Pandan Red Bean Scrolls

It’s the school holidays again and I can’t wait to finally have blocks of uninterrupted time to bake more bread, not in a hurry but with more love. I also decided to give a basic dough I use for my sweet sticky cinnamon buns an Asian twist, and this week I dreamt up this Pandan Red Bean Scrolls which I haven’t seen anywhere yet, not even in Asia. Just so you know, you first saw it on!

afternoon delight!
afternoon delight!
pandan red bean scrolls
pandan red bean scrolls

What I love most about these scrolls is that they taste like an open face red bean bun on soft and spongy pandan bread. That incredible aroma of a combination of pandan and red bean wafting from my kitchen oven coupled with just one bite..mmmnn I had an ‘Anton Ego’ moment ala Ratatouille, the animated film, and was transported to one of my fondest childhood memories of the old Katong bakery near the heritage landmark of ‘Tay Buan Guan’ (also called TBG) in Singapore.

TBG was one of those popular landmarks of the fifties and sixties along with the cinemas of the bygone era, like Odeon Katong, Palace and Roxy. Before ruthless urban redevelopment, TBG used to be situated behind some shophouses on the strip of East Coast Road which was linked to Joo Chiat Road. One of those shophouses was home to a wonderful retro confectionery shop, I believe it was Katong Bakery–which made all kinds of scrumptious old-style pastries and breads that were to-die-for! My favourite had been those thick sliced loaves of white fluffy bread, just perfectly textured, that were perfect for making kaya toasts.

pandan red bean scrolls
pandan red bean scrolls

One of the joys of baking is being able to stretch your imagination further to give your core recipes either a visual, technical or structural upgrade. Some of the best creations in baking are borne from our creativity combining our personal food history with the present flavours we love and encounter each day. It’s how I endeavour not to lose my baker’s dazzle in a world where it’s easier to stick with ‘tried and tested’ so as not to rock one’s boat. Go on. Rock your boat a little. Make these pandan red bean scrolls. I’ll even try it with kaya spread, and some desiccated coconut with gula melaka…ondeh ondeh scrolls the next time? I’ll let you know.

pandan dough
pandan dough

Ingredients for Pandan Dough (bread machine kneaded)
1 egg+water to fill 1/4 C
60g butter, melted
3/4 C milk
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
5-7 drops of pandan essence*

*drip into different spots of the bread machine for an even mix

red bean filling
red bean filling

100g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C brown sugar
200g sweetened red bean paste (ready made or homemade)
2 TB sesame seeds to scatter

Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten and 1/2 TB water added

Frosting for Pandan Scrolls: (optional)
3/4 C pure icing sugar
1 tsp pandan essence
1 TB milk (more if you prefer it ‘runnier’)

pandan dough with red bean
pandan dough with red bean

after rolling it up
after rolling it up

Begin by adding the ingredients for the dough according to the order listed above; the wet before the dry ingredients, ending with making a small well in the centre of the flour to add the yeast.

Select the dough cycle and start your machine. After the machine completes the dough stage, tip the dough onto a greased bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with cling wrap to allow for resting and rising, or you can leave it to rest in the refrigerator overnight if you wish to bake the next day.

When ready to work with the dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Shape it to a ‘rectangle’ about the size of 25 x 40 cm.

Spread the melted butter with a brush, followed by the brown sugar. Add the red bean paste randomly with a spoon and flatten as much as possible. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all around on the top of the red bean.

Roll up the dough (as tightly as you can) into a long log. Slice into 12 to 14 portions.

Place sliced portions onto a baking tray leaving some space between them for expansion. Once the tray is inserted into the oven, spray a little mist on the top of the buns to encourage humidity.

Let them rise further in the oven for about half an hour or more or until they have doubled in size.

Give the tops a light brush with the remaining egg wash.

Bake the pandan bun portions for 15 to 17 minutes (temperature of 170 D). Let them cool slightly on a wire rack but they don’t have to fully cool before frosting.

Directions for frosting:(optional)
Mix icing sugar with milk and pandan essence till you get a runny paste. Drizzle randomly on the surface of the buns and let it set.

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