Melon Pan, also known as Pineapple Bun in Chinese, is not named for their fruity flavours or filling. But rather their surface texture and shape that resemble a melon or a pineapple. The base bread is soft, pillowy and slightly sweet. It can be filled with savoury fillings, such as Chinese BBQ pork, or with sweet fillings, such as custard. Adding the cookie topping gives the bun a contrasting, sweet crunch.
Matcha Melon Pan
Traditionally, these buns are shaped round but you can use your imagination to create different shapes. The matcha powder gives this a wonderful flavour and colour, but it can be substituted with vanilla powder or cocoa powder instead. When kneading the dough, it will be fairly soft and wet but due to the high butter content, it should eventually stop sticking to your hands. The buns expand quite a bit, so give them extra room when laying them out on the cookie sheets.
- Step 1
Make the bread dough by mixing the flour, matcha, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
- Step 2
Break the butter into pieces and add to flour mixture. Mix and break up the butter with the flour using your fingers until the mixture is a mealy texture.
- Step 3
In a separate bowl, stir the water and egg together. Pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Step 4
Mix and knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough will be very soft but not sticky to the hands. Cover and let rise in warm area for 45 minutes.
- Step 5
While the dough is rising, make the cookie dough by creaming the butter, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Step 6
Stir in egg and vanilla. Mix until blended together.
- Step 7
Stir in the flour, matcha powder and baking powder. Mix until everything comes together.
- Step 8
Ball up the cookie dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Step 9
Once the bread dough finishes rising, divide it into 16 equal pieces and ball up each piece. Place them onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Let the dough balls rise for 20 minutes.
- Step 10
While the dough balls are rising, take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 16 equal pieces. Ball up each piece and cover the pieces with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- Step 11
Once the bread dough finishes rising, roll out each cookie dough into a flat circle. Brush a little water on the tops of each ball of bread dough and wrap a cookie round on top.
- Step 12
Let the melon pan rise again for another 20 minutes.
- Step 13
Score the cookie dough in a lattice pattern with a sharp knife. Brush the tops of the cookie dough with a bit of water and sprinkle some coarse sugar on it.
- Step 14
Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.