A bit of pink colouring (for brushing the bun skin)
200g lotus seeds, soaked for 2 hours
1 tbsp alkaline water
155g castor sugar
For the filling: Place the soaked lotus seeds in a basin with enough alkaline water to cover. Boil the lotus seeds for 8-10 minutes. Drain and wash, then rub off the skin.
Put the cleaned lotus seeds in a pressure cooker. Add enough water and cook for 15 minutes until soft. Remove and blend into a paste.
Put 2-3 tablespoons sugar in a nonstick saucepan. Stir and cook till golden brown then add lotus seed paste and remaining sugar. Stir and cook until thick. Add in oil and cook until the lotus seed paste leaves the sides of the saucepan.
Dish out and leave to cool completely. Divide into small balls to form filling.
For the dough: Sift pau flour into a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Stir in salt, sugar, yeast and double-action baking powder. Add shortening and lukewarm water. Knead for 10-15 minutes until it forms a smooth and elastic dough. Cover with a damp tea-towel. Leave to proof for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Remove dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes. Divide dough into small portions. Wrap up a ball of lotus seed paste. Form into the shape of a longevity bun.
Place the gathered seal edges facing downwards. Press a dent to get a line in the centre of the bun to create a peach. Place the bun on a piece of small grease-proof paper. Repeat the process. Cover the buns and leave to proof for 30 minutes.
Steam over low heat for about 5-8 minutes or till cooked through. Dip a toothbrush into pink colouring. Run your finger along the brush to create a spray of colour.