This Apple Custard Buns with Camembert is made with a soft milk bread, an aromatic bay leaf infused custard, thinly sliced pink lady apples, finished with a brush of melted butter and thin wedge of creamy camembert cheese that make the buns so irresistible. I couldn’t think of a shorter name for this. Every component deserves to be on the title because these are totally delicious altogether.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from all the beautifully arranged apple desserts that pop up all over my feed during apple season. Like this Apple Tart, this Apple Galette, and this Apple and Sage Focaccia. Too pretty! So I got a bag of pink lady apples on one of my supermarket runs and went home dreaming of ways to turn the apples into pretty desserts. Initially I wanted to make apple galette or tart like everyone else but I had no craving for it at that moment. Instead I was craving for soft bread and also craving to knead some dough with my hands. I just enjoy making bread. And so enter this sweet apple custard buns.
I love the idea of making sweet bread that looks like they belong to the dessert department. Bread are no longer just a staple food or everyday breakfast. They can be made fancy and over the top with interesting flavours, textures and shapes. Eat them like how you would with desserts or have them for a leisure breakfast, pairing with your favourite beverage.
These apple custard buns may look like it takes hours to make but trust me, it’s really simple.
Let’s go through the details.
There are 4 components for this apple custard buns.
- Milk bread
- Thinly sliced apples
- Bay leaf custard
- Camembert cheese wedges
The good news is technically you only need to prepare 2 of the components. Milk bread & bay leaf custard.
Milk bread – I’ve been using this simple soft bread recipe. You can knead the dough by hand since the quantity is small. Shaping these buns can’t be any easier. Just round them into balls and flatten into the shape of disks with your fingers or rolling pin. If you happen to have disposable bread baking cups, please use it. Just press the dough into the cups. Easy peasy.
Apples – The highlight of this recipe. I wanted them to look fresh and rosy so I chose pink lady apples for its beautiful blush colour. No need to pre-cook the apples. Simply slice them as thinly as your knife can go and soak the slices in a bowl of lemon water to prevent them from browning. This step is very important. Soaking the apples in lemon water is a simple and effective way to delay oxidation. Slicing the apples may take awhile if your knife skill is basic like me, however this activity can be quite therapeutic as well 😌
Bay leaf custard – Apples seem to always go with cinnamon, but I recalled reading somewhere about the combination of bay leaf and apples and decided to try it out. It is very unusual to use bay leaf in desserts as this leafy herb is typically used to infuse soups & stews. This herby leaf carries a slight hint of mint flavour and is somewhat reminiscent of green cardamon. I also made a lighter version custard by using whole egg instead of just egg yolks. The custard turns out better than I imagined.
Camembert cheese – Needs no introduction. Soft cheese like camembert and brie are known to pair well with apples so the addition truly takes the bread to the next level. Do note that not all camembert are the same. Some batches are very soft creamy and intense which indicates its of good quality. If your camembert is really intense, you may want to slice a thinner wedge for each bun to prevent the cheese from overpowering the delicate flavours of apples and bay leaf custard.
Ingredients for milk buns
- Bread flour
- Caster sugar
- Sea salt
- Instant yeast
- Unsalted butter
How to make soft milk buns
This recipe makes a small batch of 6 buns. This is quite a straightforward recipe and suitable for beginners. I prefer using instant yeast to keep the process quick and simple. Basically mixing wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Yep, just like that.
Bowl A: Combine bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
Bowl B: Combine milk & butter in a saucepan over low heat until most of the butter has melted. Cool to 40C before adding the egg and mix well. If you don’t have a thermometer, just test with your finger. The mixture should feel lukewarm.
Combine contents in Bowl B into Bowl A. Using a spatula, mix until all the flour are incorporated. It will be sticky but not to worry, the dough will come together eventually. Scrap dough onto work surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Round into a ball and let it proof for about 60 mins or until double in size.
