Cream Pan is an another yummy Japanese sweet bread and this one has custard cream filling inside. Just like An Pan, with its sweet red bean paste filling, Cream Pan has been always loved by Japanese people, and it is a staple item for any bakeries or stores that sell bread. Freshly baked, still warm Cream Pan is so soft and sweet, we bet anyone would fall in love with it once they taste it.
Cream Pan was said to be first created by an owner of one of the oldest bread companies of Japan in the early 1900s. His idea of putting custard cream in the bread dough was from Choux Cream (cream puffs), which were still not as widely known to regular people in Japan as today. The signature look of Cream Pan has deep cuts around a half circle shape of bread, looking a bit like a glove. These cuts were not in the original Cream Pan, but were added later to help eliminate the hollow cavity that forms inside the bread in the process of baking. The cuts also work for ventilation to avoid the filled bread bursting while baking in the oven. You don’t have to make it into the same glove shape, but you still may want some cuts in the bread.
The most important component for Cream Pan is, of course, the custard cream. The custard cream for Cream Pan needs to be soft enough to be able to enjoy its smooth “mouth feel,” however, it also has to have some body to it so that it can bear the hot temperature in the oven and stay inside the bread without flowing out. If you have had Cream Pan from some bakery before with very soft cream filling, especially with whipped cream, the cream probably was injected after the bread was baked. If you’re going to use a custard recipe of your own, but it is not one intended for Cream Pan or something similar, be careful. It may be a perfectly good cream for something else, but it may not be suitable to be baked in the oven.
You can keep Cream Pan at room temperature on the day it’s made, but refrigerate before the next day since the custard cream is perishable. However, you probably don’t have to worry about it. They will be gone before you know it!
- 1 recipe of Basic Sweet Bread (prepare to step 4)
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 60g sugar
- 15g cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Make custard cream. Heat milk in a pan to just before boiling. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add yolks, sugar, and cornstarch, and whisk well. Slowly add hot milk into egg mixture whisking constantly. Then put the liquid back to the pan and let it boil for a minute while whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, continuing to whisk. Pour the custard into a flat container, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least for an hour.
- Make Japanese basic bread dough. Finish to Step 3, the first rise of the dough, and go into Step 4. After forming the dough into 8 balls and letting them rest for 15 minutes, roll out each ball into a 4"x6" oval shape. Place 1/8 of custard cream in the middle of the dough, fold in half along long edges, forming a half circle. Push around the edge well to seal. Then cut five 1" slits around the half circle. Repeat for remaining dough and cream.
- Place shaped dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 2" (or 5cm) space in between. Leave them to double in size, about 1 hour. Brush egg wash (mixture of egg with a pinch of salt) on the surface of the dough.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400F (205C) for about 10 minutes, until browned.