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PIKACHU - Anpan-inspired Sweet Bun with Lemon & Berry Filling

Updated: Jul 19, 2021


Complexity: ★★★★☆


Hey you! Let’s go make some shockingly delicious treats!

Pikachu, the “Electric Mouse” Pokémon and the mascot of the entire series is one of the world's most recognizable characters - he's even landed himself the starring role in a Hollywood film!


Pokémon is a truly global sensation, but at its core it is proudly and distinctly Japanese. It seemed appropriate to represent Pikachu with a beloved Japanese treat: Anpan, a type of bun or sweet roll. Coincidentally, Anpan buns bear a striking resemblance to the “Poffins” from the Pokémon series!


Traditional Anpan contains red bean paste, but this variation brings some new flavours to best represent this cherished character. Conveying Pikachu’s electric type in terms of taste was quite a challenge, but the acidity of citrus fruit felt like the best choice. Tart lemon curd zaps this treat with an electrifying flavour! These buns are also filled with warm blueberry compote – after all, Pikachu’s Pokédex entry reads: "This intelligent Pokémon roasts hard berries with electricity to make them tender enough to eat." This fruity filling makes these buns reminiscent of jelly-filled donuts! If you're looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, this pastry will be super effective!



 

INGREDIENTS

Lemon Curd:

  • ½ cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 4 egg yolks

  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces

  • A pinch of salt

Blueberry Compote:

  • ¼ cup water

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

  • A pinch of salt

Candied Lemon Zest:

  • 1 lemon

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Bread Dough:

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast

  • 1 ¾ cups of bread flour (all-purpose will also work)

  • ½ cup of cake flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • A few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 egg


While Anpan are traditionally round, I made mine oval-shaped to better resemble "Poffins," special healing items found in the Generation IV Pokémon games. (image credit: bulbagarden.net)

PREPARATION

For Lemon Curd:

  1. Whisk juice, zest, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides, until a thermometer registers 160° and a curd begins to form, 8-10 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in butter, one piece at a time, until melted and incorporated.

  3. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the curd, and chill for at least an hour until set.

For Blueberry Compote:

  1. Combine ¼ cup water and sugar in a saucepan, heat until slightly reduced and syrupy. Stir in cornstarch and salt until smooth.

  2. Add the blueberries and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

For Candied Lemon Zest:

  1. Zest the lemon with a vegetable peeler to create small, thin strips of rind.

  2. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan, cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add lemon zest pieces and bring to boil. Lower and simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Remove lemon zest pieces with a fine mesh sieve or strainer, and spread out on a plate or cookie tray to dry. Toss with powdered sugar.

For Buns:

  1. Pour milk into a small saucepan and gently heat. Stir in sugar until dissolved and remove from heat. Sprinkle yeast on top, without stirring, and wait 10 minutes, until the yeast blooms and becomes foamy.

  2. Combine both flours and salt in a bowl. Mix in yeast mixture and food colouring, working with your hands until it forms a loose and sticky ball.

  3. Knead dough on a flour-dusted surface for about 5 minutes until elastic and less sticky.

  4. Cut butter into small cubes and fold into the dough until smooth and combined. Continue to knead for 5-10 minutes until dough softens.

  5. Shape dough into a ball, place into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about an hour or two.

  6. Punch the dough a few times to release gas and then reshape into a ball. Cut into 8 equal pieces and shape each into a ball.

  7. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

  8. Flatten each dough ball into a round disk and scoop a tablespoon each of lemon curd and blueberry compote into the middle. Pull all sides of the dough around and tightly wrap until the fillings are encased in a ball of dough. Gently shape into an ovular or lozenge shape. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.

  9. Beat the egg and stir in a tablespoon of water to create an egg wash, brush onto the top of each bun. Sprinkle the candied lemon zest on top. Place the tray of buns into an oven preheated to 400° and cook for 15 minutes, rotating half way through.

  10. Once the bread is baked (it should take on a darker colour), allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.



TOP TIER TIPS

  • Just keep kneading! The dough will be very loose and sticky at first and you might feel like you've done something wrong. Don't give up! It just needs a solid 10-15 minutes of kneading and it will start to take shape.

  • The "windowpane test" is an easy way to see if a bread dough's gluten has developed enough. Pull the dough with your thumb and fingers, stretching into a thin translucent membrane. If the dough tears easily, it’s not ready and requires more kneading.



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