Raspberry-Swirl Sweet Rolls

Raspberry-Swirl Sweet Rolls

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though Food & Wine Magazine has made an honest (and very welcome!) effort at becoming more accessible to the masses.  Case in point: the January 2011 trends in food issue.  My bride brought home a copy the other night, and I couldn’t help but read it from cover to cover.  It was amazing, with so many recipes and ideas that I knew my family would love.  Among them, these sweet rolls shouted out that they must be made immediately.  They didn’t have to shout too loudly, my girls are big fans of my homemade cinnamon rolls, so this was no large risk.

The recipe includes tips on how to make the rolls ahead of time, which made them perfect for a late morning, Martin Luther King Day breakfast.  I prepared the dough on Sunday evening, and while it rose we settled in for a family night with a movie.  After the initial rise, I noticed that there was quite a bit of rasberry juice which collected around the rolls at the bottom of the pan.  We were a little nervous that they were going to have a soggy texture, but how far wrong can you go with a batch of baked dough, sugar and butter, right?  Our fears were premature.  After baking, the liquid was completely absorbed, and the finished rolls had the perfect texture.  The house was filled with the delicious scent of raspberry with a hint of lemon, and we enjoyed a terrific breakfast!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Filling

  • One 10-ounce package IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) raspberries, not thawed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Glaze

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

  1. MAKE THE DOUGH: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over moderately low heat until it’s 95°. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and stir in the sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, eggs, grated lemon zest and sea salt. Add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer.
  2. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands 2 or 3 times. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend up the short sides. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a 10-by-24-inch rectangle.
  4. MAKE THE FILLING: In a medium bowl, toss the frozen raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Spread the raspberry filling evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them in the baking pan, cut sides up. Scrape any berries and juice from the work surface into the baking pan between the rolls. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the berries are bubbling. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.
  6. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and heavy cream until the glaze is thick and spreadable.
  7. Invert the rolls onto the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Invert the rolls onto a platter. Dollop glaze over each roll and spread with an offset spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 4. Cover the rolls, refrigerate overnight and then return to room temperature before baking.

Notes

Variation The sweet rolls can be filled with a variety of frozen fruit. Try blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or chopped sweet cherries.

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Irish Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce

irish-bread-pudding-with-whiskey-caramel-sauce

Do you stay true to your holiday traditions?  In our house, our St. Patrick’s Day tradition is Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce.  We might play with the menu somewhat, a new variation on a corned beef reuben, perhaps an alternative like salmon.  But never the dessert.  For years now, I’m thinking seven, we’ve made this recipe to celebrate St. Pat’s.  We may have even made it one time on another occasion, but after that we decided that if it were to be special we could only do it on a special day.  And thus, our tradition was born.

Another tradition was that I’d need to attempt to make the sauce at least twice before I’d get it to work.  The recipe is fairly straightforward , as you’ll see below.  And yet, every year I’d make one wrong step and end up with a pan of solid, crystallized sugar.  And part of my tradition was to get red in the face and loudly utter a string of words to embarrass any Irishman within earshot.  But for whatever reason, this year I got it right.  I took it slow, and I was relaxed, and in a single try I made the best batch of sauce that I ever have.  It was a delight, and everyone in the house raved at how wonderful it was.  St. Pat’s only comes once a year, and with it comes this fantastic bread pudding.  Give it a try!

Ingredients:

Bread Pudding

  • 1/4  cup  light butter, melted
  • 1  (10-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2  cup  raisins
  • 1/4  cup  Irish whiskey (Note: Substitute 1/4 cup apple juice for the Irish whiskey, if desired.)
  • 1 3/4  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  (12-ounce) can evaporated skim milk
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

Caramel Whiskey Sauce

  • 1 1/2  cups  sugar
  • 2/3  cup  water
  • 1/4  cup  light butter
  • 2  ounces  1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel) (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4  cup  Irish whiskey (Note: Substitute 1 tablespoon imitation rum extract and 3 tablespoons water for the Irish whiskey, if desired.)
  • 1/4  cup  1% low-fat milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, and place bread, buttered sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake bread at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and set aside.

Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain).

Combine 1% milk and next 4 ingredients (1% milk through eggs) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes. Spoon bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pudding. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set.

For sauce, combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Carefully add butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk (mixture will be hot and bubble vigorously). Cool slightly, and stir in whiskey and milk.

 Serve bread pudding warm with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce.

Rustic Peasant Bread

rustic-peasant-bread

The main course for our dinner was to be a Tuscan Pork Stew with Polenta, with an Italian Panzanella, or bread salad, for an opening course.  For that, of course, we were going to need bread!  The solution?  This meal cried out for a rustic peasant bread, and we found the perfect recipe on a blog called Pete Bakes!  Pete took this from a book called “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day“, and it was good enough that I’ve since purchased the book as well.  I have to laugh at the irony:  I went to a blog written by a fellow in Washington D.C. to find a recipe from a book written by two authors in Minneapolis.  It’s so often true that we have to travel the world over to find something that’s right in our own back yard!  I’m glad I did, though.  Pete has a nice blog, and it was a fun read.  As for the bread, it’s easy to prepare, and the results were just terrific.  Now that I have the book you can expect a number of bread-related postings.  For tonight, enjoy a crusty, brown loaf of rustic peasant bread!

Makes 4 1-lb. loaves (so this recipe can be easily halved).

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Preparation:

Mix the salt and yeast with the water in a large bowl.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading.  The dough will be very wet.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours.

At this point you can use the dough or refrigerate (it will keep for about 2 weeks).  If you are going to make the bread right away, it’s still a good idea to refrigerate the dough for an hour or two so it is easier to handle.

Cut off a section of the dough (1/4 if you make enough for 4 loaves), and dust it with flour.  Quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered baking sheet.  While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 450 F and place an empty broiler tray on the lowest rack in the oven.  If you are baking on a baking stone, place it in the oven to heat up with the oven.

When the oven is ready and the dough has risen, sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and make a few 1/4 inch deep slashes on the top using a serrated bread knife (a cross or tic-tac-toe pattern both work).  Leave the flour on top of the loaf during baking.

Place the baking sheet into the oven (or slide the dough onto your baking stone).  Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, quickly close the oven and bake for about 35 minutes.  The top should get a good hard crust and will be deeply browned.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack and brush off excess flour from the top of the loaf before slicing.

Honey-Buttermilk Bread

Honey Buttermilk Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, slightly warmed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 cups flour, separated
  • egg wash (1 beaten egg, with 2 tablespoons water)
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Preparation

Pour the warm water into the bottom of a large bowl, add yeast.  Sprinkle in the sugar to activate the yeast.  Whisk together and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.  At the end of this time you’ll have a frothy liquid, with that wonderful yeasty smell.

When yeast is proofed, add buttermilk, butter and honey.  Whisk these ingredients together briskly.  Add 2 cups of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until they are incorporated.  Add two more cups of the flour, and mix well.  Once the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add one more cup of flour to soak up the remainder of the liquid.

Scatter the remaining 1 cup of flour on your work surface, and place the dough mixture in the middle.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until the ball is flexible, yet silky and smooth.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, approximately 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, I suggest you toast the sesame seeds over medium heat in a small pan.  The nutty flavor of the seeds is heightened greatly when you toast, adding one more level of sensation to this loaf.

Gently punch down the risen dough, and form into round shape for baking.  Gently brush egg wash over the entire surface of the loaf, and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  This will give the loaf a glossy sheen.  I enjoy using plain water for the wash as well, just for something different.  With a sharp knife, cut a cross with two slits, each about 1/4 inch deep.  Allow the loaf to sit for approximately 15 minutes, then place in preheated oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, then allow to cool completely on cooling rack.