Cream Pan: A Delightful Journey into Japanese Custard-Filled Breads – Bokksu Market

Cream Pan: A Delightful Journey into Japanese Custard-Filled Breads

by Theo Ponthieux

Take a trip to any Japanese bakery, and you'll stumble upon a delicious treat known as kurimpan, a.k.a. cream pan. These delightful treats are made with a fluffy, soft bun filled with rich custard pudding (similar to a Boston cream donut, but not as sweet). They can be offered as simple, filled cream buns or in adorable shapes/characters (like turtles).

Let's explore the delicious world of Japanese custard bread, from how to make it to recipe tips and more.

Introduction to Cream Pan: The Sweetheart of Japanese Bakeries

Cream pan is one treat that people love regardless of age. It's made with fluffy buns, similar to milk bread. It's filled with a delicious egg yolk custard cream that helps add sweetness and a creamy consistency to the Japanese cream pan. The traditional version of this baked good features a specific shape - a half circle and grooves, almost like a glove. This shape is intentional, as it helps keep the sweet bread from having air pockets.

Bread has a long history in Japan, initially appearing in the 1500s when a Portuguese ship with missionaries appeared on the country's shore. As the missionaries traveled around Japan, they brought bread with them, which is how it was introduced to Japanese people. It became a staple in the 1800s, as it was considered an easy food to provide to soldiers. In the late 1800s/early 1900s, Japanese bakers began experimenting with bread and buns, creating options like cream pan. Since its invention, cream pan has remained popular as a sweet treat in Japan.

Daiichi Mini Pan Bread: Cream (7 pieces)

A popular konbini (convenience store) snack, this mini fluffy pan (bread in Japanese) is filled with a rich and creamy custard sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! Coming to you frozen, you’ll love the fresh experience once you heat up these mini bread rolls. This pack comes with seven pieces - perfect for sharing (or not)!

Common Allergens: Milk, Eggs, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

Storage: Store in the freezer at 0°F or lower until ready to use. Then, defrost in the fridge before using.

For more information about our Frozen products and how they ship, please click here to see our FAQ section.

Sale $3.50 Regular $6.99 50% OFF
7.16 oz

The Art of Making Custard Cream for Cream Pan

While custard cream is often considered a complicated filling to create, it's not as challenging as you might think. It requires simple ingredients, including egg yolks, sugar, cake flour, cornstarch, salt, milk, and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Once the ingredients are gathered, the yolks and sugar should be whisked until the mixture has a lighter color.

Then, the dry ingredients are added to the egg mixture. The eggs are tempered with a small amount of heated milk before they're fully combined and heated on the stovetop. Once the custard recipe is cooked, put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating. The final step with the custard cream is putting a few tablespoons inside the prepared cream pan dough before cooking the buns.

Cream pan

Crafting the Perfect Bread Dough for Cream Pan

To craft the perfect bread dough for Japanese custard buns, it's essential to use the right type of flour. You'll need a combination of bread and cake flour, each serving a different purpose in the recipe. Bread flour helps the buns keep their shape, while cake flour ensures they stay soft and fluffy the entire time. You'll also need yeast, lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, unsalted butter, and flour (for rolling out the dough). Ensure you use lukewarm milk. Otherwise, the yeast may not properly bloom, and the dough won't rise correctly. You'll know the yeast has been prepped correctly when it gets foamy after mixing it with the milk and sugar for a few minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

After mixing the flour in a separate bowl and adding it in slowly to the yeast mixture, the dough recipe will need to be kneaded for about 8-10 minutes. Then, the butter can be added in slowly. You'll know the dough is ready when it passes the windowpane test. Take a small amount of the dough and stretch it; if it gets thin and you can nearly see through it (without the dough breaking), it's good to go. The last step is letting the dough rise for about an hour.

Japanese Milk Bread: The Foundation of Cream Pan

The milk bread base is one characteristic that sets cream pan apart from other types of sweet buns. Milk bread differs from regular bread since it only uses milk as the liquid (no eggs or water). This ingredient helps create the deliciously fluffy, soft consistency that Japanese milk bread is known for. The cream pan uses milk bread dough as its base, offering a delectable consistency that perfectly compliments the rich custard filling.

Daiichi Mini Pan Bread: Chocolate (7 pieces)

You will absolutely adore this mini fluffy pan (bread in Japanese) with a sweet and smooth chocolate filling. Coming to you frozen, you’ll love the fresh experience once you heat up these mini bread rolls. Great with tea and coffee, these are the perfect morning or afternoon treat…knead we say more?

Common Allergens: Milk, Eggs, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

Storage: Store in the freezer at 0°F or lower until ready to use. Then, defrost in the fridge before using.

For more information about our Frozen products and how they ship, please click here to see our FAQ section.

