Steamed Custard Buns (Ni Huang Bao)


by Heather Harris Brady

These are a popular part of dim sum, so I wanted to post them in celebration of Chinese New Year. They are easy to make if you have a bamboo steamer and they are most delicious warm right out of the pan. However, you can warm them for a few seconds in the microwave if you’re making them ahead of time. Typically I avoid using any prepackaged mixes, however, I made an exception in this case because this is my first time working on this recipe.

Steamed Custard Buns, Makes about 18


  • 1/2 c. Dr. Oetker’s Creme Brulee Mix
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, broken into a bowl and stirred together


  • 3 T. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. warm water
  • 1 pkg. quick-rise active dry yeast
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole milk, warm
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. baking powder mixed with 1 T. water

Make the filling at least 30 minutes ahead so it can cool and set up firmly.

Warm the milk with the butter over medium heat.


Combine the creme brulee mix, powdered sugar, and cornstarch. When the butter is melted whisk it into the milk.


Continue to whisk. The filling will thicken up – a  lot!


Whisk half the mixture into the egg yolks and then return it to the pan. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly.


Put the custard in a dish and cool it thoroughly in the fridge while you make the dough for buns.

Combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Stir.


Put the flour in a bowl, add the vegetable oil and pour the bubbling yeast mixture over the top.


Stir well and set aside.


When the dough has doubled in bulk, knead it smooth (about five minutes) and turn it out onto a worksurface


Break off pieces of dough, flatten them and add a tablespoon of filling.


How big you make them is up to you. I tried to keep my finished filled buns about the size of a ping pong ball.


Put them in cupcake papers to rise until nearly doubled.


Get your bamboo steamer going at full steam and set the buns in.


Check them in about 15 minutes. When they are done they will be firm, with a pretty sheen.



This is how they look warm, right out of the pan.


Once they’ve cooled the filling will set back up.


Happy Chinese New Year! In my next post I’ll unveil my first project as a new member of the Daring Bakers!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: