Charcoal Buns with Green Tea Matcha Custard Filling

It’s time for some oozy-gooey-flowy matcha.

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Ok so some people seem to get disgusted by the idea of a green sticky filling. Reminds them of snot or something. Well it’s time to open your mind and broaden your horizons because there’s a whole world out there waiting for you to explore. And some of that world consists of green custard, alright?

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The green custard is restrained by charcoal bread, which colour is more for dramatic effect rather than any health benefits, really. Charcoal powder is used quite commonly in Asian baking. I’ve used it before in my Charcoal Bread with Salted Egg Yolk Filling, but this time I’m going to be using a different recipe which I think yields a softer bun.

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Get some dramatic sunrise lighting on those buns.

Charcoal Buns with Green Tea Matcha Filling

If your ability to wrap a filling is better than mine, you’ll probably end up with more custard in your buns. And for those that haven’t eaten matcha before it’s like ground-up green tea, also commonly used in Asian cooking. It kinda has a mildly bitter, earthy taste, but I think it complements sweet things really well.

I used my standard Asian-style bread recipe originally used here, and just adjusted for the charcoal powder. I got the recipe for the filling from here.

Ingredients (makes about 12 buns)

Green Tea Custard

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60g sugar
  • 10g flour
  • 10g matcha powder
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Water roux

  • 75g water (1/3 cup)
  • 14g plain flour (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Bread dough

  • 300g bread flour (2 1/2 cup minus about a tbsp)
  • 14g charcoal powder
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 110g heavy cream (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sweetened condensed milk (1/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 37g unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 tbsp)

Method

Matcha Custard

  1. In a pot, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, flour, and green tea powder.
  2. Add in the milk and set over medium-high heat. Heat until the custard thickens, stirring continuously.
  3. When the custard is thick enough that when you dribble a bit back in the dribble briefly retains its shape, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Divide up the custard into tbsp-sized portions and place on a lined baking sheet (making sure you have at least 12 portions, or however many buns you want to make). Freeze until solid.

Water roux

  1. Mix the water, flour, and salt together in a microwave-proof bowl until there are no lumps.
  2. Microwave on high at 15 seconds intervals, whisking the mixture until smooth every time you take the bowl out of the microwave. The mixture is ready when it is thick and leaves behind ribbons.
  3. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bread dough

  1. Mix together the bread flour, charcoal powder, yeast, and sugar. Then add the water roux, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and egg white. Knead well until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
  2. Add the softened butter in 3 additions, adding a new addition after the butter has been well incorporated into the bowl. Keep kneading until your bread reaches windowpane stage.
  3. Cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm and let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  4. Knock down the bread dough and split the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each dough piece into a ball shape, and roll flat.
  5. Place a tbsp of the frozen matcha custard in the middle of the dough disc, and wrap the dough around the custard well, making sure to seal tightly.
  6. Let the buns rise until doubled in size, about 1.5h.
  7. After doubled in size, brush the tops of the buns with some oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  8. Bake at 200ºC for 15-17 mins.

Notes

  • The frozen custard dough will retard the second rise of the dough, take that into consideration when planning the bake.
  • It can be difficult to judge when the bread is done since it is so dark, I just judged it by smell.
  • The times given for proofing the dough are a rough guide, since it is very dependent on temperature. Follow the visual cues (ie doubled in size) rather than the exact timing.
  • You have to use ground up matcha powder don’t use green tea leaves.
  • Make sure to seal the buns well!! The custard is super gooey and will seep out of any holes you’ve missed.
  • Use vanilla essence/extract whichever you prefer.
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Hōjicha and Honey Ice Cream (Roasted Green Tea Ice Cream)

The smokey, lightly tannic flavour of hōjicha is tamed by the mellow sweetness of honey and the richness of cream. A lot of cream.

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Let me start off by showing off how fresh my egg yolks were.

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Hōjicha is basically roasted green tea, and this roasting process gives a slightly toasted flavour to the tea. It tastes less bitter, and is also overall lighter on the tongue.

It also supposedly has less caffeine than regular green tea but eh.

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I’ve wanted to make hōjicha ice cream ever since my trip to Hokkaido. I thought that green tea would be the default tea served there, but turns out hōjicha seemed to be more popular.

Also, who needs a whisk when you have a chopstick. Just the one.

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You end up with a beautifully rich ice cream – luscious, creamy, and smooth. The overnight cold infusion of the tea leaves also results in a more delicate flavour, so you get an intense flavour without the bitterness of over-steeped tea.

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The base recipe is the same as the one in my Matcha Ice Cream, which was based off one of icecreamscience‘s recipes.

Ingredients

  • 417g double cream (see notes)
  • 319g semi-skimmed milk
  • 46g skimmed milk powder
  • 120g sugar
  • 78g egg yolks (about 4 eggs)
  • 6 hōjicha tea bags
  • 1-2 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Mix yolks, sugar, skimmed milk powder vigorously together in a large saucepan. This is to stop the yolks from curdling.
  2. Mix in the cream and milk.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. You’re aiming to hold the mixture at about 71°C for about 20 mins to reduce the mixture by 15% by weight. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can just try to hold the mixture at the point when it’s steaming slightly (not too much and DEFINITELY not at a boil) and reduce it till it coats the back of your spoon. If you overheat your mixture you will get an eggy hydrogen sulfide taste.
  4. Transfer the ice cream mixture to a large container and add in your hōjicha tea leaves (if using tea bags cut open the bags). Add in the honey, and mix.
  5. Cool the mixture down as fast as you can, preferably by cooling it in a container in an ice bath. Once it’s cool put it in the fridge to age overnight. This is to reduce the bacteria growing so the ice cream keeps for longer, as well as to allow the flavour of the tea to infuse.
  6. The next day, sieve the mixture. Press the remaining tea leaves against the sift to get the last bits of flavour out.
  7. Put the sieved ice cream mixture into your ice cream machine.
  8. When the ice cream reaches the texture desired, stop churning and immediately store your ice cream in the freezer set at the lowest temperature (orrr you could just eat it straight away).
  9. To eat, allow to thaw for 10 mins first.

Notes

  • If you know the fat percentage of the cream you’re using, you can use other cream. Go to icecreamscience’s original blog post to calculate the adjusted recipe amounts (he has an excel sheet).
  • Holding the ice cream at 71°C makes the proteins in the milk undergo reversible unfolding which contributes to the creamy texture of the ice cream.
  • If your freezer can’t go as low as -18°C (like mine), I recommend eating the ice cream within a day or two. It can get icy if you can’t store it at low enough temperatures.