Once dough rise to double, degas by gently punching the dough to release the gas. The dough should feel very soft at this stage. Divide into 6 equal portions. Round into balls and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Flatten the dough with your fingers and pat into roughly 9cm round. You can also use a rolling pin instead. Or if you’re using disposable baking cups, just press the dough flat into the cups.
Ingredients for bay leaf custard
- Dried bay leaves
How to make a simple bay leaf custard
Heat milk and bay leaves in a pan. Remove from heat just before it comes to a boil. Let it infuse for 15 minutes.
Combine egg, sugar and cornflour. Mix well with a whisk.
Remove bay leaves from milk. Reheat milk. Add hot milk to egg mixture and whisk to combine.
Return to heat, cook over low heat until thicken, whisking constantly. Once thicken, remove custard from heat and transfer to a tray or container. Cover surface with clingwrap and refrigerate until use.
Just imagine hints of aromatic herb, creamy custard, sweet crunchy apples, ooey gooey camembert on an incredibly soft bun.
Making bread at home can be very satisfying and rewarding. I hope you give this recipe a try!
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @vanillynbakery on Instagram. I’d love to see your lovely bakes!
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these as well:
Apple Camembert Bay Leaf Custard Buns
- 180 g bread flour
- 18 g caster sugar
- 4 g salt
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 94 g milk
- 27 g unsalted butter
- 26 g egg lightly beaten
Bay Leaf Custard
- 125 g milk
- 26 g egg
- 20 g caster sugar
- 7 g cornflour
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 pink lady apples or any vibrant red apples
- 6 thin wedges camembert cheese
- 1/2 egg for egg wash
- 20 g unsalted butter melted (for brushing)
Bay Leaf Custard
- In a pan, warm milk with bay leaves and remove from heat just before it begins to boil. Allow to infuse for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove bay leaves and reheat infused-milk. Remove from heat just before it begins to boil.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sugar and cornflour. Pour hot infused-milk over egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Return mixture into pan and cook over low heat, whisking all the time until mixture thickens. Pour contents onto a small tray or container. Press a piece of clingwrap on the surface to prevent skin from forming. Allow to cool completely. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Apple Custard Buns
- Combine bread flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast in a mixing bowl. (Bowl A)
- Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat until butter mostly melted. Remove from heat. If mixture is too hot, allow to cool to lukewarm around 35C to 40C. Add the egg and whisk to combine. (Bowl B)
- Combine Bowl B into Bowl A. Mix with a spatula until all the flour are incorporated. Transfer dough onto work surface. Dough will be sticky at first but as you knead, the dough will come together and become less sticky when gluten develops.
- Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and not sticking to your hands anymore. When you stretch a small piece of dough with fingers, it should not break easily. Round into a ball. Transfer to bowl and cover. Allow to rise to double the size. About 60 minutes.
- Once dough has risen, gently punch to release gas. Divide into 6 equal portions. Round into balls and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Place onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spacing out evenly. Flatten the dough into roughly 9cm round. Cover and allow to rise the 2nd time for about 30 minutes. At this point you can start preheating your oven to 190C.
- Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice. Cut apples into quarters and remove the core. Slice each quarter as thinly as possible. Place sliced apples into the lemon water to prevent oxidation. When ready to use, remove apples and dry them with kitchen paper. Divide into 6 portions and arrange them together like a fan.Note: I used about a quarter apple for each bun. So technically you only need 1.5 apples.
- Take out bay leaf custard from the refrigerator and whisk to loosen and smooth out the custard. Spoon about 1 tsp of custard onto the center of each buns. Place sliced apples over the custard on the buns. Brush a light egg wash around the sides of the buns that are not covered by the apples. Send to bake for about 8 mins or until the buns are golden brown.
- While buns are baking, slice 6 thin wedges of camembert. Get ready some melted butter. Once buns are out from the oven, immediately brush melted butter all over the buns and over the apples. Place one wedge of camembert on each bun. Allow to cool before eating.