
1 cup water
½ tsp vanilla

Combine the gula melaka, pandan leaves and water into a wok.
Heat and boil mixture, stirring constantly till sugar is dissolved. Continue stirring and cook further till mixture is thickened, for another few minutes.
Add coconut. Using a spatula, mix the mixture until all the coconut is evenly coated with the palm sugar mixture. Add the vanilla. Stir constantly and cook over med high heat till the mixture is dry, for about 10 minutes or so. Remove the pandan leaves. Leave to cool completely.

Bread dough (adapted from here)
500g (minus 3-4 tbsp) bread flour
3-4 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp instant yeast
375g milk

For orange dough: 105g kabocha pumpkin, steam, mash and cooled
For black dough: charcoal powder

Mix all the ingredients, except butter, in a large bowl to get a dough. Add in butter and knead until dough is springy and soft, this takes around 10 minutes.
Cover the dough with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for it to rise to double in size. This took around an hour and a half.
Punch the air from the dough with your fist to deflate any air bubbles. Weigh the dough.
Cut out around 270g of dough and mix in the cooled mashed pumpkin. Knead till the colours are even. Weigh, and if need, add more dough to make it 1/3 of the original weight. When it's done, roll it out and form into a ball. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
Divide the remaining dough into two. Roll and form one portion into a ball. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
For the last portion, knead in some charcoal powder till the colours are evenly mixed. Roll to form a ball, cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
* I weighed my dough at this point to ensure that each portion weighed the same - 320g. *
Grease a 9" tray and three small ramekins, set aside.
Divide each coloured dough into four portions (80g).  Take one 80g dough, form a ball, roll flat and put about a heaping tablespoon of coconut filling in the middle. Wrap the dough around the filling and form a ball. Repeat with each 80g dough ball.
Place the dough balls into the greased tray and ramekins. Stick pumpkin seeds into the top of the orange dough.
Cover and leave to proof for 30-40 minutes till double in size.
Preheat oven to 190C. Turn to 140C, place baking tray into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. After 7-8 minutes, cover the bread with foil.
Cool completely.
Decorate with melted chocolate.

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