Recipe: Kim-Joy's Custard Filled Steamed Turtle Buns

We recently sat down with Kim-Joy to talk about mental health, compassion, and her time on The Great British Bake Off. During our chat, she also shared with us how to make some of her favourite bakes. In the first of two recipes from Kim-Joy, check out how to make her adorably cute Custard Steamed Filled Turtle Buns!
Photo courtesy of Kim-Joy.
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Recipe: Kim-Joy's Custard Filled Steamed Turtle Buns

Custard filled steamed turtle buns

These are a cute twist on a Chinese dim sum favourite, steamed custard buns. If you haven’t steamed buns before, you need a pan filled with water, and a bamboo steamer and lid that will fit neatly on top. Don’t try to bake these in the oven - the steaming is what makes these so soft, fluffy and irresistible.

Custard filled steamed turtle buns. Photo courtesy of Kim-Joy.
Custard filled steamed turtle buns. Photo courtesy of Kim-Joy.

Tip: To reheat these, just steam again before serving.

Size: Serves 10


For the bao dough:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 3g fast action, instant yeast
  • 3g salt
  • 60g sugar
  • 90g milk (or plant based milk)
  • 80g water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the filling:

  • 75g milk (or plant based milk)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 20g melted butter
  • 60g icing sugar or caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 20g milk powder


  • Green and black food dye


  1. Add the flour, yeast, salt and sugar to stand aid mixer bowl.
  2. Add the milk, water and vegetable oil.
  3. Let the machine knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Or mix and then knead by hand.
  4. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead green food dye into about 3/4 of the dough, and leave the rest white.
  5. Place the dough into a two separate oiled bowls, and cover with cling film. Leave for about an hour, or until about 50% increased in size.
  6. Meanwhile, make the custard filling. Whisk together the milk, eggs and butter. Then sieve in all the dry ingredients. Whisk til smooth. Then continue whisking over a ban marie, until the mixture is very very stiff (can hold a spoon upright). Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge. When chilled, shape the custard into 25-30g round balls. Flour your hands and the work surface to prevent sticking.
  7. When the dough is risen, divide the green dough into 10 equal pieces. They will be a bit sticky, so be sure to coat your hands and the dough with flour when handling. To shape the bao: use your fingers to stretch the dough into a small circle. Add the ball of custard to the centre. Gather the edges upwards and press together to seal in the filling. Turn the bao bun smooth side up. Try to make sure the surface is as smooth as possible. And it helps to rotate the bao whilst pressing the palms of your hands together. Place on a small square of baking paper. Using the plain dough, add a head and four legs (use a little water to help adhere). Place in a bamboo steamer. Cover lightly with cling film or the steamer lid. Repeat (don’t overcrowd bao buns in the steamer, as they will rise).
  8. Leave the bao to rise for about 30-45 minutes. When risen, paint the turtle shell markings using green food dye mixed with a little water. Paint the face in the same way with black food dye.
  9. Steam for 10 minutes on a low heat, then turn off the heat and leave in the steamer for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Serve straightaway!

Kim-Joy can be found on Instagram and Twitter. Check out our full feature with the amazing Kim-Joy and her recipe for tangzhong cat buns, exclusively on &ASIAN.