Overly ambitious? probably...completely delicious? Definitely! Yes, this is a 3 day project. But, it's something I have been wanting to see if I could make for a long time. And, the results are great. I loved them, mom loved them, even Brian loved them! I'm so happy these were a success!
I love loved the dough to this recipe. I'm already pondering all the potential fillings, and I can't believe how, well, shiny brown they turned out. The dough was soft and slightly sweet, and the filling was rich, salty and very flavorful. Overall a great experiment.
I kind of cobbled this recipe together, after talking to quite a few people and searching and searching the internet. Most of the recipes I found had red food coloring and/or five spice, and I didn't want either in my finished product, so I chose an amalgamation of about 5 different recipes that looked like they had potential. The big surprise was the pork cooking method. I had heard about it a few times, but never considered it would really work. But, try it, it does work.
Baked Pork Buns - Char Siu Bao
For the pork:
2 lbs pork shoulder roast with large pieces of fat removed
1/3 c. hoisin sauce
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. honey
3 T. brown sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 T. wine or sherry (optional)
Combine all the marinade ingredients and set aside. Cut pork into medium pieces, and marinade for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. If the marinade doesn't completely cover the pork, turn a few times while marinading.
Heat the oven to 375. Pour some water in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. Place the pork on a metal roasting rack and place above the water. The water should not touch the meat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and cook for 40-45 minutes. Half way through the cooking process, turn the pork and rub with additional marinade.
Serve as is, or cool and use for barbecue pork filling
Barbecue Pork Filling
2 cups barbecue pork, minced finely
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 T. honey
2 T. dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 T. oil
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. oyster sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 3 T. cold water
Heat a skillet or wok on medium high heat. Saute green onions until softened, add garlic and barbecue pork and saute 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except corn starch, and stir until well combined. Once mixture starts to bubble, add cornstarch mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool for filling.
1 T. yeast
2/3 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
3 to 3 1/2 c. bread flour
1/3 c. vegetable oil
24 5x5 squares of parchment paper (these little suckers stick, so be prepared!)
2 T. honey
Mix the yeast, sugar, and water in a mixing bowl. Set aside for 10minutes. The yeast should become foamy and bubbly. If it does not, start over.
Combine the yeast mixture with the egg, oil, and 2 cups flour. Stir until flour is incorporated. Add additional flour, 1/3 c. at a time until dough isn't sticky but is still soft consistency. Knead for 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 15 minutes by hand.
Place in a large bowl and lightly oil surface. Let rise at least 2 hours, until triple in size. When you are ready, turn dough out onto work surface and divide into 24 pieces.
For each bun, roll each piece into a round with a rolling pin. I've discovered that if you make the center of the round thicker, and the edges a little thinner, you will get a more even bun. Place 1-2 T. filling in the center of the dough, and bring the edges around and pinch in place. Place the finished bun seam side down on a square of parchment paper.
Place the buns in a warm place and let rest 30-45 minutes. While they are resting, preheat the oven to 350. When the buns look puffy and ready to go in the oven, heat the honey in the microwave for 15 seconds and brush over each of the pastries. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. When removed from the oven, brush again with the warmed honey. Great served both hot and warm.