For the Pastry Cream:
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter
For the Dough:
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup lightly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water for egg wash
- First make the pastry cream so it has time to cool in the refrigerator. In a medium saucepan bring milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, butter, vanilla, and slt to a gentle boil over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add egg yolks to the cornstarch and mix into a smooth paste.
- Slowly, and in small amounts, whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, whisk back into the pan.
- Return the custard to the stove and bring to a low boil over medium-low, whisking continuously for three minutes once the mixture boils. If you don’t go for the full time the pastry cream will taste like cornstarch and will separate so really give it a good whisk as it bubbles.
- Strain into a shallow container and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until the buns are baked and cooled.
- To make the dough, warm the milk and butter together over the stove until butter is just melted and milk is steaming. You want the mixture to be a warm lukewarm (about 115°F), not scorching hot.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt together on medium speed. Add the warmed milk/butter and beat until combined.
- Beat in the egg and yeast until well combined.
- Turn off the mixer and switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. With the mixer running on low speed, add 1 cup of flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add an additional 1 and 1/4 cups more flour and beat for 3 more minute until the dough begins to gather around the dough hook. Add a bit more flour as necessary to create a soft but not terribly sticky dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, until a soft and smooth dough emerges.
- Lightly grease the mixing bowl. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- After the pumpkin bun dough has nearly doubled in size, turn dough out onto a clean or very lightly floured counter. Knead for a few turns then use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.
- Roll each dough ball into a round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the towel from the buns and brush each bun lightly with egg wash.
- Spoon cooled pastry cream into a disposable piping bag fitted with a Wilton #5 decorating tip. Carefully swirl a line of pastry cream across the top and down the sides of each bun.
- Bake buns for 16-18 minutes, until puffed and golden and they feel light when lifted off the baking sheet. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Use a skewer or skinny handle end of a utensil to pierce the side of each bun. Carefully but firml shove the tip of the pastry cream bag into each bun and squeeze gently. We want to get about a tablespoons of pastry cream into each bun. It takes a little practice to see what you bun can hold. Any excess will come out the side when the pastry bag is removed and you’ll know better for the next bun.
- Fill each bun and enjoy! I kept these buns wrapped in the refrigerator and brought them to room temperature when serving the next day.