Sale $3.50 Regular $6.99 50% OFF
6.66 oz

Mastering the Egg Mixture for Cream Pan's Filling

The trickiest part of making the perfect custard cream each time is correctly creating the egg mixture. Mixing the hot milk and eggs incorrectly can cause the eggs to cook too early, leaving behind a chunky, unappealing mixture. This is why tempering the eggs with a small amount of hot milk is essential before fully combining the two elements. To properly temper the eggs, pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Once the eggs and milk are combined, you can add the egg mixture to the rest of the hot milk without worrying about the eggs cooking too quickly. Ensure you cook the custard on the stove until thick, whisking the entire time.

Anpan red bean sweet bun

Chilled Custard Cream: The Secret to Cream Pan's Filling

It's important to create the custard cream filling correctly, as it's one of the main components of a cream pan. Here are a few tips to ensure your custard always comes out delicious.

  1. Do not heat the milk on high heat.

    Warming the milk at a too high temperature can cause the milk to curdle. Instead, heat the milk slowly over medium-low heat until it comes to a simmer. Once it simmers, ensure you take the pot off the stove while you're tempering the eggs.

  2. Strain the egg mixture before cooking the custard. 

    One way to ensure your custard cream has the correct texture is to strain the tempered egg mixture before pouring it into the milk on the stove. This step helps remove any egg bits that may have been accidentally cooked while the eggs were tempering.

  3. Cook the custard over a low heat.

    This is one component of the recipe that needs to be cooked low and slow. Heating the custard over too high of heat means you'll end up with a chunky custard, as the eggs will cook too fast. This can also cause the milk to curdle, leaving a separated custard cream behind. For the best results, always keep the custard on a low heat on the stove.

  4. Use vanilla bean paste for the best flavor.

    While you can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, the paste is best for custard cream as it won't evaporate when making the filling. Since vanilla extract is mainly alcohol, it evaporates easily when added to recipes over heat.

  5. Let the custard come to room temperature after cooking it. 

    Allowing the custard filling to come to room temperature before putting it in the fridge is best, as it helps prevent the growth of bad bacteria. Though, it should not sit out for longer than two hours.

  6. Chill the custard for about 30-45 minutes.

    Letting the custard chill in the fridge allows it to set. As custard cools, it typically gets thicker. Ensure you chill it for at least 30 minutes before adding it to the center of the cream pan.

Using Egg Yolk for a Richer Cream Pan Experience

Custard cream isn't the same without the egg yolks. While some custard recipes call for whole eggs, using only egg yolks for the filling of custard bread provides a richer flavor and color. Additionally, using entire eggs provides a more sturdy consistency (like flan) and a lighter taste. Creating the custard cream with only egg yolks adds a deliciously eggy taste to the recipe. The yolks also help create the smooth consistency that custard cream is known for.

Panda sweet cream pan

The Importance of Egg Wash in Cream Pan Preparation

Adding an egg wash to the top of the cream pan is another essential step in preparation. Egg washes on baked goods help create a more appealing appearance, allowing the Japanese custard bread to get a delicious golden-brown color on the exterior. It also creates a shine on the Japanese custard buns, helping them look more uniform.

To create an egg wash, simply beat an entire egg with one tablespoon of water. Once the cream pan is fully assembled and ready to go, use a pastry brush to brush egg wash on top of each sweet bun. Then, bake in the oven. As the custard buns bake, they'll turn golden-brown wherever the egg wash is applied. It's unnecessary to add egg wash to the bottom of the buns, only apply it to the top.

Creative Variations of Cream Pan

One of the most exciting things about cream pan is that you can change the flavors, shapes, and toppings so they match your preferences. For example, you can create a strawberry or chocolate custard cream instead of a vanilla custard cream filling. You can also change the flavor of the milk bread and turn it into chocolate or fruit-flavored dough.

Another fun way to change up the traditional cream pan recipe is to turn the sweet buns into fun shapes. For example, you can shape the buns into circles instead of half circles. Then, use frosting or dried fruit/nuts to create designs like faces once they are baked and cooled. You can even turn the Japanese custard bun into shapes like an apple with a pretzel stick as the stem. Or, add craquelin, a sweet topping that cracks as it bakes, for a unique appearance.

sakura sweet bun from japan

Conclusion: Cream Pan, a Staple in Japanese Comfort Food

Cream pan is one comfort food that will never disappear from Japanese cuisine. With its deliciously rich custard filling and soft, pillowy bun exterior, it's easy to see why this sweet treat has remained popular throughout the years. As time goes by, expect new, fun variations on this sweet bread, from various flavors to shapes, sizes, and more.

Satisfy your cream pan cravings with these delicious Daiichi Mini Pan Bread: Cream (7 pieces), which are mini Japanese custard buns filled with smooth custard. Each frozen pack comes with seven pieces to enjoy. These yummy individual custard buns also come in other flavors, like Daiichi Mini Pan Bread: Chocolate (7 pieces). Get other tasty treats from Bokksu Market, including more types of sweet bread like melon pan, mochi, Japanese Kit Kats, and more. Don't forget to offset the sweet with savory snacks and ready-to-eat meals!

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Cream Pan: A Delightful Journey into Japanese Custard-Filled Breads


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