Apple-Pear-Almond Steamed Buns
3 to 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 c. milk
2 TBSP. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 TBSP. vegetable oil
1 medium apple (preferably Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and chopped finely
1 medium pear, peeled, cored, and chopped finely
1/2 c. slivered almonds
4 TBSP brown sugar
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 c. of the flour and the active dry yeast.
Heat the milk, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil just until warm, about 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit, or "baby bath water" temperature. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture; beat until thoroughly mixed, about half a minute. Incorporate the remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until the result is a pliant, workable dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 3-5 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and then turn the dough once (so that both sides are lightly oiled). Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled, about 1 hour.
For the filling, combine the apple, pear, almonds, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly.
Punch down the dough and then shape it into 24 balls. Cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball into a 3-inch circle. Spoon about 1 TBSP of filling into each circle. Bring up the edges of dough around the filling; pinch the edges to seal. The filled dough should remain in a circular shape.
In a steamer over high heat, bring water to a boil. Place the buns, seam-side down, on a lightly greased steamer rack or basket; make sure the sides don't touch (if necessary, chill any buns that can't fit on the steamer rack or basket until you are ready to use them. Let warm at room temperature for 5 minutes before proceeding.)
Place the rack over the boiling water. Cover the steamer and steam the rolls for 20 minutes.
Carefully lift out of the steamer basket or rack.