Pineapple Bun (Bo Lo Bao 菠蘿包)

Pineapple Buns

For years I had no idea why this bun was named “Pineapple Bun” 菠蘿包 as it contains no pineapple.  Instead, the name comes from its appearance where the sugary/buttery crust resembles a pineapple.  The traditional crust of the bun is made of lard, but this recipe (original recipe from Christine Ho) substitutes lard with butter for a slightly healthier version.  Everyone knows what is a Bo Lo Bao in Hong Kong.  It is very popular, and commonly found in bakeries, just like muffins and bagels in the States.  We eat it for breakfast (plain), lunch (with meat filling) or dessert (with custard or shredded coconut filling).  The plain one is still one of my favorite bakery items! If you ever get a chance to visit Hong Kong, pineapple buns are a must try item so make sure you grab one at the bakery.

Ingredients for Bread:

350 gm
70 gm
4 gm
56 gm
10 gm
6 gm
120 gm
125 ml
30 gm
Bread flour (高筋粉)
Caster sugar (幼砂糖)
Salt (鹽)
Whisked egg  (全蛋汁)
Milk powder  (奶粉)
Instant dry yeast  (即發乾酵母)
Tangzhong  (湯種) (recipe here)
Milk  (牛奶)
Unsalted Butter, softened  (無鹽牛油)

Ingredients for Topping:

188 gm
83 gm
60 gm
11 gm

1½ Tbsp
1½ tsp
¼ tsp
Cake flour  (低筋粉)
Caster sugar    (幼砂糖)
Butter, softened    (無鹽牛油)
Milk powder    (奶粉)
Egg yolk  (蛋黃)
Evaporated milk    (淡奶)
Condensed milk    (煉奶)
Edible ammonia powder  (食用臭粉) – Optional (see notes)


To make topping:

  1. Cream softened butter with an electric mixer over medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat until fluffy.
  2. Add milk powder, egg yolk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, baking powder, combine well.  Sift in flour and ammonia powder (optional) and incorporate well. The mixture is quite moist and sticky. Use a piece of cling wrap to roll into several small logs. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes. When it becomes harder, it’s ready to use and shape it.

*  Keep the extra egg yolk and egg white for egg wash.

To make buns:

  1. Place all ingredients inside the pan in the breadmaker, the wet ingredients first, then followed by the dry ingredients: tangzhong (recipe here), milk, whisked egg, sugar, salt, milk powder and flour.  Fill the yeast dispenser with dry yeast (usually it is on the top of the breadmaker).
  2. Select the “dough” mode (refer to the manual of your breadmaker to select the dough program).  When all ingredients are combined, add butter.  The kneading process in the breadmaker is usually about 30 minutes, and the proofing time is about an hour (depending on the machine).
  3. When the first round of proofing is finished, transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and deflate the dough (Picture 1).
  4. Divide into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball (Picture 2).  Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let them complete the 2nd round of proofing until nearly doubled (if weather is too cold, you can proof at 90◦F in an oven with a pot of boiling water for 30 to 50 minutes.  The water will keep the humidity at certain level).
  5. When the dough portions are doubled in size, preheat oven to 410°F.  Remove topping paste from fridge, cut into 12 equal portions and roll in balls.  Roll each portion into a flat disc (Picture 3).
  6. Place the topping paste on top of dough.  Repeat this step with the remainder (Picture 4).
  7. Brush the top with whisked egg yolk and bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes (Pictures 5 and 6).  Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes.

Pineapple buns


  • If you don’t have condensed milk, increase the total sugar amount to 140g.
  • Ammonia powder can be substituted with 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.
  • Ammonia powder is quite hard to work with and not easy to find.  If use too little, you’d be disappointed with the patterns appear on the topping (no crackling patterns).  If use too much, your buns will smell weird.  So, this ingredient can be omitted.  Instead, you can use a sharp knife to make criss crosses, like a checkboard across the top of the topping.
  • If you do not have a breadmaker, you can knead the dough with your hands.  Make a well in the center of the flour, whisk and combine all wet ingredients, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. When all ingredients are combined, knead in the softened butter.  The dough is quite sticky and messy at this stage.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. Shape dough into a ball.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Bo Lo Bao

Orange Chiffon Cake

Orange Chiffon Cake

So happy had another successful attempt at making chiffon cakes.  After baking black sesame and marble cakes, I wanted to try an orange flavor.  The recipe was based on Christine Ho’s Black Sesame Chiffon Cake recipe.  I substituted/added a few ingredients and opted for fresh squeezed orange juice.   A tip — It is better to taste the oranges first as sweet oranges will make the cake taste better!  I had tried using OJ (100% pure) out of a carton but the orange flavor tasted artificial.


