Matcha Turtle Melon Pan

Another YouTube inspired cooking adventure. Just so that nobody can accuse me of sabotage (not looking at anybody named redbeanpork in particular), here’s the video that I found: It’s from the Cooking With Dog YouTube channel. After watching that video, I did a bit more searching for melon pan recipes, and came across this turtle shaped melon pan recipe: (it’s in Japanese, but you can use Google translate on the page). I’m still a bit sour about my failed anpanda, so I really wanted to try making a cute looking dessert again.

I did try it last week, and had a competition with redbeanpork, but I think both of us failed. However, I did get an adorable photo:

There’s just something so cute about a turtle on its back. Am I a terrible person?

The problem with the first batch was that I found it a bit dry. I took the recipe from the cookpad website, but used matcha powder instead of green food colouring, and I think it really dried out the cookie dough. Also, I was playing Dota while the dough was proofing, and it ended up proofing for too long, so that dried out, too. Did not make the same mistake the second time!

Here’s the recipe:


Cookie Dough
100g unsalted butter (at room temp)
70g sugar
1 egg (at room temp)
180g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp matcha powder (or you can use vanilla extract instead, if you don’t like matcha, just add green food colouring also, to get the green coloured shell)
27g white chocolate (only if using matcha)

(extra sugar for coating the back of the turtle shells)

300g bread flour
4g dry yeast
150ml milk
24g sugar
4g salt
30g unsalted butter (room temp)
1 egg

I used black sesame seeds for the eyes, but you can draw them on, or use dark chocolate, or raisins.


Start with the cookie dough first. Put the butter in a medium sized bowl. Start creaming it with a whisk. Then slowly add the sugar and continue creaming until it turns a pale colour. Beat the egg in another bowl. Add a third of the egg to the butter-sugar mix, and cream until mixed. Another third of egg, cream, third of egg, cream. You don’t want to add the egg all at once, or your cream will separate. Add the matcha powder / vanilla + food colouring. Mix to combine. Melt the white chocolate and mix in.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix with a spoon / spatula. Put the mixture onto some plastic wrap, shape into a log, and put in the fridge to cool.

For the bread, heat up the milk so that it is warm (not boiling hot!). I chucked it in the microwave for 30s. Add the yeast and stir so that the yeast is submerged.

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt in a bowl. Beat the egg in another bowl, and pour in with the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Add the milky-yeasty mixture and combine.

Lightly flour a flat surface / pastry mat. Put the dough out and knead it, adding extra flour if too sticky (but try to avoid adding so much flour that the dough becomes dry). It should still be a little sticky, but not so sticky that you can’t knead it.

After about 5 minutes, starting pulling the dough (I think this is meant to make the gluten stretch). By pulling, I mean grab the ball of dough and pull it apart like an accordion, so that it stretches out (I found having one hand pull up, while the other hand pulls down is easier, as you have gravity helping). Then fold it back together into a ball-like shape, and pull it out in the other direction. Keep doing that for a few minutes, if it gets too sticky to handle, just start kneading it again until it gets a bit smoother.

Flatten the dough into a square, and put the butter on top. Then roll up the dough with the butter, and knead until the butter is combined (this part is messy!). Use a dough scraper / spatula to help keep it all combined. Then continue with the kneading, and pulling.

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, knead it together until smooth, then fold over the edges so that you get a ball. Put the ball in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to proof for 30 minutes. Do not go and play a game of Dota.

Once the proofing is done, flatten the dough, then do a business letter fold, rotate 90 degrees, then do another business letter fold.Divide up the dough. Mine ended up weighing 600g, so I cut off 100g for the head / legs, and divided up the final 500g into 10 pieces.

For each of the 10 pieces that will be the body, flatten, and do the business letter fold, rotate 90 degrees, second BL fold, fold over the egdes to make it a ball and put in a tray, seam side down. Leave in a warm place to proof, covered with a damp cloth.

While the body is proofing, start making the heads, legs, and tails with the dough you cut off earlier.

Doesn’t really need to be a work of art, but you’ll need 1 head, 4 legs and 1 tail per turtle.

I learned from my anpanda. Have a plate with a bit of milk to dip the body parts it to make it easier to attach. Put the extra sugar in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius.

Get the cookie dough out, and start making the shells. In my first attempt, I rolled all the dough into balls, and flattened them. DO NOT DO THIS! The dough will dry out.

Instead, roll them out as you need them.

I happen to have scone cutters at home, so I used them the second time.

Once you have your shell, grab one of the bodies, turn it upside down (so the seam is on top) and put the shell on top. Try and get the shell to “stick” to the body as closely as possible.

Then, roll the shell in the bowl of sugar, and with a knife, gently cut lines into the shell, start with parallel lines, then rotate 45 degrees and do another set of lines. You don’t want to cut too deeply, or might cut through the dough.

Transfer to the tray you are baking on, and dip the head, legs and tail into a bit of milk before attaching. If using black sesame seeds for the eyes, I found dipping that in milk helped it stick, too.

Bake for 16 minutes, our oven doesn’t heat evenly, so I rotated them after 8 minutes.

They do tend to expand a bit, so make sure they have room! The one on the left is after baking, the one on the right is before baking.

I did try just pulling out the head, legs and tail, but I found the end result looked a bit more dopey.


Also, here’s what happens when you cut too deeply. See the broken shells? :(


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