If you're a fan of the popular boba drink, you'll love these milk tea cream buns. Tea-infused buns are sandwiched with milk tea whipped cream and a sweet red bean paste for one delicious treat.
Milk Tea Cream Buns
Milk tea whipped cream filling
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream (375 ml)
- 3 tablespoons loose leaf black tea leaves
- ½ cup powdered sugar (65 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk tea buns
- 1 cup milk (250 ml)
- 2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (6 grams)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups bread flour (420 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup butter, softened at room temperature (75 grams)
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream (egg wash)
Red bean filling
- 1 cup dry adzuki beans (200 grams)
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup butter (57 grams)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (150 grams)
- Prepare milk tea cream filling. Combine heavy cream with tea leaves in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to low and continue to steep tea for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour. Strain cream, discarding tea. Chill in the fridge.
- Make bread dough. Combine milk with tea leaves in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and steep tea for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain milk, discarding tea leaves. Measure ¾ cup of the infused milk, reserving any extra for another use. If you do not have ¾ cup, add enough plain milk to yield ¾ cup. Let milk cool slightly if it's above 100 degrees F.
- Combine tea infused milk with active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, stirring gently to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is activated and foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, ¼ cup sugar, salt, egg, softened butter, and yeast mixture. Knead dough until smooth, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Line two baking sheet trays with parchment paper. Punch down dough and divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet, 6 buns per sheet. Make sure to evenly space the dough to give them enough room to expand. Cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel and let proof in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare red bean filling. Rinse dry adzuki beans with water and drain. Add beans and water in the instant pot and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Let sit for 25 minutes and release pressure if needed. Drain beans, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Puree beans in a food processor with ¼ cup cooking liquid until smooth.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add red bean puree, stirring until incorporated with the butter. Reduce heat to low and add half of the brown sugar, stirring until sugar has melted. Add remaining sugar and continue to heat until sugar is fully absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush buns with egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the trays halfway. Remove from the oven and transfer buns to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While buns are cooling, make milk tea whipped cream. Add tea infused heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, whip by hand. Transfer cream filling to a piping bag with an open star piping tip (tip is optional).
- Cut buns in half and set aside the top bun. Spread 2 tablespoons red bean paste on the bottom bun and pipe whipped cream on top. Top with remaining bun and serve immediately.
Watch how to make this:
I love boba. Ever since I discovered boba drinks, I've never turned back. It's been decades since my very first one and I still have at least one a week. Any time I see a pastry or ice cream flavored with milk tea, I have to try it. Yes, the love runs deep.
However, I'm often disappointed by the desserts that are flavored with boba. And so, I decided to put myself to the challenge and create my own. These milk tea cream buns are my idea of a great boba-inspired treat that's not overly sweet. The tea-infused buns are incredibly soft with just a hint of tea flavor. Fill those buns with an addicting milk tea whipped cream filling and red bean paste and you have the perfect sweet bread. It's very delicious if I do say so myself.
- Loose black tea leaves: Use high-quality loose black tea leaves for the best results. Loose leaves have a more intense, stronger flavor than tea bags and tend to be fresher, which will result in a better dessert. Assam, English Breakfast, Ceylon, and Yunnan tea are all great options.
- Bread flour: Use bread flour for this recipe which has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. The higher protein content creates more gluten during kneading which results in a lighter and chewier texture in the final bread.
- Active dry yeast: Although I used active dry yeast which requires activating the yeast before adding it to the dough, you can also use instant yeast.
- Milk: Adding dairy and egg to the dough yields a softer texture and richer flavor.
- Dry adzuki beans: A type of small, reddish-brown legume with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. When cooked, they have a smooth creamy texture.
- Brown sugar: Unlike granulated sugar, brown sugar has a small amount of molasses which gives it a caramel flavor and color. Used for the red bean filling, the brown sugar deepens the color of the paste and adds toffee-like notes.
- Heavy cream: Also known as heavy whipping cream, this type of dairy is often whipped to create whipped cream, a light, and airy topping.
How to Make Milk Tea Cream Buns
Step 1: Make Infused Cream
Milk tea cream buns are a delightful treat that will surely satisfy your sweet cravings. To begin, prepare the milk tea-infused cream filling. Heat heavy cream over medium heat with loose-leaf black tea leaves in a saucepot. When it comes to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and let it steep for five minutes. It's important not to boil the cream or it will thicken and turn into butter.
After an hour, strain the cream, discard the tea leaves, and chill it in the fridge for a luscious flavor.
You can also steep the cream the day before.
Step 2: Prepare The Dough
Next, let's make the bread dough. Heat milk with black tea leaves, steep, and strain it. I like to infuse the milk and the cream at the same time since the process is the same.
Measure ¾ cup of the infused milk, and if needed, add enough plain milk to reach the desired amount. Combine the tea-infused milk with active dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar, allowing the yeast to activate and become frothy.
In a stand mixer, knead the dough with flour, sugar, salt, egg, softened butter, and yeast mixture until it becomes smooth. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can also knead the dough by hand.
Cover it with plastic wrap and let it proof in a warm area for an hour until it doubles in size. If your kitchen is particularly chilly, it can take more than one hour.
Step 3: Cook Red Bean Filling
While the buns are proofing, let's prepare the red bean filling. Rinse dry adzuki beans and cook them in an instant pot for 20 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Puree the beans with the cooking liquid until smooth.
If you do not have an instant pot, you can also cook the adzuki beans on the stovetop. Rinse beans and place in a large saucepot with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium, and continue to cook for 1 hour or until tender. Some of the water will evaporate so add more water to keep the beans submerged as needed. The beans should crush easily with your fingers when they are ready. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of cooking liquid and puree until smooth.
Now that the red bean paste is ready, we have to sweeten it. In a sauté pan, melt butter, add the red bean puree, and stir until combined. Add brown sugar, allowing it to melt and be absorbed. The paste should darken in color and be completely smooth in texture. Remove from heat and let it cool. You can also prepare the red bean paste up to 3 days in advance.
Step 4: Shape and Bake
Now, divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape them into balls, placing them on parchment-lined baking sheets. I like to weigh out each portion to make sure they're all the same size.
Let them proof again for an hour until they double in size. By double-proofing the buns, you're ensuring that they will be beautifully light and fluffy when baked.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and brush the buns with an egg wash. Bake them until they turn golden brown and let them cool on a wire rack.
Step 5: Fill the Buns
In the meantime, make the milk tea whipped cream by whipping the tea-infused heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Make sure the heavy cream is cold before whipping or it will not whip properly.
Transfer the cream to a piping bag with an open star tip, if available. You can also just use a Ziploc bag and cut off the tip.
Once the buns have cooled, cut them in half. Spread red bean paste on the bottom half, about 2 tablespoons per bun. You'll have extra red bean paste leftover but that's not a bad thing!
Pipe the milk tea whipped cream on top and complete the buns by placing the top halves back on.
These mouthwatering milk tea cream buns are now ready to be enjoyed. Finally, a boba-inspired dessert that fits the bill! The buns have just the right amount of tea flavor with that beautiful crumb. And of course, that milk tea cream filling is incredibly delicious, pairing beautifully with the red bean paste. What more could you ask for?
Can you freeze these milk tea cream buns?
Yes, absolutely! Assemble the buns and store them in an air-tight container. They should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw out the bread when ready to serve.
What can I do with the leftover red bean paste?
The possibilities are endless! You can make French toast sandwiched with red bean paste, prepare mochi with red bean filling, or use it for shaved ice.
For more tea-inspired recipes check out this jasmine milk tea french toast!