8” Pan 10” Pan
1 tsp
1/8 tsp
1 tsp
1 tsp
1 Tbsp
Egg whites
Caster sugar
Cream of tartar
Egg yolks
Caster Sugar
Cake flour
Baking powder
Vanilla extract
Olive oil
Fresh orange juice
Orange zest
1 tsp
1/8 tsp
1 tsp
1 tsp
1 – 1.5 Tbsp

Directions (for an 8” tube pan):

  1. Preheat oven to 340 °F.
  2. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
  3. Mix egg yolks and 30 g sugar until well combined.
  4. Squeeze fresh orange juice from oranges (about 2 oranges) (picture 1).
  5. Add orange juice, olive oil, vanilla extract, orange zest, salt into the egg yolk mixture and mix well (pictures 2 and 3).
  6. Sift in 80 g flour and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture, mix well to make sure there are no lumps (picture 4).
  7. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  It is best to begin at a slow speed and gradually move up to high when beating.  Add cream of tartar to stablize the egg whites.   After mixing well, add 105 g of sugar in three batches, about one-third at a time, and beat well between additions.  Continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.  Don’t over beat it, overbeaten whites look lumpy and watery.
  8. Gently fold-in half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and repeat the same with the remaining egg whites (picture 5).
  9. Pour mixture into an 8″ tube pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes.  After baking the first 15 minutes, if you find the cake surface gets browning, reduce heat to 320 °F.  The cake will rise to the top after baking (picture 6).
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan immediately.  Let cake cool completely.

Orange Chiffon Cake

Chiffon Cake

  • Remove the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the pan, angling the knife towards the pan to try to get the full crust on the cake.

Orange Chiffon Cake

Baked Empanadas



I adapted this recipe from my friend, Angela, who makes the best empanadas.  These delicious hand pies can be made with so many different types of fillings.  There are classic savory fillings and sweet dessert fillings.  You can swap the pork for chicken or beef, or simply use the ingredients you have available in your refrigerator.


1 Tbsp
1 tsp
1 tsp
1 tsp
1 Tbsp
¼ tsp
¼ tsp
1-2 tsps
Ground pork
Light soy sauce
Oyster sauce
Brown sugar
Corn starch
Red potatoes (diced)
White onion (diced)
Minced garlic
Carrot stick (minced or shredded)
Medium size tomatoes (diced)
Green peas
Dried oregano (crushed)
Fish sauce
8 oz
All-purpose flour
Cream cheese (softened)
Unsalted butter (softened) (a little less than 2 sticks)
Egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash only)

Directions – for filling:

  1. Prepare all ingredients — dice potatoes, carrots, onion and tomatoes.  (picture 1)  Marinate ground pork with light soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar and corn starch, set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsps of oil in a large skillet over high heat, add 2 gloves of garlic and cook until aromatic.  Now add diced potatoes, pan fry until slightly brown.  Add water and cover to simmer until water evaporated.  Set aside.  (picture 2)
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic, cook until tender (picture 3).  Add ground pork and stir well.  Breaking up the meat with a turner or wooden spoon, cook meat until brown.  (picture 4)
  4. Add carrot and tomatoes and keep stirring.  Cook for about 5 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water if necessary) (picture 5).  Return potatoes to the pan and add green peas, stir until all ingredients are combined (picture 6).  Add oregano, ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of fish sauce (add more if necessary).
  5. Allow the mixture to cool thoroughly before filling in the dough.

Fillings for empanadas

Directions – for Dough:

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smoothly blended (picture 1).
  2. Beat in the flour until just combined (picture 2).
  3. Shape dough into 2 smooth balls, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight (picture 3).

Dough for Empanadas

Assemble the Empanadas:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove dough from refrigerator and work on a lightly floured work surface.
  3. Roll chilled dough thin, cut with a 3 or 4 inch round cookie cutter.  (picture 1)
  4. Place a proportional amount of filling in the center of the dough circle (about 1 tablespoon full).  (picture 2)
  5. Fold 1 side over so that the edges meet, press to seal.  To braid the edges of empanadas, start at one corner of the empanada with your thumb and index finger, fold the seal edge down over itself (press down and seal), and repeat this step until you reach the other end.  (picture 3)
  6. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush tops with egg wash.  (picture 4)

How to wrap empanadas

  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.