Easy-peasy coconut buns

Andrew and I have often talked about how amazing the bakeries in Chinatown are. They have hands down the best pastries, at wonderfully affordable prices. They’re magical places.

And one of my favourite things to get? Coconut buns.

But sometimes you also just want to know how to make something at home, right?

Enter these bad boys. Inspired by the coconut buns I love, I can’t guarantee they’re going to be cheaper to make than it would be to buy. It’s also important to note that these aren’t exactly the same as you might expect from a Chinese coconut bun. They’re very much an approximation, and something I’ve been trying to make as an alternative dessert option so that I don’t feel like I’ve eaten a whole meal in one small pastry.

To make these,  I adapted the dough recipe from Skinny Taste’s bagel recipe (which I’m pretty obsessed with), which makes the bun a bit lighter alternative to your standard sweet bun. Plus, using limited larder ingredients means these can be made at the drop of a hat, without having to venture out into the February cold. I’m delighted by them.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: (Makes 4 buns)

Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Filling:
3 tablespoons margarine (I used Earth balance)
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Quarter cup of dried coconut

Topping:
1 egg, beaten for glaze
Extra coconut for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add yogurt and stir to combine. You’re looking for a doughy consistency that isn’t too wet – you want the dough to combine but not stick to your hands. Add more flour if your mixture is too wet.
  3. Using a blender, combine your margarine, sugar, flour, and coconut until you have a paste-like consistency.
  4. Dust a dry surface with a little flour. Separate your dough into four even balls. You’re then going to roll each ball out until it is a rectangle shape. Spoon your coconut paste into the centre of the rectangle and then fold the corners in until the paste is covered. You can then reshape by hand into a dough shape.
  5. Place the prepared buns on a lined and greased baking tray.
  6. Whisk one egg in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, give the buns a light coating of egg, and then sprinkle coconut on top of your buns.
  7. Cook in the oven for 30 mins, or until risen and lightly browned.

And that’s it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. In less than an hour you too could be enjoying one of these, fresh out of the oven.

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Adventures in yoghurt making (Part 1)

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I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with the idea of homemade yoghurt. I think it probably started with our trip to Greece, when each morning part of breakfast was the creamiest, most delicious yoghurt I’d ever tasted, topped with fruit and maybe just a swirl of honey.

I was sold – it tasted nothing like the yoghurt we get in stores here in Canada, and I started trying to figure out where I could get this amazing product here in Toronto. If I scoured Greektown, would I find it? However, after a few unfruitful searches, I gave up and decided that it was just one of those “taste of vacation” experience that I wouldn’t be able to relive.

Until – I took a trip with my mum up to the Bruce Peninsula where our B&B hostess – a woman, coincidentally, of Greek descent – served us a similarly amazing yoghurt each morning. It was heavenly. I finally worked up the courage ask our host Kathy where she got her amazing yoghurt.

(By the way, if you’re ever planning a trip to Northern Ontario, I can highly recommend the Purple Frog B&B. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten and the most amazing hosts).

She looked at me a little funny and then told me: “I make it. The way my mother taught me.”

In this moment, my mind was a little bit blown. Homemade yoghurt. Of course, I vaguely knew this was a thing people did in the past, but now? How? What would I need? Would it  be difficult?

I decided to do some research and experimentation.

Continue reading “Adventures in yoghurt making (Part 1)”