This cream-filled bread called “Cream Pan” (Kurimpan) is one of my favorite pastries in any Japanese bakery. It has been a popular item in Japanese bakeries for as long as I can recall.
In Japan, Cream Pan is one of the best-loved sweet bread. Although traditionally you wrap thick custard cream in sweetened dough and bake.
In this recipe, you bake sweet, fluffy bread first and then fill it with light custard.
This is the latest method of making Cream Pan, and it’s even more delicious.
The vanilla custard flows from the top of the moist bread when you open it. It’s so fulfilling that is almost like enjoying it in heaven.
What is Cream Pan?
Cream Pan is also known as Kurimpan. It’s a type of Japanese sweet bread that’s filled with custard cream. Cream pan is a Japanese bread that has a soft, texture similar to famous brioche bread. It’s also similar to Shokupan (Japanese milk bread).
In the early 1900s, the owner of one of Japan’s oldest bread factories invented the Cream Pan.
His inspiration for incorporating custard cream into the bread dough came from the Choux Cream (cream puffs).
A sequence of deep incisions that wrap around the bread in a half-circle form, almost like a glove, are Cream Pan’s characteristic look.
These cuts were not originally included in the Cream Pan but were later added to prevent the bread from developing hollow cavities during baking.
These cuts allow for ventilation, which helps the bread not to burst in the oven.
After you have learned how to make the base for Cream Pan bread (Kurimpan), you can make many other kashipan and Japanese delicious breads.
Cream Pan Recipe
Cream Pan’s most crucial component is custard cream. Cream Pan’s custard cream ought to be soft enough for you to enjoy the smooth tongue feel. It should, however, have enough body to resist the heat of the oven and remain intact inside the bread. However, in this recipe, we are going to bake the bread first, and fill it with custard cream later.
Cream Pan with very soft cream fillings, especially whipped cream, was most likely produced from Cream Pan purchased earlier from a bakery. If you’re planning to prepare a custard recipe that isn’t meant for Cream Pan, be cautious.
Although it may be suitable for another use, it may not be suited for oven baking.
How to store Cream Pan?
The Cream Pan can be kept at room temperature until ready to use, but the custard cream should be refrigerated before the next day, as it will soon get bad. It’s not something to be concerned about. Trust me, the cream pan will disappear right in front of your eyes!
Japanese Stuffed Bread Types
Japanese bakeries often offer a variety of breads with delicious fillings.
- Melonpan: This Melon shaped bread has a cookie crust. Some Melonpan varieties have cream fillings that are flavored with melon.
- Anpan: Filled with red bean paste (azuki). In some parts, it’s called Anko.
- Kare pan: Kare pan aka curry pan is a deep-fried bread shaped like a donut, this Kare pan dish is covered with panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The Kare Pan filling is a sweet and savory Japanese curry.
- Choco korone: This sweet bread has a shape of a horn and is filled with chocolate pastry crème and it’s also known as Chocolate Cornet.
Share the image below to your Pinterest boards if you like this Japanese Cream Pan!
For the dough
- 9 oz all-purpose flour
- 2-3 TBSP of sugar
- ½ tsp of salt
- ½ tsp of yeast
- 3 TBSP of butter
- 1egg yolk
- 5 oz of whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 5 TBSP of sugar
- 1 TBSP of flour
- 2 tsp of corn starch
- 9 oz of whole milk
- 2 TBSP of unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- Mix the milk and egg yolk.
- Pour the flour into a large bowl and add in sugar and salt and stir to combine nicely. Add the yeast and mix well.
- Pour in one-third of the egg-milk mixture slowly over the flour mixture. When the egg and milk mixture combines well, add the rest of the mixture in.
- When the dough begins to form, and the flour mixture is moist, let it sit for 10 mins. Add a small amount of water to the dry part if necessary. The flour soaks up the moisture, and the gluten is relaxed while resting on the dough. And the resting makes kneading much more manageable and shortens the kneading time.
- After around 10 minutes, place the dough on your working surface, and knead until nice and smooth. As I have said before, the dough should be sticky, trust me, you will get the best ever Cream Pan bread.
- Use your fingers to spread the dough, and scrape the dough into one ball. In this way, the dough will rise faster. Repeat a couple of times and start kneading.
- After 2-4 minutes your dough should be smooth.
- Spread the dough again using your fingers, add the butter, fold, and start kneading again. (don’t worry if the dough falls apart at first, it will come together after couple of minutes)
- Roll your dough into a ball shape, put it in a previously greased bowl, and cover using a plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Cook the milk and half of the sugar at a low temperature.
- Take your eggs and separate the yolks from the white.
- Heat and whisk the egg yolk and combine with the rest of the sugar until it’s nice and fluffy.
- Add in a pinch of vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and flour, and mix until it’s well combined.
- By now, the milk should start boiling.
- Turn the heat off and add a small amount of boiling milk. Mix in the small amount of milk, mix well and add some more milk to the mixture. After you’ve added about half the amount of milk, get the mixture back to the pot.
- Turn up the heat to medium, and stir constantly.
- When you notice the mixture is curdling, stir faster until it’s thickened nice and even. Cook for about a minute or two after boiling to make the best cooked custard.
- Custard can be tricky if not cooked properly, it might taste floury.
- Next, add the butter and mix until nice and smooth.
- Move the custard mixture to a bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and place in the fridge.
- If you want to cool it fast, you could put it in an ice bath.
Shaping the dough
- After 1 hour, your dough for the cream pan should double in size.
- To test if the dough is right, tap the dough using your finger and stick it into the center of the dough.
- If the small hole you just made stays as it is, the cream pan dough is ready to proceed.
- If on the other hand your dough shrinks, let it rise for additional time.
- If the dough shrinks, it is over fermented. In this case, you have nothing to do, so proceed in any case. The final product will not the same in the meaning of the aroma and the fluffiness.
- Divide your dough into smaller 8 pieces and shape them into buns.
- Again, let these balls rest for additional 5 minutes, covered with the plastic wrap.
- Preheat the oven to around 375F.
Preparing the custard cream.
- Whip the heavy cream and sugar until the mixture becomes foamy. Don’t overwhip because the custard will not be soft enough.
- Loosen up the custard by sieving it and making it even more smooth.
- Next, add in the heavy cream mixture slowly to loosen the custard.
Bake the dough
- The dough should be ready after 40 minutes or so. Gently brush the bread with egg yolk on the whole surface.
- Place the bread in the oven and bake for around 15 mins, rotating it halfway through.
- The Cream pan bread needs to be baked a bit longer at a lower temperature in order to get the desired soft texture.
- After it’s done, gently take the cream pan from the oven. Using the tip of your knife run around the ring, and take out.
- This is the step you might find strange, and you’ve probably never used this technique for this particular bread.
- While the cream pan is still hot, cover using a plastic wrap, and let it rest until it comes down to room temperature.
- The trick here is, that the steam released from the cream pan bread is returning to the bread making it incredibly moist!
- Take a chopstick and stick it from the side and make a hole in the center. Shake the bread using your chopstick back and forth. Be careful so a hole is not made on the other side.
Cream Pan Assembly
- Pour the previously prepared custard cream into a piping bag, with an 8-9mm round tip attached.
- Add the cream to your bread according to your liking. Enjoy
I really hope you try this cream pan recipe. I really love making these types of sweet bread and if you’ve missed it, you can check this Filipino Ensaymada Recipe or Famous Maritozzi (Italian Sweet Bun). It’s a bit easier to make than the cream pan, however, a cream pan is totally worth the effort.