Sunday, March 17, 2013

dn's Lemon Rolls

Spring and Easter are fast approaching. For me, that always means a time to bake something special - and that usually means something with lemon! I wanted to make Lemon Rolls!!

When I was a kid, I recall my mom making Cinnamon Buns/Rolls. They were a lot of extra work but also very delicious! Though I've tried a few times, I still haven't perfected a decent Cinnamon Roll but that is okay as I'm not a huge cinnamon fan. An occasional Cinnamon Roll at a coffee shop or restaurant is fine for me.

There was however, a treat that we occasionally bought in the bakery departments of grocery stores that I have been wanting again for quite a while. Actually, I've looked for them in the stores but haven't seen them in years - so if I wanted to taste this treat again, it was time to experiment.

The frosted rolls we used to buy were sold by the half dozen in a tin foil pan. They were light, soft - sort of a cross between a bread and cake consistency - and the filling was a tangy lemon! They were SO good!

It was time to look for recipes! There were several recipes on line - some were more of a twist on the Swiss Roll with a lemon cake rolled up with a creamy filling. Not what I had in mind. Others, were a more traditional Cinnamon Roll style - but also made the lemon filling from scratch. That was more work than I wanted.

I finally decided to try a recipe from the gals at Mennonite Girls Can Cook! Their Cinnamon Bun Class 101 looked simple enough. I'd just cut the recipe in half, make a couple of slight alterations in the dough and use a lemon filling.

Over the years, I've found that most canned lemon pie filling isn't really that lemony. The filling from a mix makes more than I generally need at any one time. I wasn't up to doing a lemon filling from scratch - way to much work! Luckily, I've found a bulk style lemon pie filling at a local bulk food store that is full of tangy lemon flavour! I've been using it in other recipes over the last year or two and thought it would be perfect for these rolls!

The first time I made these, I took some samples to friends for taste testing. They thought they were some of the best treats they'd ever had! Admittedly, these aren't quite as light or flaky as what I recall from my childhood but I gotta say - these are a might tasty! These are a delicious treat any time of year but especially appropriate for a spring or Easter treat!

Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

dn's Lemon Rolls

1 lemon (zest for dough and juice for the icing)
1 Tablespoon instant/quick rise yeast              
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 large eggs (allow to adjust to room temperature before beginning)                             
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons white sugar                           
1/2 cup milk, scalded        
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine (brick style not soft style in tub)     
1/4 cup cold water  
1 1/4 - 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour        
1 cup lemon pie filling (see notes at end of recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
1 cup confectioner's/icing sugar

Combine the yeast with the cup of whole wheat flour.

Wash and dry the lemon. Zest the lemon. A good sized lemon should give about 1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoon of zest if you take it almost to the white pith. Don't worry if it is a bit more or less just add what you get! Add the zest to the yeast/flour mixture and combine. Set aside.

Juice the lemon and set aside for making the icing.

Heat or scald milk and salt, adding butter and stirring to melt. Add cold water to cool slightly. The liquids should be hot but not so hot that you can't hold your pinky in there. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar well.

Slowly add very warm liquids to egg mixture, stirring all the time.

Add the flour/yeast/zest combo and mix well with liquids. Add the all purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating with hook attachment or stirring each in while using a wooden spoon or a mixing fork.

Knead for several minutes, until smooth and elastic-like.
Cover lightly with clean tea towel and plastic. Let rise for 60 - 90 minutes. (until double in size)

Loosen along sides to deflate the dough and knead gently just to remove air.

On floured surface, shape dough into rectangular shape with hands. With a rolling pin, roll out to about 12 X 18 inches. Spread evenly with the lemon pie filling.

Roll up jelly roll style, cut into thick slices and place on parchment paper lined pan. You should get 12-15 rolls.

Cover loosely with the tea towel and plastic and rise for 60 minutes. Bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes while you prepare the icing.
Icing / Frosting:
Melt 1 1/2 Tablespoons margarine and mix into 1 cup confectioner's/icing sugar. Combine to a crumb like consistency. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice - 1 teaspoon or so at a time - to desired spreading consistency. If you ice them when completely cooled off, the frosting can be quite thin, if you ice them while warm, the icing should be thicker. About 1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoon or so lemon juice for a thick spread - a bit more for a thinner one. I generally ice mine while still warm.

These are best served fresh and warm. However, I have reheated them - 1 or 2 at a time in the microwave for about 12 seconds. I haven't tried freezing these as they don't last long enough!

You could easily use all white flour or a combination of flours for this recipe. Just note that the more whole wheat or heavier flours you use, that this will slow down the rising process and the lighter consistency of the finished roll.

From start to serving can take about 3 1/2 hours including mixing, rising and baking. I haven't tried using traditional yeast that has to be proofed but I'd imagine you could adapt a traditional cinnamon bun recipe to this by adding the lemon zest to the dough and having more pie filling on hand. Just allow 1 lemon and 1 cup pie filling for every 12-15 buns that the original recipe makes.

The lemon pie filling from a can does not tend to be as lemony tasting as what I have found at a local bulk food store, The boxed mix takes more time/effort and makes more than you will need. Another advantage of the type I buy is that it is delicious spread on loaves, scones, as a cake filling or any number of other dishes. It keeps well in the fridge for several weeks.



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