After every late night rushing reports and essays, comes the false belief that my productivity during the following days will be just like it is at 4am, when the assignment is only half done and I can hear my neighbour’s truck backing out of the driveway as he gets ready for work. This burst of productivity often involves things like catching up on the numerous lectures I’ve missed on the past week, tidying up my work space(s), replying emails and most importantly, finding time to write up a blog post.
Just judging by the frequency of which I blog, it probably won’t come as a surprise that this has yet to occur, as nothing could be further away from reality!
Actually, it's not that I haven't been writing anything for this blog. I’ve been writing some paragraphs now and again, only to delete them a week later when reread what I wrote and realise how stupid it all sounds. These buns, for example, have been waiting to be posted for quite some time now. But have yet to have a completed chunk of writing to be posted with.
’m actually quite excited to post these, as it is the first time on this blog that I’ve featured my most favourite plush toy character - a freckle faced, thumb-sucking, monkey known as Monchhichi! Perhaps not everyone's idea of cute (heck, I thought they were pretty ugly when I first saw them), but we all have different tastes ;)
Inspiration actually came from a very unexpected place- my schedule diary (Monchhichi themed of course!) which I use to keep up with all the due dates for uni work :) I’ve always wanted to make a Monchhichi cake, but its shape and features are a bit more difficult to make than most other characters I've made before and I couldn't quite figure out how to make it. It wasn’t until I came across a picture of Monchhichi buns that I realised bread would be much easier to shape than cake (duh!).
I used a chocolate pineapple topping for the hair of the monkey- pineapple topping as in that of the Asian pineapple bun, named so because of the pineapple-like pattern created upon baking, and not because of the presence of pineapple, as I once thought when I was young (and would often be dissappointed at the lack of pineapple flavour in the bun!). Because I'm not too much of a fan of pineapple buns, I also added some char siu filling to spice things up, attempting to replicate a favourite of ours at a yum cha restaurant.
The char siu filling recipe is one that I've been using for quite a while now, and though it's quite similar to most other recipes you'll find online, it is amazing! I usually scale up or down the recipe depending on how much char siu I have (usually leftover from last night's dinner!), and end up eating the filling by itself by the spoonful :)
Of all the cartoon character/animal shaped foods I've made, I'll admit this one has to be the ugliest and bears only little resemblance to the original. I’m sure the octopus and bear ones are fit better to the ‘normal definition of cute but the Monchhichi ones are by far my favourite because it's a character I'm absolutely crazy about ♥
P.S: I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas on types of foods I can shape into characters like these!
Pinapple Char Siu Bun Recipe
Recipe from Hong Kong Breads by Yau Yung Ling
Dough recipe from Corner Cafe
Note: The amount of filling may not be the exact amount needed to fill all the dough as all the shapes I made used a different dough:filling ratio.
375g bread flour
100g plain flour
35g milk powder
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
40g butter, cubed
25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water
640g Char Siu (Barbecued Pork), diced
1 Medium Onion, diced
Slice of ginger, diced
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy
1 Tbsp Light Soy
1 tsp sesame Oil
Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Cornflour
300g Warm water
168g Soft Flour
14g Milk Powder
1 egg yolk
70g lard/vegetable oil
Some condensed milk (I omitted due as I didn't know what 'some' meant)
28g evaporated milk
1g baking soda
2g ammonia powder (I omitted this)
- To make the roux, mix together the flour and the water and heat over medium heat until it reaches 65 degrees celcius. Turn the heat off and leave to cool until lukewarm
- To make the dough, mix together all the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle of the mixture. Add the egg and the water roux and mix. Add the water until a soft dough it formed and then knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (~10 min) Knead in the butter until it is incorporated. If making it in a breadmachine, put in all the water and dry ingredients and let it knead for a while. Add the water roux and let it knead, adding water or flour as necessary. Add the butter when the dough becomes smooth (~10minutes).
- Place the dough in a warm spot to rise until double its size (~1 hour)
- For the filling, heat the onion and ginger with 1 tsp of oil in a wok until onions begin to soften. Add the remaining ingredients except for water and flours. Adjust to taste and bring to boil. Mix the flours with the water and add to the mixture, heat until thickened.
- For the pineapple crust, cream the butter, lard/vegetable oil, and sugar together. Add egg yolk, followed by the evaporated and condensed milk. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
- Divide the dough in 16 pieces and fill each with your desired amount of filling. Divide the pineapple crust into 16 pieces (I found that this amount wasn't quite enough for 16 buns) and flatten each into a thin circle and lay it top of each bun.
- Place on a baking tray and cover with cling wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in size (mine usually takes longer)
- Brush the top with egg wash and bake at 180oC for 10 minutes or until golden brown.