You want to make delicious Liu sha bao, the well known salted molten custard buns. They look so appetising and the moment you bite into one, you meet the liquid molten custard which tastes incredible. I first tried them in Honk Kong, and I've been excited about them ever since.
In this recipe, you're going to learn to make the perfect soft dough for the Liu sha bao and how to create the most formidable vegan custard, made with Hokkaido pumpkin. This is a healthy recipe you are going to enjoy making over and over again.
Liu sha bao may seem very complicated to make. How can you possibly make them that the custard flows gently and perfectly? I promise they are very easy to make. I will explain how to create the perfect ever buns. In fact, you will be surprised when I say that making these salted custard buns is the perfect activity with children too.
What are Liu sha bao?
Liu sha bao translated to salted egg yolk lava steamed buns. Traditionally Liu sha bao are made using egg yolk mixed with custard powder amongst other ingredients. But egg yolk is high in cholesterol so we wanted to reinvent the custard buns and make them vegan and much healthier.
Liu sha bao are a perfectly soft steamed bun with a molten custard inside. When you rip the steamed bun or bite into it, you'll mee the perfect sweet flow of custard. The consistency is meant to be identical to an egg yolk from a sunny side up or from a soft boiled egg. To imitate the perfect consistency, we are using Hokkaido pumpkin puree mixed with oat milk.
When steamed and consumed hot and fresh, you won't be able to tell the difference between eggy Liu sha bao and our vegan version.
How to make Liu sha bao
As previously explained how to make bao bun, you don't actually need any special flour. In a bowl, mix the flour, warm water, yeast, sugar and salt together.
Knead the flour until your dough becomes smooth and easy to handle. This is very important! The smoother the dough, the better your steamed custard buns will turn out.
Place the elastic dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to proof for 40 minutes or until double in size. Do not overproof your dough or else your steamed buns will collapse after the cooking process.
While your bun dough is rising, it's time to make the custard filling. In a saucepan, mix the pumpkin puree, oat milk, vegan butter, sugar, salt and pepper. I recommend using Hokkaido pumpkin for this recipe as its the sweetest and best. I roast my pumpkin first, and then use its flesh to puree it.
Add to a gentle boil and reduce the heat. Add the agar agar and whisk it in. Simmer for 3 minutes whisking continuously. Place the custard mixture in a bowl and allow it to cool in the fridge.
The assembly is super easy also. Start by lining a bamboo steamer with parchment paper. This will prevent your buns from sticking to the steamer when you try to remove them.
Press on the dough to remove any pockets of air. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a round disk. Place some of the custard mixture in the centre of the disk and fold into a round smooth bun.
Place the smooth buns in the steamer and let them rise for another 15-20 minutes. Steam them for 15-20 minutes and serve them hot.
Enjoy the molten vegan custard!
How to store Liu sha bao
When possible you should always aim to consume them fresh. That's when the dough is fluffiest. If you want to make Liu sha bao and save them for later you have two options.
The first one is to freeze the buns before you steam them. They keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply steam them from frozen and enjoy them as you would otherwise.
If you already steamed the whole batch but can't eat them all, keep the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. They should keep for about 2-3 days. Steam them again before eating them. Note that the dough might collapse.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.