I hate to admit when I am wrong, but it turns out that my tentative friend Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t “the worst thing to come into this world, an abomination to those that call themselves actors and a right prat to boot,” which I was quoted as saying in the Page Six after being ejected from a party with Ramona Singer and her duelling, multi-directional eyes.
Even more than that, I hate to admit that he is actually bloody charming and I have high hopes for his contribution to the MCU.
But mostly, I hate the way I don’t hate him. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all … anymore. Plus – now I think he is oddly babin’.
Yep – I’m officially a (tentative) Cumberbitch!
While our date obviously started awkwardly, with me listing in excess of 638 things that I’d done to him that required an apology, he took it all in good spirits. I don’t know if he is one of those people that doesn’t register that I’m being deadly seriously when saying something horrible, extremely naive or just *shudder* nice, but he viewed some of my nasty comments as if I was joking about having said them and got straight into discussing how to forge a positive relationship moving forward.
Benno recently wrapped filming on Doctor Strange so there was much to discuss about how the film will impact the broader universe … and more importantly, my future role in it as a male Pepper Potts-esque love interest.
Given our history of hate, I didn’t want to invest my time in crafting a recipe for him – what if the date went south, you know – so I borrowed a recipe from my new favourite blog The Woks of Life and repurposed it as a Pork Bunedict Cumberbatch.
I have an obsessive addiction to BBQ Pork Buns however they’ve always been something I am terrified to make, then I discovered The Woks of Life and they seemed far less daunting.
Plus, if I fucked them up I didn’t have a relationship with Benny to ruin. Then. Now I do, I guess.
It feels so weird to think that we’re now friends – enjoy!
Pork Bunedict Cumberbatch
1.3kg pork shoulder
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp five spice powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp tamari
½ tsp sesame oil
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp molasses
1 tbsp oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp hot water
7g sachet dry yeast
¾ cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 cup corn flour
5 tbsp sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
⅓ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp tamari
½ cup chicken stock
2 tbsp flour
1 ½ cups diced Chinese roast pork, from above
Cut the pork into long, thick strips. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large, shallow/dish and remove a couple of tablespoons of sauce for later before adding the pork. Give it a good rub down to coat the meat in the marinade, yes it is a little disgusting but there is something about it that is so visceral and connects you to your meal – hello, energetics. Obviously you could just stir it with a spoon too – either way, when you’re done, cover it and place it in the fridge overnight.
Preheat your oven to 250C.
Line a large sheet pan with foil and place a metal rack on top. Lay the pork on the racks, leaving space around each strip and place on to the highest rack of the oven. Leave any excess marinade in the bowl for basting.
After about 20 minutes, flip the pork and baste with excess marinade and add water to the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent burning or smoking from the drippings.
After a further half an hour, turn on the grill and allow the pork to crisp on the outside and add some colour. This should take only a couple of minutes – do not walk away, lest you want to set of the fire alarm.
Remove from the oven, baste the pork with the sauce you reserved the day before and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast into the water and allow to rest until it is foamy and glorious.
While that is frothing away, sift the flour, cornflour and sugar together. When the yeast is ready, add the flour and oil.
Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on to the lowest setting and leave to knead for about 5 minutes or until a small ball is formed. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for 2 hours.
While the dough is working on proving itself to you, get to work on the meat mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, when it is nice and hot, add the onion and stir-fry for a minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and tamari. Give it a quick stir and allow to cook until it is bubbling before adding the stock and flour. Cook for a further few minutes or until starting to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped pork, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool.
After the dough has made something of itself, return it to the bowl of the mixer, add the baking powder and knead it again on the lowest setting until it is smooth again, adding water a teaspoon at a time if it looks too dry. Trust your gut here people, I did. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
While resting, cut out ten 10x10cm squares of baking paper and add water to the steamer and bring to the boil.
When ready, roll the dough out into a long tube and divide into ten pieces. Flatten each piece into a 12cm diameter disc, leaving more dough towards the centre, add a good chunk of the filling and bring the dough together to close the bun at the top. Place on a square of parchment and repeat the process until all done.
Steam the buns for 12 minutes over high heat, three of four at a time depending on the size of your steamer, making sure the water does not touch the buns.