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Japanese Cream Pan or Cream-filled Roll Recipe

Cream pan (pah-nn) are baked sweetbread rolls that are filled with a luscious pastry cream. An pan (ah-nn pah-nn) are the same fluffy, soft rolls but filled with anko or sweetened red bean paste. I love both, but of the two, prefer cream pan. It makes a great continental-type breakfast with a cup of coffee or an anytime snack.

You can buy cream pan, individually wrapped in plastic or from the bakery counter. But all too often, by the time I find them, they are squashed. The sweetbread dough is very light and easily smashed. Making your own takes some time and labor, but your lucky family and friends will love you for sharing your efforts.

The dough is a sweetened egg bread dough with yeast, so it takes patience to knead and wait for the proofing (rising) of the dough. Use your bread machine set on dough to make it easier or use your stand mixer with a dough paddle, if you donít want to exercise your arm muscles.

The pastry cream filling is a true cooked custard-like cream. Iíve seen recipes that attempt to short-cut this step by using a boxed instant pudding mix, but you will find that this homemade pastry cream is so much richer tasting. It is pretty easy to make with ingredients you have on-hand, and you will love it so much, you will find a lot of ways to use it. I use it for my honey-roasted macadamia nut cream pie, strawberry trifle, banana tarts, Boston Cream Pie, eclairs and so on.

Cream Pan

For bread dough:

1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
1 ľ cup warm milk (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or the pan of a bread machine, blend warm milk, sugar and yeast and let this proof for five minutes or until foamy. Add in flour, shortening, eggs and sugar and mix with a dough hook on medium setting (or set the bread machine to dough setting.) Mix until smooth and elastic. Pour out onto a floured surface and knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour, if necessary. Roll out to one inch thickness. Cut with a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Place on greased baking sheets; cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 25 minutes. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before filling.

To fill: Insert a chopstick into the side of a baked pan and wiggle it sideways to make a slight pocket. Pour pastry cream into a large zip-top plastic bag. Snip off one of the corners. Insert this end into the pocket of the pan and gently squeeze in some pastry cream, being careful not to overfill. You can use a squeeze bottle if you prefer.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
Ĺ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
ľ tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, blend together the egg yolks, ľ cup sugar, salt and cornstarch until creamy and lump-free.

Over medium heat, pour the milk and ľ cup sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat. Slowly temper the egg mixture by drizzling in about one cup of the hot milk mixture, one tablespoon at a time. This step is necessary to bring up the temperature of the eggs so when you add them to the hot milk, the egg mixture will not curdle or cook before blending in. Now, add the hot egg mixture to the remaining milk mixture and whisk. Bring this mixture back to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously. Allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes. It will thicken.

Remove from heat. Add butter and stir well. Add vanilla extract and stir again. Allow this to cool. Pour into a heat-proof bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate before using.

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