Sunday, 21 September 2014

Red Bean Pumpkin Rolls

On my birthday, one of my best friends wrote me a card and in it there were two quotes. The first quote was a Dr. Seuss one, which can be applied to any kinds of situation. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". The second however, spoke to me on a deeper level. It was originally Japanese, translated to Chinese - '今后我想在自己选择的道路上一步一步的寻找光明。直到我能这样微笑着说话为止,在哪之前我至少要流下一公升的眼泪', from the Japanese Drama One Litre of Tears, which was based on a real life story of a young girl named Aya who kept a journal while her body wore away from spinocerebellar degeneration.
"From today onwards I wish to march on the path that I myself chose, step by step in search of light. Until I can genuinely smile while I speak, I must shed at least 1 litre of tears".
We must constantly strive for happiness, for equilibrium and balance, in this ever changing world. And that is what I will leave you with today, alongside these photos and recipe.

I tried several variations of the pumpkin bread, making both savoury and sweet versions. In the end I think I prefer the red bean version the best! I also tried several versions of dough, the original recipe called for milk added to the mixture. It made the dough really soft and harder to handle (dough in the round bowl), so I omitted it and added more pumpkin instead (dough in the square-ish bowl).

In terms of flavour, you can't really taste much of the pumpkin. It just lends a subtle sweetness and gives the bread a stunning bright colour!

Red Bean Pumpkin Rolls

Makes 12 
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction 

For the dough:
160g pumpkin, chopped into cubes (leaving the skin on is fine)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt 
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp five spice 
1 egg, beaten 
2 tsp dried yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

For the filling:
Red bean paste 

1. Place the pumpkin into a pot of boiling water and let it simmer until softened (about 15 minutes). Test with a fork. 
2. Drain the pumpkin, then mash with a fork. 
3. Add the oil, salt, sugar and spices and mix until well combined. 
4. Add in the egg and mix well.  
5. Add the yeast and flour and stir until combined. Tip mixture onto a floured surface and knead with floured hands. You will need to knead until the dough becomes smooth, feels elastic, doesn't stick to your hands and springs back when pressed with a finger. Treat the dough gently, but firmly. 
Alternatively, knead with a mixer with the dough hook attachment, but this takes the fun of making bread away!
6. Oil a big bowl and the surface of the dough, then place the dough in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap or damp cloth. Let the dough proof for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. 
7. Knock down by punching the dough to deflate it. Knead the dough, folding the rough side in so the smooth surface is on the outside. Shape and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape. 
8. Spread your desired amount of red bean paste onto the dough, then roll up like a swiss roll. Divide this log into 12. 
9. Place each dough into a muffin hole, cover with damp cloth and let it proof a second time for about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size again. At the 45 minute mark, turn on the oven to 180C to preheat. 
10. Glaze the rolls with a light layer of egg white then bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. You'll know the bread is done when you tap the bottom of the roll and it sounds hollow. 
11. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. 

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