17 September 2012
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I have officially welcomed autumn with my first pumpkin baked good. Pumpkin cinnamon rolls have always sounded tasty to me, but most of the recipes I saw only had pumpkin in the bread. I wanted the taste of warm pumpkin pie filling between layers of pastry.
Pastry. Not bready dough. My favorite cinnamon rolls of all time are from Victorian Pantry. Unlike your run-of-the-mill Cinnabons, Steve's cinnamon rolls are made from a laminate dough, which I've always been hesitant to make because of how complicated I thought they were. Then I made croissants a few months ago and even though the results were far from perfect, it got me over my fear.
I searched online for a recipe the fit my description and ended up finding this one from one of my favorite cookbooks, Baking with Julia. Not only does this recipe take two days to make, it's more complicated than standard cinnamon rolls.
The brioche dough is enriched with eggs and butter and requires a long mixing in a stand mixer that I don't have, so I alternated between using a large, sturdy wooden spoon, my hands, and a pastry scraper. After finishing the dough, I watched a video of Julia Child and Nancy Silverton making these rolls together. I panicked for a moment because my dough didn't look anything like theirs did. I hoped it would be transformed overnight.
Day two: laminate the dough with more butter. Simply put, the dough is rolled out, dotted with butter, folded, and rolled and folded again. Thankfully, the dough was manageable and easy to work with.
As the dough rested in the fridge, I mixed together the pumpkin filling, using fancy Vietnamese ground cinnamon that my friend sent me. (It's stronger than regular ground cinnamon and smells like all the cinnamon sticks in one room.) The filling consisted of a cup of pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, three tablespoons granulated sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (1 1/4 regular cinnamon), and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. It was good enough to eat on its own and didn't taste like raw pumpkin.
After the dough is filled, the logs are chilled in the freezer so that they're easier to slice. That they were, and I didn't even need dental floss. This extra step is worth the hassle because the layers don't smoosh together when sliced. Finally, they're left to rise one last time before being baked.
It wasn't a particularly cold day yesterday. However, the rolls were taking forever to rise, so I stuck them in the oven with a bowl of boiling water underneath. Pro tip: Why haven't I done this before? Do it.
I brushed the rolls with a simple confectioners' sugar glaze immediately after taking them out from the oven. I like the look of rolls with a clear coating instead of a thick white icing that hides the beautiful layers.
The pumpkin filling was incredible and tasted just like pie, especially the centers that had the most filling. It almost reminded me of a McDonald's pumpkin pie. (I shouldn't be admitting that, should I?)
My biggest question was if this recipe was worth the extra effort. I'd say it was, but I'd only make them for special occasions. The rolls were lighter and flakier than regular rolls and came pretty close to the VP rolls I crave.
I'm submitting these rolls to Yeastspotting.
Click here for dough recipe and instructions