Soft, fluffy, and lightly sweetened hua juan steamed buns are infused with mashed pumpkin and shaped into flowers.
SOFT FLUFFY PUMPKIN STEAMED BUNS
The couple months I had been making lots of basic steamed buns to make sure my soft fluffy steamed buns are replicable at others’ kitchens. The kids didn’t seem to mind it as steamed buns are their favorites, especially my daughter. She loves them plain or filled! Pumpkin season is not quite over yet and I got several packs of mashed pumpkin that I froze in the freezer. This pumpkin flower steamed buns are made using the basic recipe I mentioned above and added the mashed pumpkin. The steamed buns are soft, lightly sweetened, and have a mild flavor of pumpkin and absolutely vibrant with no artificial coloring.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE OR MASHED PUMPKIN FROM A FRESH PUMPKIN
1. COOK THE PUMPKIN:
-Using Instant pot pressure cooker
Cut the pumpkin into wedges. Remove seeds. There’s no need to remove the skin. Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot of instant pot. Place the collapsible steamer in there. Arrange your pumpkin wedges in there. Seal the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure and set timer for 1 minute for small wedges and 3 minutes for large wedges. Wait 5 minutes and then fully release pressure
-Using a steamer
Cut the pumpkin into wedges. Remove seeds. There’s no need to remove the skin. Bring the water in the steamer to a boil. Place pumpkin in the steamer and steam on high heat for 10-15 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork-tender and can be easily mashed
2. SCRAPE THE PUMPKIN FLESH
Use a spoon to easily scrape the flesh of the pumpkin and discard the skin
3. MASH OR PUREE THE PUMPKIN
If you want to make a puree, simply put the pumpkin in a blender and blend away into a puree. Do not add any liquid, unless you are using it for a recipe. If you want to mash the pumpkin, use a fork to simply mash it
4. STORE THE EXTRA
I freeze the mashed pumpkin in 100 gr portion in a freezer bag. Push all the air out from the freezer bag and pack it flat so you can lay them flat in the freezer. They can be kept for 3 months in the freezer
CANNED PUMPKIN VS FRESH MASHED PUMPKIN
Canned pumpkin is widely available here in the U.S. If you don’t feel like cutting your own pumpkin and then steam and mash it, yes, you definitely can use canned pumpkin. You can substitute with equal amount called for in the recipe.
HOW TO SHAPE THE FLOWER STEAMED BUNS
Once your dough is done with the 1st rise, here’s what to do next:
1. Divide the dough into 48 small pieces
2. Keeping the rest covered, take 3-4 small doughs (I used 4 doughs in this example, I prefer 3 as the buns won’t be too big) and roll each dough into about 4-inch circle and then overlap them by about 1-inch. Just gently press on the overlapped area so they won’t come loose when you roll it up
3. Roll it up like a Swiss roll from the short side
4. This is how it looks like
5. Cut the roll into two with a sharp knife or dough scraper/knife
6. This will give you 2 large flower rolls
7. Place the cut-side down on a parchment paper or muffin paper
Easy as that 🙂 My daughter was all head over heels with this pumpkin flower rolls. I guess we do eat with our eyes first, don’t we?
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THESE PUMPKIN FLOWER ROLLS
These rolls are so good on their own if you ask me. It’s just lightly sweetened. My daughter likes to eat them with honey, fruit spread/jam, my easy kaya jam, Nutella. They can be served with savory dishes too, just like you would your regular dinner rolls.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT EXTRA STEAMED BUNS
Let the steamed buns cooled down completely. I usually individually wrap them with a plastic wrap and then place them inside a freezer bag. They can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to eat, they can go straight from the freezer to the steamer. Steam for about 5 minutes and they are as good as new.
The best part is tearing the steamed buns apart and stuff it into the mouth!!!
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Soft and Fluffy Pumpkin Hua Juan (Flower Steamed Buns)
For the dough:
- 180 gr all-purpose flour 1 cup + 5 Tbsp, plus more for dusting
- 180 gr cake flour 1 cup + 5 1/2 Tbsp
- 4 gr instant yeast about 1 1/4 tsp
- 60 gr sugar about 5 Tbsp, more if you want it sweeter
- 200 gr mashed pumpkin
- 1 tsp oil
- 50 ml cold/room temperature water start with this amount, you may or may not need more liquid
Making the dough with a machine:
- Place all ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl, except for the water. Use the dough hook attachment and start kneading the dough on the lowest speed. Depending on how much liquid is in the mashed pumpkin, you may add a bit water, teaspoon by teaspoon if needed. Increase speed to 2 and knead the dough for 10-12 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and stretchy
Making the dough by hands:
- Place all ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl, except for the water. Mix until you get a rough dough (it's not going to be smooth yet) and add water a bit by a bit as needed. Cover and rest it for 15 minutes. Then go back and knead it. You'll be surprised by how easier it is to knead it now. Knead until the dough is smooth and pliable, about 15-20 minutes. At any point during kneading, you can always stop and rest the dough if you find it hard to knead. This is to relax the gluten. Then go back to knead again and you'll be surprised by the difference it makes by just resting the dough before kneading again. It's easier for you too
Rest the dough:
- Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes. This is not to proof the dough. It shouldn't double in size. This is to relax the gluten for easier shaping and rolling the dough
- Roll the dough into a long log. Cut into 48 roughly equal pieces
- Keep the rest of the small doughs covered. Take 3 doughs. Work with 1 dough at a time. Flatten the dough with your palm and then roll it out into about 4-inch circle
- Repeat with the other 2 doughs. Overlap each circle by about 1-inch. Gently press on the overlapped part to secure
- Roll it up from the short side like rolling a Swiss roll
- Cut it into two. Place the cut side down on a parchment paper or muffin paper. Repeat with the next 3 sets of the dough
- Keep the flower shaped dough cover with a cloth and let them rise until about 50% of its original size, may take about 30 minutes to one hour. When you gently press on the dough, it should slowly bounce back. If it bounces back immediately, it needs to be proofed longer. Also, lift the dough up to feel if they are lighter. A nicely proofed dough will feel much lighter than before. They won't necessarily double in size, but will be at least 50% larger than the original size. When all these three are met, the buns are ready to be steamed
Steaming (you may need to steam in batches):
- Most likely your steamer won't be able to accommodate steaming all buns at one go unless you have something like this 3-tier food steamer (which I love a lot!). You may need to steam in 2-3 batches, which means, the rest of the batches will sit longer and continue to proof while waiting for the steamer. Not good for the buns! Here's what you can do: Make sure the cover them with plastic wrap and then place them in the refrigerator to slow down the yeast activity or halt it all together until they are ready to be steamed
- Bring the water in your steamer to a rolling boil. Wrap the steamer's lid with a cloth (not needed with bamboo basket).
- LOWER THE HEAT TO MEDIUM. Place the buns in there, leaving about 1-inch space in between. Cover with a lid but leaving it about 1/4-inch gap for some steam to escape. Steam on medium heat for 8 minutes. This is especially important if you see that you have overproof the steamed buns (the steamed buns have doubled in size and they have widened to the side). As long as you steam them like this, the buns will not wrinkle and collapse later when you take them out from the steamer
- After 8 minutes, turn off the heat and let them sit for another 1 minute so the steamed buns won't shrink due to sudden temperature change. Remove from the steamer to a cooling rack so the bottom of the buns will not be wet and soggy
- Continue to steam the rest of the buns