Pumpkin bun

Pumpkin bun

Brioche bun filled with spiced pumpkin custard and streusel

Super delicious bread, silky filling, crunchy streusel, and the most autumnal smell you can imagine. The custard is quite sweet and intense, but it works as a small amount in the center.

Makes 12 buns

Make the custard

Can be done up to 3 days ahead if you want to break it up over multiple days. Or can be done during the brioche's first rise, just give the custard time to chill.

  1. Combine 2/3 cup pumpkin puree and 33g brown sugar. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring.

  2. Scald 2/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup cream (or 1 1/3 cups whole milk).

  3. Beat 4 egg yolks, 19g cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and 133g sugar until thick and pale.

  4. Temper the egg yolk mixture into the milk mixture.

  5. Add pumpkin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and beginning to boil, 5-7 minutes. Continue to cook another 3 minutes until thick like a pudding, smooth and glossy.

  6. Strain, then stir in 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp each of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, 2/3 tbsp butter, and 2 tsp bourbon.

  7. Refrigerate.

Make the streusel

Can be done ahead and frozen or refrigerated.

  1. Mix 20g oats, 30g flour, 25g sugar, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

  2. Cut 40g butter into small pieces. Press butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until a crumbly dough forms.

Make the brioche

  1. Combine 180g bread flour, 80g all purpose flour, 3 large eggs (155g), 26g milk, 1.5 tsp salt, 3 grams yeast (1 tsp) in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix for 4 minutes on low (stir or speed 2).

  2. Increase speed to medium (speed 2 to 4) and mix for 3 minutes.

  3. Add 50g sugar in three additions. Mix 3 minutes between each addition.

  4. Add 150g cold, pliable butter and mix for 5 more minutes.

  5. Dough should be smooth and stretchy, passing the windowpane test.

Rise and boule

  1. Let rise, covered in the bowl, for 1 hour.

  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm enough to handle.

  3. Pre-shape the brioche into 50g boules. Use enough flour to keep from sticking.

  4. Refrigerate the boules for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days well covered.

Shaping, filling, and baking

  1. Reshape each boule into a disc. It should be 3-4 inches diameter.

  2. Brush with egg wash (1 whole beaten egg).

  3. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours until puffy.

  4. Firmly press in the centers of the discs to deflate. Use egg wash so it doesn't stick to your fingers. Create a bowl about 2 inches diameter.

  5. Egg wash again. Fill with custard and sprinkle with streusel.

  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes at 350°. Brioche should be browned and look like you want to eat it.

Pumpkin apple variation

Add apple slices before baking for a little extra crunchy apple texture and autumnal pie vibes.

  1. Mix 1 tbsp brown sugar with the juice of half a lemon in a bowl.

  2. Cut an apple into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick. You will need 36 slices (3 per bun) so you can eat the rest as a snack.

  3. Toss the apple slices in the sugar and lemon juice, making sure each is coated on both sides. Add more sugar and lemon if needed.

  4. Fan out 3 apple slices and arrange on top right after you fill with the pumpkin custard. Bake as usual.

Nov 2023

Butter must be cold because the dough warms so much with mixing.

Pastry cream adapted from Vanilla Bean Blog's donuts with pumpkin cream, streusel from Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott, and brioche adapted from SF Baking Institute. This is a scaled down version of what I baked, which made too much brioche. This should make 12 50g boules, but I have not tested.

Streusel recipe not included above, but you could really use any streusel or crumble. I used an oat and walnut crumble topping, but not sure I liked the oats for this.

Pastry cream was SO good, would be great for other uses too.

Apr 2024

I came around on the oat streusel, and also figured out how to make an amount appropriate for this recipe. Updated above!

I did the 2 hour rise in the oven, with the light on, and a mug of boiled water to keep things humid. It still formed a bit of a skin despite the wet egg wash, so I'm not sure if this is the best method. I like not having to use a covering, but I probably should try covering with plastic.

I used all milk for the pastry cream since I didn't have cream. Turned out good. Also this definitely made too much pastry cream. It is delicious, so perhaps that is not such a bad thing, however, I would like to try adjusting the recipe to make a bit less. Will need to do the math on that before I can make a recommendation, but if you know you don't want extra, try halving it.

I also made a pumpkin-apple variation by adding a few thin slices of apple tossed with brown sugar and lemon juice. (You can do plain apples, but they will be a bit dry in appearance after baking.) Added instructions above as a variant!