Your favorite Asian bakery pastry can finally be made in the comfort of your own kitchen! These pineapple buns are pillowy, soft, and airy, with an extra crispy, buttery, and sugary crust that cracks perfectly into a pineapple pattern. In Flushing, NY, there’s this bakery called Tai Pan Bakery that serves the best red bean buns (豆沙包) with a pineapple bun topping.
This recipe is an attempt to recreate those buns and I honestly think that this version is better! I still love Tai Pan Bakery though don’t get me wrong.
These make the perfect addition to your Sunday brunch spread or a lovely dessert to finish a meal. You’ll likely also use them as a snack. Although these take some time, they are worth every bit of effort.
You’ll rarely get pastries and buns straight out of the oven at a bakery, but now you literally can eat these right as they come out of the oven! The filling is completely customizable too as I stuffed mine with mashed red bean and vanilla custard, which was an absolutely amazing combination. Feel free to leave out the filling as they are still tasty when plain.
- Taste: ★★★★★
- Difficulty: ★★★
- Ingredients: ★★
- Time: ~3 hours
Recipe (makes 16 buns)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp whole milk or water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 1-2 egg yolk(s)
- 2 tsp whole milk
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Melt the butter in the microwave then allow it to slightly cool before adding the milk, egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar. Mix until smooth.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in another medium-sized bowl. Gradually transfer dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients.
- Mix with a spoon or fork until a dough forms. The dough should be very crumbly. Use your hand to press the crumbs together until a dough log is formed. Transfer the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap the dough tightly so it forms a thick cylindrical log, about 2” (5 cm) in diameter.
- Transfer the dough to the fridge until ready to use.
- Warm the milk for about 40 seconds in the microwave. Pour it into a KitchenAid mixing bowl with the sugar and yeast. Stir it slightly and let it sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Look for bubbles!
- Add heavy cream, egg, all-purpose flour, and salt (add this last) into the bowl
- Install the dough hook on your KitchenAid. Mix at setting 2 until a dough forms, about 2 minutes.
- Turn off the mixer. Add the softened butter to the dough. Use a spatula to smear the butter into the dough to prevent it from splashing around the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer to setting 4 and knead for another 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchable. During mixing, turn off the mixer and scrape the sides as needed to make sure all the butter is incorporated. Test the dough by pulling a piece of it using both of your hands. It should stretch into a very thin and translucent sheet.
- Form the dough into a tight ball and then place back in the mixing bowl. Cover the top of the bowl loosely with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a slightly warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the dough has risen, punch the dough softly and turn the dough onto an unfloured working surface and knead it a few times. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough in half, then halve it again into four pieces, and cut each piece into four even pieces. You should get 16 pieces in total.
- One at a time, flatten the dough ball slightly in your palm, then add your filling of choice to the center. Be careful not to overfill.
- Fold the dough around the filling. Pinch the ends of a dough ball into its bottom and make sure its fully closed. Use both hands to roll the dough ball until it’s smooth.
- Place the dough ball onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Make sure there is 2” (5 cm) of space between each ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap while you form the rest, to prevent the dough from drying out.
- Once done, make sure the whole tray is loosely covered with plastic wrap. Let it rise for another 30 to 45 minutes, until they double in size again.
- Combine yolk, milk, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together until everything is combined.
- Cover with plastic and place in the fridge to let it thicken before using.
Rolling out the Topping
- While the dough is proving, take out the topping log and use a knife to slice it into 16 even pieces.
- Place each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the dough without cracking it, until it forms a round disk that is about (6 cm) in diameter.
- Place the rolled/pressed topping disks onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to assemble the buns.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C).
- Once the bread dough has risen for a second time, brush the buns with egg wash. Gently place the topping dough disks onto the bread dough rolls and brush with more egg wash.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the top is golden yellow and the bottom is slightly browned.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or in the fridge.