Inspired by: Soreike! Anpanman
Secret Ingredient: Azuki (red bean) paste
"I see! Anpan-man, is it?" - Uncle Jam
Anpan is a type of Japanese sweet roll. You can choose to buy the azuki (red bean) paste filling or make your own as below.
Making the Azuki Paste
You will need:
- 1 cup azuki beans
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Water (enough to cover the beans)
- Pour azuki beans into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover.
- Allow beans to soak overnight (at least six hours).
- Pour out the water and rinse the beans a few times.
- Pour clean water into the bowl to cover the beans (about 1 or 2 inches above).
- Bring to a boil at high heat.
- Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Drain beans and put back in pot with fresh water, again covering the beans.
- Bring to a second boil, then simmer on medium heat until softened (about 1 hour).
- Pick up a bean with a slotted spoon, and gently cool it off with cold water. Then, squeeze it between your fingers - does it easily crush? If so, the beans are done!
- Add the sugar gradually, while stirring.
- Drain most of the liquid, then turn the heat back to high and stir until consistency is more like a paste.
- Mix in salt, then turn off heat.
- Pour paste in a container, like a bread pan. Cover with plastic wrap or seal whole pan in a large Ziplock bag.
- Keep in fridge until ready to use. Can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 weeks, but requires sufficient time to thaw (at least 30 minutes).
Making the Anpan
You will need:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 cup azuki paste
- Black sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
- Egg wash or olive oil, for brushing (optional)
- Proof the yeast: add yeast to warm water and a little sugar. Wait until nice bubbles form.
- In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, milk, and beaten egg. Add to proofed yeast.
- In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, and salt. Combine with wet ingredients.
- Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes by electric mixer).
- Cover and and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
- Divide the dough into about 8 balls, then cover again and let rise briefly to regain good shape (about 15 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
- Roll azuki paste into a ball. Then, flatten a ball of dough, place the azuki paste in the center, and wrap the dough around it to seal.
- Flatten slightly, to doughnut height. Flip so the sealed side is on the bottom, then press your finger in the center (not all the way through!) to make a slight dent.
- Optional: sprinkle black sesame seeds in the center.
- Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).
- Remove from oven. Optional: brush olive oil or egg wash on top.