Makes 8–10


Butter for spreading once the bread has been made

Condensed milk for dipping

For the bread dough

400g strong bread flour

70g caster sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon organic bread/dough improver (optional, but you can find this easily online)

7g or 1 sachet of fast action dried yeast

25g margarine

200ml warm water (about 30–35°C)

For the crumble topping

200g butter

200g caster sugar

1 egg, plus extra beaten egg for the egg wash

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 small dab of yellow food colouring

200g plain flour

200g self-raising flour


1. Put the dry bread dough ingredients into an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the margarine, and start to mix at a low speed.

2. Gradually pour in the warm water, until all the flour has come off the edge of the mixer. Turn the speed up to high and knead for 3–4 minutes, until the dough becomes a little ‘stringy’ in texture – tacky and slightly moist.

3. Remove from the mixer and knead by hand for a minute or so, then roll into one large ball and place back in the mixing bowl. Rub 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil all over the dough, then cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel.

4. Place in a warm, humid environment and allow to rise for 1–1½ hours (see tip below).

5. Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by punching into it a few times and shaping into a rough ball once more, then allow to prove for a further 30 minutes, in the same, humid and warm environment.

6. Now make the crumble topping. Whisk the butter and sugar together to form a uniform sugary paste. Add the eggs and whisk them in well, either by hand or on a medium speed in a dough mixer with the k-hook attachment. Once the eggs have been well combined with the butter and sugar, add the vanilla extract and the yellow food colouring if using, then sift both the flours into the bowl and slowly combine all the ingredients either with your hands, or if using the dough mixer, on speed 1.

7. Once well mixed, the crumble topping should resemble a cookie dough. Remove from the mixing bowl and roll out on a floured surface to about 3–4mm (? inch) thick. Use an 8–9cm (3¼ inch) round cookie cutter to cut the crumble topping into circles the correct size to cover the buns. Use the back of a butter knife to gently make a criss-cross pattern on each crumble topping surface, but make sure not to cut into it completely.

A little yellow food colouring will help to enhance the changes in colour across the crumble topping, giving you that classic Hong Kong bakery ‘pineapple’ effect, should you wish to use it.

8. By the time you’ve finished your topping, the dough should have doubled in size once more. Shape it into 8–10 buns, as follows: roll the ball of dough into a large cylinder, then cut into pieces roughly 6–7cm (2½ inches) wide. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Once all the bun shapes have been made, cover once more with the damp tea towel and place in the same humid, warm place for a final 15–20 minutes to prove one last time.

9. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the top of each bun with beaten egg, then carefully place a circle of crumble over each of the buns. Add another coat of eggwash over the crumble filling and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the top of the crumble is golden brown and crispy. The buns should rise by at least 50% more while baking.

10. Serve warm with butter for spreading and use condensed milk for dipping or spread/sauce of your choice.

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