Rinse the red dates thoroughly and place in a small bowl.
Add sugar and pour in enough boiling water to cover.
Set aside to soak for at least 4-5 hours.
After soaking, drain and dry the dates with paper towels. Snip a bit off one end of the dates.
To make dough:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar, and salt.
Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the machine moving still on low speed, add the canola oil in a stream, then the evaporated milk. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and continue to mix for 10 minutes until dough is soft and elastic.
Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Place a portion in an airtight plastic container and cover (tightly) with lid. Leave in a warm place to rest until it has doubled in volume.
To the other portion add a tinge of rose pink food colouring. Sprinkle a little low-protein flour evenly over it.
Knead the colour into the dough until the dough is soft. Likewise, place the dough into an airtight plastic container.
Cover tightly and leave to rise until doubled.
To shape dough:
Punch down the dough and divide each into 10 equal portions. Roll them into balls.
Using a small rolling pin, roll out each ball into a round disc. Place a white disc on the worktop and place a pink one to overlap it slightly (by not more than 1cm). Repeat with another white and pink disc to get a row of 4 overlapping discs. Start rolling firmly from the last disc to form a small sausage roll.
Cut the roll into half and place each, cut side down, on a small square of baking paper, pinching the outer “petals” to keep them in place.
Stick your index finger into the centre of the rosette to open it up a little and insert a date, cut side up. Set aside to rise until doubled in size, about 15-20 minutes.
Arrange the rose buns on a steaming tray and steam over rapidly boiling water for 8 minutes.