Teddiursa Custard Buns

Teddiursa is a perfect demonstration for a cute Johto Pokemon….that turns into something less cute(I’m looking at you, Ursaring). These adorable little teddy bears with a crescent moon pattern have a simple enough shaped head for me to replicate it in pastry form! Truthfully,I had been putting off this recipe for a minute, just because attempts 1 and 2 on these turned out… really bizarre. I was originally using a mochi bread recipe to make these little Teddiursa buns, and they just were not baking out the way that I wanted them to – lots of cracking and deflating, which is a no-no when the buns are supposed to resemble Teddiursa’s head, not Teddiursa’s head after you dropped it onto some pavement. So I decided to ditch the mochi aspect, going with a more standard bread dough, and lean into using honey, since Teddiursa is a bear, and bears love honey! The end result were these cute little custard buns!

For the components, we have a honey custard that is baked into a kinako(toasted soybean flour)-honey bread, and garnish with a blonde chocolate crescent, a honey cream, and some edible paint for the eyes and ears. I went with the custard bun direction since I wanted to do a little more than just a bread bun, and the method of assembling these buns is very similar to how we would make the breads at Milkbar – we would scoop and freeze the fillings into these little balls, then press them into the dough, and roll them around to seal the filling inside of the bread buns. It was honestly a very therapeutic process, and one that I greatly enjoyed doing during my time there. For the filling, the custard is made in a similar fashion to a snow skin mooncake, just to make sure it holds its structure well during the baking process. The dough is a relatively simple bread dough, but I also used kinako, which is toasted soy bean flour, just to get the color of Teddiursa.

For the honey custard:
2oz honey
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, heat up honey and milk. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with cornstarch and salt. Pour half of the honey milk over your egg yolks while whipping. Then pour the egg yolks back into the pot with the honey milk. Whisk everything over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until the custard thickens substantially. Take the custard off heat and whisk in the butter, then the vanilla. Pour into a shallow container and press with cling wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then scoop into 8 balls. Freeze the balls for better assembly results.

For the kinako-honey dough:
1/2 cup milk
1oz honey
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup kinako powder
1 packet active-dry yeast
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp canola oil

In a pot, heat up milk and honey until just lukewarm, over low heat. You just want the milk to be warm to the touch, but not scalding. Measure out the other ingredients, minus the egg white, into a mixing bowl. Pour the lukewarm milk and honey mixture over the other ingredients, minus the egg white, and knead until they come together to form a smooth dough. Allow your dough to rest in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, and roll out 8 of the pieces into disks. Press the frozen balls of filling inside and wrap the dough around the filling to form round balls. With the remaining 2 pieces of dough, divide them into 16 pieces – these will be Teddiursa’s ears. Roll each piece into a perfectly round ball. Allow the dough to proof at room temperature for another hour. Then bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, baking the ears at 350 degrees F for just 10 of those minutes. Allow the buns to cool down before doing your final assembly on them.

For the burnt honey ganache:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp heavy cream

In a pot over medium heat, heat up white chocolate, honey, and salt until the mixture turns an amber brown color. Add in the other ingredients, turn off the heat, and stir until everything is combined and fully melted together. Pour into a shallow heatproof container and allow the mixture to cool down in the refrigerator, covered. Right before assembling, whip the mixture until it is just soft, and transfer to a piping bag.

For the honey cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
1g xanthan gum

In a bowl, whip everything together until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag.

For the blonde chocolate crescents:
2oz blonde chocolate
a pinch of salt

In a double boiler, melt down 3/4 of the blonde chocolate completely. Allow the chocolate to come down to roughly the same temperature as your forehead, then stir in the remaining chocolate until fully melted, bringing the chocolate back over the double boiler in 20 second-intervals as needed. Pour the chocolate over acetate or parchment and spread into a thin layer. Allow the chocolate to firm up at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting out your crescents. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool down completely.

To garnish:
1/4 tsp activated charcoal
1 tsp clear alcohol
honey

Pipe the honey cream onto the buns to form Teddiursa’s mouth. Use a small amount of the ganache to glue the blonde chocolate crescents onto Teddiursa’s forehead, and the ears onto the head. In a bowl, mix the charcoal with clear alcohol to form a “paint”. Use the ends of chopsticks to paint on the eyes, ears, and snout on each bun. Drizzle some honey on top of the buns to finish.

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