Pineapple Custard Coconut “Bun” Breakfast Braid

Before I get started on anything else, I wanted to let you all know for what fabulous occasion I made this (equally fabulous, if I say so myself) breakfast braid. If y’all don’t already know her, Julie from Willow Bird Baking is hosting her first challenge series ever and all of you should join! She’s fantastic. This week’s challenge is breakfast braids. And at the risk of exposing you to yet another countless hours logged browsing awesome blogs, I’m sending you on over there to check it out.

Do it.

Admit it–it sounds better to you than washing that pile of laundry glaring at you from the corner of your room.

So about this pineapple custard coconut bun.

Breakfast braid.

Hybrid thing.

Have you ever had a Chinese pineapple bun before? I’ve always wanted to try this recipe from Christine’s site, but a) I haven’t quite worked up the courage to make “fluffy” pastries yet, and b) I’m scared (read: terrified) out of my size who-knows-what pants even thinking about replicating a food that I grew up eating.

Because usually it ends up with my parents poking at it and going, “Ehhh, why you make this? Give up and buy from store already. Much better.”

Okay no, my parents don’t have absurdly martian accents. I just like to add them in for effect, sort of like I adopt a really corrupt British accent every time I imitate the snooty people I occasionally encounter in my department, even though I’m pretty sure all of them popped out of the womb singing “America, The Beautiful.”

It doesn’t really make sense. Neither do a lot of things in my pell-mell life, and neither do these hybridized, slightly mutant buns/bread that are deliciously awesome.

What’s special (or what I’d like to think is special) about them is that actually combine three awesome foods and jam them into one crazy concoction that actually resembles edible sustenance. We have, of course, the requisite breakfast braid base for the challenge, but I wanted to put an Asian spin on the whole ordeal. I love Chinese baked goods, and I love working with them when my martian parents aren’t around to poke fun at me, so it seemed natural to work that flair into this challenge.

I can just imagine my mad fantastic Zumba instructor screaming it at me now. Work it, girl–work those buns!!

So I stuffed it with my favorite filling from these traditional cocktail buns–and then, instead of your conventional breakfast braid icing, I jammed on a hunkin’ layer of the sweet “pineapple” layer from pineapple buns on top.

(For those of you who have never eaten a pineapple bun: first, we need to fix that. Second, the bun gets its name from the pineapple pattern this layer forms on the bun post-baking, rather than any actual pineapple ingredient in the bun itself. I usually peel this part off and eat it while sneaking away in triumph. It is, unquestionably, the best part of the pastry.)

But then again, maybe it’s a good thing not all of you know about it. More for me.

One final, CRITICAL note, and then I’ll shut my selfish trap.

If you make this recipe, read this carefully: Make sure you leave a piece for me.

I am in the process of grading the last batch of papers from our first round of essays, and I need edible renumeration for my pains.

Shipping address available upon request.

That is all. Now go work those buns.

Pineapple Custard Coconut “Bun” Breakfast Braid
Yield: 1 medium braid
For breakfast bun braid:
Adapted from Willow Bird Baking


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1.5 ounces cream cheese OR 1 ounce tofu + 2 tablespoons plain yogurt*
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in softened butter or margarine, as well as cream cheese (or substitute–see note below) and mix until a sort of coarse meal forms.  Add milk and vanilla, and stir until a very loose dough forms. Be sure not to overmix–doing so might turn your pastry dough from a rocking good pastry to a plain old rock!
  2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead very gently about five or six times, until your dough just comes together. Julie notes that it will be a very rough dough at this point, and that this is “perfect” for our purposes! Roll out into a rectangle about 5″ by 10″–just as long as it’s not too thin, you’ll be good to go.
  3. In the vertical middle third of your dough, spread coconut custard filling (see below for instructions). Then, along each side, make diagonal cuts (all in the same direction) about 1.5-inch in length and 1-inch apart from each other. Starting on one side, carefully fold one of the strips over the filling, then fold the matching strip from the other side. Continue folding until a braid is formed. Ta-da! Not so bad, was it?
  4. Top with pineapple layer (see below for instructions) and brush with egg wash (see below for instructions). Bake in preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or until your top pineapple layer becomes golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving–the filling will be hot!

*Note on cream cheese substitute: I’m offering my cream cheese substitute because I do a really good job of not checking all of my supplies beforehand (d’oh) and didn’t have a package on hand. The tofu and yogurt will do the trick if you’re making small batches like I did; however, if you’re making a full-on breakfast honkin’ braid, it’s probably best if you use the cream cheese like a normal responsible  human being.

For the coconut custard filling:

Adapted from Christine’s Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 egg, beaten (hold on to the rest of the egg–it’s going into your pineapple topping!)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut


  1. Combine butter and sugar. Mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in egg. Add coconut and stir in until just combined.
  3. Place mixture in fridge for at least a few minutes before using it, if possible; this will make it more manageable.

For pineapple bun topping:

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia


  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  1. Beat butter or margarine, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and light. Add in egg. Fold in flour.

For egg wash:

  • Use remaining 1/4 beaten egg and brush onto pineapple-topped breakfast braids immediately before baking.


19 Replies to “Pineapple Custard Coconut “Bun” Breakfast Braid”

  1. This is basically the best idea I’ve EVER SEEN. Those pineapple buns are my FAVORITE things!!!! I’m so glad you thought of this, girl!!

    1. Aw, thanks Julie! They’re skippin’ good, right?! I’m so glad you hosted this challenge and gave me a chance to experiment with this!

  2. Pastries from Chinese bakeries are pretty much my most favorite thing ever! Looks like I may need to give this recipe a try!!

    1. Yes, they’re mine as well! I’d love to hear what you think if you do try it!

  3. […] LeAndra Made: Pineapple Custard Coconut “Bun” Breakfast Braid (see her blog Wallflour Girl) […]

  4. Oooohh this looks amazing. I am totally going to make this! I haven’t ever tried it but I have a fondness for all things pineapple and coconut!

    1. Thank you! And yes, I see that on your blog–what a lovely coincidence! I think this recipe *may* have been made for you, just saying…

  5. I never thought about working on my buns, but maybe I should? 😉 Particularly when it means making this recipe. Really nice – a real winner. I hope there will be enough left to send to you. 😉 Thanks for a fun post.

    1. The only problem is that I don’t think these buns help work any other ones, unfortunately…but they’re definitely worth it!

  6. Yum! I never have had a pineapple bun; I’m going to have to seek one out. I have spent so much time looking at other blogs. It’s addicting and becoming quite the distraction. I feel like I’m a little kid saying “just five more minutes” 🙂

    1. You need to try them, although you definitely need to find a place that makes them well (as with anything awesome). My reader is an absolute mess atm, I’m a little bit terrified to check, actually!

  7. Wow, how innovative! Great job! I have never had a pineapple bun before, but I definitely want one, now!

    1. Yes, yes, and yes! I hope you get to try one (although this recipe’s a pretty good bet)!

  8. I think I’m gonna like this ‘tropical’ bun very much, and may make it for breakfast with friends. But then there won’t be much left for me, will there?

    1. My secret ninja solution: this braid doesn’t make much, so pop two into the oven and dole out the spoils of one to your friends…hide the other in the oven and let them crow over how generous a hostess you are! Thanks for dropping by!

  9. I may be blind, but where is the pineapple in the recipe?

    1. Hi! This recipe actually does not contain pineapple. It’s a traditional Asian bakery bun that gets its name from its checkered crust top, which resembles a pineapple.

      1. dutchbaker420 says: Reply

        Thank you so much! I thought I was going crazy 🙂

        1. 😉 absolutely. I say the same thing to myself every single day.

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