Taiwanese pastries tasty and sweet…

3 Oct

This post is for Shen, who gave me the recipe for these pastries and who had a hilarious “OMGSH” moment this past summer as to who Bobby and I were. It is also several months tardy. Sorry for falling off the face of this earth, guys.


MIT’s Association of Taiwanese Students (aka my life and love) is known campus-wide for our monthly pastry sales. We wake up obscenely early to make a trek out to Chinatown and bring boxes and boxes of fresh pastries back to campus. Back in July, I thought I’d try making my own.

The pastries were absolutely delicious and a big hit with both my housemates and Bobby. I made custard and scallion buns, but I’m definitely going to try making red bean and hot dog (I have some excellent veggie meat) in the future.  This time, the crust was a bit crunchy and the inside rather tough, probably because of the high gluten content of the all purpose flour. I’ve found some pastry flour since, and am looking forward to trying this recipe again.

Taiwanese Pastry Buns
Recipe from the illustrious Shenwen who adapted it from House of Annie

1.25 cup warm water (300 mL)
4 tsp active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour (600 g)
0.5 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (110g)
1.5 tsp salt (10g)
2 tbsp + 2 tsp milk powder (20g)
1 egg
4 tbsp butter (60 g)

Mix the dry yeast with the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes.

Mix together 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and milk powder. Add the egg, then the water and yeast mixture, and knead until it forms a dough. Add more flour as needed. I used roughly 4.5 cups of flour. Add the butter and continue kneading to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough is ready it passes the windowpane test.


Gather dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Flip dough around to oil the entire dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest until it doubles in size, preferably in a warm place, where it will double faster. I microwaved a cup of water for about a minute to steam up the inside, then stuck the dough in and closed the door.

After the dough has risen, divide it into small balls – one batch will make 18-24 buns, depending on the size you want your buns to be. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes (often your first balls are done by the time you finish the last ones), then shape (see recipe for fillings below).

When all the buns are done, cover loosely and let it rise a second time until doubled in size again. Then, brush the buns on the top with eggwash gently. Bake buns at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

custard bun

Custard Filling

1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
4 large egg yolks
4/3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks until thick and yellow (~2 minutes with a mixer on high speed). Meanwhile, heat milk and vanilla over medium heat.

Gradually add 1/3 of the milk to the egg mixture to temper the eggs; mix well. Add the egg/milk mixture back to the pan and the rest of the milk. Cook, whisking constantly. Make sure you scrape the corners and bottom to prevent scorching. After the custard starts to thicken, cook for another 45-60 seconds.

Pour the custard into a clean bowl and cover. Refrigerate until cold; custard may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To make the bun, flatten each ball of dough and put 1-2 tsp custard in the center. Be careful not to overfill, or they filling will spill out while baking. Bring the edges around and pinch closed all the way around. Place the buns pinch-side down on a baking sheet.


Scallion Topping

scallions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp oil

Lightly fry the scallions with oil, salt, and pepper.

Shape the buns into slightly elongated spheres let rise. Brush the tops with eggwash and sprinkle scallions on top. Place on baking sheet.

Length of procrastination: 3 hours (total, including rise time)
Ways to prolong procrastination: Make more flavors of buns! Nom nom nom nom…

3 Responses to “Taiwanese pastries tasty and sweet…”

  1. Shen October 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    <3! Scallion buns are my FAVOURITE. (Also, Karen adapted the recipe further for the ABSK pastry event that they did. It was pretty good as well.)

    Also, you could also have a pastry party. Or something like that. :D

  2. Nate October 5, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    I’m glad you guys liked the recipe. Hope you get to try it out with red bean and other flavors!

  3. Sangduan July 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    I made one today. It’s super delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.

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