Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
My family agrees that this is one of the best pastries I've ever made...
Red bean paste bbang is a traditional Korean pastry consisting of sweet bread filled with red bean paste. The bread is wonderfully sweet and satisfying, perfectly matching the red bean paste interior. Furthermore, the pastries are very pretty. They look like eight-pointed golden stars with red bean paste bursting out along the sides and sesame seeds scattered on top.
I love to experiment with red bean paste. It is sweet, almost fruity, but not overly so—similar to chocolate but less intense. It can be used in all sorts of desserts, and it pairs well with all sorts of flavors. I have found that it goes very well with pumpkin in pots de creme, so it made me think that maybe cherry would mix well with it, too.
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The result, I think, more than justified itself. The sweet fruitiness of the cherry wonderfully complemented the red bean paste. Although this pastry is somewhat challenging to make (it is a bit labor-intensive, requiring a very long period of kneading and a long process of filling the individual pastries), the results are thoroughly worth it. They make great little snacks to eat for breakfast, dessert, or whenever the urge strikes you!
This recipe makes 16 bbangs, which only uses around 1/2 of the suggested filling. You can either make more at a later date and put the rest of the filling in it, use the filling for something else, or double the dough.
I modified this recipe from Sweet Red Bean Paste Ppang from Aeri's Kitchen.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Melted butter or egg yolk, for brushing
- 1 package (1.1lb) red bean paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can canned cherries
- Put the flour into a large bowl. Make three holes in it, and then place an equal amount of the sugar, salt, and yeast in each one, before covering with flour.
- Pour the milk and water, heated to a lukewarm temperature, in with the dry ingredients, then mix.
- Pour 1/4 cup of melted butter, and mix again.
- Knead the dough until it has a smooth and elastic texture (about 20 to 30 minutes), kneading strongly and vigorously.
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap and put into a warm place, such as an oven with the light on or somewhere where the sun is shining, and let the dough rise for 40 minutes.
- Make the red bean paste filling by combining the red bean paste and the cherry juice from the container of cherries in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a spoon (it is very glutinous on your hands so I would use a spoon), until it is thoroughly mixed.
- Punch the dough down on the counter, and then divide into 16 balls.
- Shape each ball into a wide flat circle, then place at the center a spoonful of the cherry-red bean paste mixture, alongside two solid cherries. Make sure to not overfill it, or it will not be able to close. Bring the sides up and form it into a sealed ball, pinching it closed. Then proceed to cut 8 small incisions around the edge. Repeat until all of the circles have been formed into balls filled with red bean paste.
- Brush the top with egg yolk, or wait until they come after the oven and brush with butter. Black sesame seeds are a nice decorative texture as well, if you have them. Put into an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
- You can either eat them hot (delicious!) or over the next few days.