Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hojicha Co. All images and opinions expressed are solely my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help make Sift & Simmer possible!
These Hojicha Chestnut Flower Buns are whimsical and fun — they’re filled with a homemade chestnut paste and are lovely for breakfast or a snack.
They are a tea-flavoured baked bun with a unique shape.
WHAT IS HOJICHA?
Hojicha is a roasted green tea that is deep, rich and smoky in flavour.
I love enjoying pairing hojicha with nutty flavours, such as in a warm Black Sesame Oat Latte, or with other teas, such as matcha… like this Mini Triple Layer Matcha & Hojicha Burnt Basque Cheesecake.
WHAT ARE CHESTNUTS?
Chestnuts are an edible nut from the Fagaceae family. They are brown in colour and have an outer “skin” which is very hard to peel.
Chestnuts are nutritious and versatile. They can be steamed, boiled, roasted, and used in sweet and savoury recipes.
Note that they are different than water chestnuts, which are also commonly used in Asian cuisine.
WHAT DO ROASTED CHESTNUTS TASTE LIKE?
Roasted chestnuts have a lightly sweet, earthy, nutty taste.
WHERE TO BUY/FIND ROASTED CHESTNUTS?
For this recipe, I used pre-packaged roasted chestnuts from the supermarket. They are convenient and can last a long time un-opened.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOJICHA CHESTNUT FLOWER BUNS
HOJICHA FLOWER BUNS
The soft dough is infused with hojicha (roasted green tea) powder which gives it a rich brown hue.
- all-purpose flour: regular flour will work perfectly fine for these buns
- hojicha powder: use a good quality hojicha powder such as Hojicha Co. for the best flavour
- active dry yeast: the agent that makes the buns rise; if you use instant yeast, decrease the amount to 2g
- granulated sugar: adds a little sweetness to the dough and helps activate the yeast; you can use whatever sweetener you prefer
- non-dairy milk: I used almond milk for the buns, but you can use any milk that you have on hand
- avocado oil: or any light vegetable oil; adds moisture to the buns
- vanilla extract: adds a little extra flavour to the dough
The filling is a lightly sweetened chestnut paste, simply made with:
- chestnuts: I used roasted and peeled chestnuts that are available in vacuum-sealed packages. (You can find these at Asian/major supermarkets.) Then, I mashed the chestnuts with a fork.
- maple syrup: or any type of sweetener you like; if you’re not vegan, you can use honey.
- avocado oil: or any light vegetable oil will work; adds moisture to the chestnuts and helps it bind together.
I personally love a little texture from the chestnuts, so I leave it with some chunks. If you prefer a smoother texture, simply puree the chestnut filling in a food processor.
Once the filling is made, divide it into 6 equal portions.
Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop to portion the filling with ease.
HOW TO MAKE THE HOJICHA DOUGH
Make the dough by kneading all the ingredients together until smooth and elastic. You can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or you can add the ingredients to a bowl and knead by hand.
Note: This is a small amount of dough, so if your stand mixer bowl is a larger capacity, you may want to do this by hand.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave it to rise in a warm location, until almost doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, deflate the dough and divide into 6 equal portions.
Roll out the dough into a disc, and place the chestnut filling in the centre. Gather and pinch the dough around the filling, similar to filling a steamed bun.
HOW TO SHAPE THE FLOWER
To attain the flower petal shape, flatten the filled bun into a disc, about 2cm in thickness. Don’t flatten it too thinly or the filling will burst out.
Place a small round mark (about 1cm in diameter) in the centre of the flattened bun. (You can use a wide straw to make a light indentation).
Next, use a sharp paring knife and make 5 slits of equal distance around the circumference of the disc. You’ll end up with 5 segments.
Then pinch the tips of each segment together to form the petal.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place the buns on to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover the buns with plastic wrap and leave until slightly puffy. It’s better to underproof the dough so that the buns retain their shape.
Bake the buns at 350F for 13-15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use a red bean paste to fill these buns.
I wouldn’t recommend a “wet” filling such as a custard/cream as it may leak.
ARE THESE BUNS VEGAN?
Like my Steamed Red Bean Paste Buns, these buns are completely vegan.
HOW TO STORE & REHEAT THE FLOWER BUNS
Store the Hojicha Chestnut Flower Buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
You can enjoy the buns at room temperature or reheat them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and enjoy warm.
The buns are delicate, but can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE
If you liked these buns, you may enjoy these other recipes:
These Hojicha Chestnut Flower Buns are not only whimsical and pretty to look at, but they’re a fun way to enjoy baked buns with a delicious (and nutritious) filling.
Let me know if you try out this recipe — tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below.
Hojicha Chestnut Flower Buns
- 100 g roasted and peeled chestnut mashed
- 15 g avocado oil
- 15 g maple syrup
- 107 g non-dairy milk (I used almond milk) warm
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 3 g active dry yeast
- 135 g all-purpose flour
- 5 g hojicha powder
- 15 g avocado oil
- 2 ml vanilla extract
- 1 tsp non-dairy milk
- black sesame seeds optional
Make the chestnut filling:
- Add the cooked chestnut into a small bowl.
- Mash the chestnut with a fork, until it is in smaller pieces.
- Add in the avocado oil and continue to mash, until it becomes almost paste-like.
- Add in the maple syrup and mix to combine.
- Divide into 6 equal portions, using a small ice cream scoop. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- Note: If you prefer a smoother paste, transfer the mixture to a small food processor and pulse until smooth.
Make the dough:
- Heat the almond milk until it is lukewarm. Add in the sugar and yeast. Give the mixture a stir and leave it to become foamy.
- Add the flour, hojicha, avocado oil and vanilla extract to a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
- Pour in the yeast mixture and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- This is a small amount of dough, so if your stand mixer bowl is a larger capacity, you may want to do this by hand. (Simply add all the ingredients into a bowl and knead by hand).
- Lightly grease a small bowl and transfer the dough to it. Cover with a damp cloth. Leave it to rise in a warm location, until almost doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, deflate the dough and divide into 6 equal portions.
- Roll out the dough into a disc and place the chestnut filling in the centre. Gather the dough around the filling and pinch the seams to enclose.
- To attain the flower petal shape, flatten the filled bun into a disc with a rolling pin, about 2cm in thickness. Don't flatten it too thinly or the filling will burst out.
- Make a small round mark (about 1cm in diameter) in the centre of the flattened bun. (You can use a wide straw to make a light indentation).
- Next, use a sharp paring knife and make 5 slits of equal distance around the circumference of the disc. You'll end up with 5 segments.
- Then pinch the tips of each segment together to form the petals.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let them rise in a warm location until just slightly puffy. [It's better to bake the buns slightly underproofed to retain their shape].
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the centre of each flower bun with some milk and sprinkle on some black sesame seeds (for decoration).
- Bake the buns at 350°F for 13-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Store buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.