Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VeganMoFo 13: Ube (Purple Yam) Buns

I can't let VeganMoFo 2013 pass without a post devoted to one of my favorite ingredients:  ube!  It's also known as a purple yam and is common in many Filipino desserts.  Here are my previous ube recipe posts:

Ube Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Oatmeal Coconut Ube Cookies

Whenever I cook with purple yams, I have to resist the urge to eat it all immediately after steaming.  Similar to garnet yams, they have a subtle natural sweetness...I can eat them like pudding. :)  I wish I took a photo of the purple yams before I peeled, steamed, and mashed them. You can take a look at them here.  As you can see, they look like regular old yams on the outside. But once you cut into them...put on your sunglasses...it's a beautiful vibrant purple inside.  There's no food coloring used in these buns, just fresh purple yams.  You can sometimes find purple yams at Asian grocery stores. I get them at 101 Super Mart on Clement Street in San Francisco.  You can also get them frozen or in powdered form, but fresh is best!

These buns are modeled after a purple sweet potato bun recipe posted on the lovely Abusymom's Blog.  I came across it after doing a Google search for "purple yam buns" (thank you, Google!)  Even though I do have a kitchen scale at home, I was too lazy to weigh out all the ingredients (I know that's a no-no for many bakers).  Instead, I decided to use a standard vegan cinnamon roll recipe for the dough.  My buns aren't as pretty and delicious looking as hers (uh...that didn't come out right...), so I'm considering this a work in progress. She has a number of photos showing the steps for the recipe, so check out her blog. Her photos are absolutely gorgeous  :)

Makes 8 large buns

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons vegan butter (i.e., Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer
3 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for kneading
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  1. Heat the water, almond milk, sugar, vegan butter, and salt in a sauce pan over low-medium heat and stir until the butter is fully melted. Stir in the egg replacer and remove from heat. 
  2. Place the flour and yeast in a large bowl. 
  3. Once the liquid mixture has cooled, but is still warm (110°F - 115°F), add it to the flour mixture.  Mix together until a dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto well-floured work surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add flour while kneading if the dough is too sticky.
  5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.
  6. While the dough is rising, make the purple yam filling.
1 1/2 cups purple yams, steamed and mashed
3 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Scrub and peel the yams. Cut them into 1-inch long chunks.
  2. Place them in a vegetable steamer over boiling water.  Cover and steam for 20-25 minutes, or until the yams are soft when pierced with a fork.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and mash while they're still hot.  (You can use a blender or food processor for this, but I think a potato masher works just fine, if you have one)
  4. Stir in the maple syrup.  Set aside to cool.
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  1. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos of each step of the dough shaping process.  I followed the method on Abusymom's Blog, so please refer to her post for the photo instructions.  As I said before, her photos are gorgeous and you're much better off looking at them for inspiration!
  2. Moving right along...Place the shaped buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover with a dish cloth and let rise again in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.
  3. After the buns have doubled in size, brush them with almond milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on them.
  4. Bake the buns in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they're nicely browned.
  5. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool.

And taa-daa!  Here's what one of the buns looked like fresh out of the oven. The texture would have been much lighter had I used white flour, but I was happy with the whole wheat pastry flour results.  These were so good warm! They weren't terribly sweet, probably due to the fact that I used a cinnamon roll recipe and didn't use any icing.  You can add icing, but then it might be too sweet.  Up to you!

As always, I got a little heavy handed with the black sesame seeds.  These look like bagels!

I'm only now getting the hang of baking with yeast, so I was just happy that I didn't kill the yeast in the beginning. :)  I'd like to thank Abusymom for inspiring me to bake these and for allowing me to link back to her post.  I'll make these again and will keep you updated with my purple yam bun progress!