It is the 20th anniversary of Pokémon. That sure makes me feel a little old. I was very deeply invested in Pokémon when the series first made its way here to the United States. I would wake up early every morning before school to watch an episode of the anime. At school, a friend and I ran a small monthly newsletter about the series. We would write little articles about the recent episodes and gave strategies for both the gameboy games and the card game. During Burger King’s run of toys and the gold plated cards I had my mom take me there weekly to make sure I got as many of the toys as possible. I also got all of those gold plated cards because I had to collect all the merchandise I could. For one Halloween I had a family friend sew up an Ash Ketchum costume for me. Pokémon was my whole world for a while and it still holds a little place in my heart. When my husband and I got married all the name place cards were vector art Pokémon and each table was a specific element. At that point in my life I wasn’t really playing the games any more but I still remember how much of my youth the series defined who I was. I haven’t played a Pokémon game in several years but I still love watching people get excited about the upcoming games. And of course, I’ll still collect the occasional cute eevee item if I see it.
When I realized it was the 20th anniversary this year I knew it was time to whip up a new Pokémon recipe. Several friends have requested that I take a look into poffins and what better time than now. When I sat down and began pondering the route to take with these, the first decision I had to make was if they would be for humans or pets. After much internal debating I moved forward with a human version of poffins, but I may come back with a pet friendly option in the future. Next step was to figure out what a poffin would be. A bit of sketching and planning lead me to an Asian style cream bun. The dough ends up being light and fluffy with a delicious custard filling. The dough can be easily dyed so you can make a variety of poffin colors. I decided to add some jam into the fillings to make different style of poffins to match the colors. In my set I went the sweet (cherry & custard), dry (blackberry & custard), bitter (matcha & custard) and a plain (custard) versions. These hold really well for about a week in the refrigerator. When you want to eat one I’d recommend throwing it in the microwave for thirty seconds. One word of warning when making these: do not overfill the poffin. If you fill them too much it will cause the poffin to burst open. Enough talking, let’s get baking!
Results: 16-20 poffins
1 ¾ cup milk
4 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ tsp salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup milk, lukewarm
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons yeast
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
sesame seeds (or sprinkles)
For the custard, place a saucepan with the milk, butter and sugar over medium high heat. Heat until it the butter has melted.
In a small bowl combine the egg yolks, flour, cornstarch and salt. When the milk mixture has heated up slowly pour it in the yolk mixture while stirring constantly. You want to do this slowly so the eggs do not scramble in the process. Add about half of the milk into the bowl.
Strain the heated egg mixture back into the saucepan. This will help avoid any clumps getting into the custard. As you add this mixture the custard will begin to thicken. Pour in a bowl and allow to cool.
If you are making a matcha variety of poffins, take a portion of the custard and mix with matcha. I would recommend adding a bit and tasting it. Add matcha until you are happy with the flavor. Once both custards have cooled, place in the refrigerator.
While the custard is cooling it is time to make the dough. In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the milk, butter, sugar and yeast.
Let it rest for 15 minutes or until the yeast becomes active. Add the egg and salt and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the flour in cup portions.
Keep adding the flour until the dough comes together. If your dough is too sticky, add very small portions of flour until it isn’t.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Let it rest for at least an hour or until it doubles in size.
Preheat your oven to 350℉. Portion the dough into separate pieces to prepare it for dying. I split my dough into four even portions. For the portions I dyed I added about 10-15 drops of food coloring to the dough. Work the dough until the dye has spread throughout the entire piece.
Here are the portions all dyed up. If you want your poffins to have a stronger color just add more food coloring.
Now to assemble the poffin. Take the dough and split them into 50 gram portions. Flatten the dough out with your hands. Make sure not to thin them out too much, doing so runs the risk of the poffin bursting when it cooks. Carefully place the filling in the center of the dough (no more than a tablespoon).
Pinch the poffin close.
After all sides are closed carefully roll the poffin to make it smooth.
Above shows a poffin with the custard and jam filling. Again, do not overfill these!
Place the assembled poffins on a baking tray with oiled parchment paper. In a bowl mix the egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Brush each of the poffins with the egg wash. Add the sesame seeds (or sprinkles) on top of the poffins.
Bake the poffins for 12-15 minutes or until they just begin to brown. Allow them to cool slightly before taking a bite into one. The inside will be very hot.