Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

Confession time. I have lived 26 years of my life terrified to use yeast.

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Ok, probably not the full 26 years. I doubt I was born with an intense intimidation around yeast, but for all my cooking years I have avoided it.

Until this Spring. I finally took the plunge, guys. And guess what happened…

It was super easy. Like crazy super easy. Time consuming, definitely – I’m not used to waiting for things to rise and then waiting for them to rise again, but the yeast itself was nothing to fear!

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And guess what else I tried for the first time? A recipe I found on Pinterest. All this pinning, but not one attempt to make any of it. Plenty of good intentions, but I just never got there.

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So for all you yeast-fearing, Pinterest-recipe-binge-pinning people out there, take heart. Those fears can be faced. Sometimes simultaneously.

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Food and Wine):

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk – I used skim and it worked great
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the raspberry filling:

  • One package frozen raspberries, not thawed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the glaze:

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

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over moderately low heat until it’s 95° – or just steaming, you should be able to touch the milk without seriously burning yourself, but please be careful! Pour the warm milk into your mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover it with a towel and let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. If you don’t get foam, it means your yeast is dead and you need to start again, but better now than 4 steps in, right?

2. Add the softened butter, eggs, and sea salt to the yeast mixture. Pop a dough hook on your mixer, and add the flour, beating 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.

3. 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.

4. 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. It’s actually easier on yourself if you do measure and shoot for your best rectangle.

5. 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, and using a serrated knife, 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.

6. This is where you get to choose your own adventure. If you’re baking them now, cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours. If you’re doing these the night before, put them in the refrigerator and let them rise overnight. The cooler temp will slow the rising process.

7. Preheat the oven to 425°. If you put your rolls in the fridge over night, make sure they warm up to room temp before you put them in the oven – otherwise your baking might not turn out even. 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.

8. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and heavy cream until the glaze is thick and spreadable.

9. 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.

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