Purple Sweet Potato Pineapple Buns Recipe

Purple sweet potato pineapple buns – or ube pineapple buns / purple yam pineapple buns take patience to make as it involves three different components, but they're well worth the effort.

Like my matcha pineapple buns recipe, my purple sweet potato pineapple buns recipe uses a tangzhong bread base for the buns, which means you make a tangzhong paste to mix into the bread dough to keep it moist and fluffy.

This also includes a super easy purple sweet potato paste recipe / ube paste recipe for the filling, which can be used as a sweet filling in other recipes too. You make more than you need for this recipe, so you can freeze the rest for up to a month to use later.

You can also watch how I make these on my YouTube channel:

Ready? Let's go.

(Makes four buns.)

Ingredients for Purple Sweet Potato Paste:

400g purple sweet potato, peeled, chopped and steamed
150g caster sugar
70ml vegetable oil

Ingredients for Tangzhong for Buns:

5g fresh / dry active yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
65ml warm milk

Rest of Bread Ingredients:

200g bread flour
30g more caster sugar
15g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 a beaten egg

Ingredients for Pineapple Bun Topping:

70g plain flour
30g icing sugar
30g unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp ube flavouring
1 tbsp beaten egg
Pinch of salt (optional)

Ingredients for Coating:

100g caster sugar


1. First, make the purple sweet potato paste: mash the steamed sweet potato with a fork. If it's got lots of fibres, push it through a fine sieve (stir a little water in it first if it's tough to push through the sieve to loosen it up a bit). Discard the fibres.

2. Stir and cook the mashed sweet potato, oil and sugar in a large pan over a medium to high heat until so thick it moves around the pan as one blob and stops sticking to your spoon / spatula (about 15 minutes). Transfer it to a bowl, cover loosely and cool before chilling in the fridge for at least four hours.

3. To make the tangzhong, gradually whisk the milk into the flour so there are no lumps in a nonstick pan. Switch the heat on to a medium to high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and tip onto a plate, covering with clingfilm to cool completely.

4. Pour the warm milk over the 1 tsp sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir to combine, and leave for a few minutes until bubbling.

5. In a large bowl, add the rest of the bread ingredients, plus the cooled tangzhong and the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Tip out onto a work surface and knead for about 10-–15 minutes, so the dough becomes smooth and springs back when you try to stretch it.

6. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover. Let it proof until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm your room is).

7. Punch the dough back down and divide it into four portions. Cover and let rest for another 15 minutes.

8. To make the crust pastry topping, simply stir all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth dough. Divide into four, roll them up into balls, and then roll them out into flat, thin circles between two sheets of baking paper. Set aside.

9. Take 100g of your chilled purple sweet potato paste and divide it into four pieces (store the rest in the fridge or freezer for another time). Flatten out each bread dough ball slightly, pop a portion of purple sweet potato paste into the centre of each, and pinch shut to make balls again. Place seam-side down.

10. Place a disc of pastry on top of each ball and roll around in your hands so it sticks. firmly to the dough. Using a butter knife or dough scraper, score a diamond pattern into the pastry.

11.  Line a baking tray with nonstick baking parchment. Dip each bun pastry-side down into the extra caster sugar, lightly brush off the excess sugar, and place pastry-side up on the baking sheet. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

12. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and bake your buns for 15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before eating, preferably still a little warm.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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