Thursday, April 09, 2009

Perfect for Easter Breakfast or Brunch

This recipe makes enough dough for two pans of sweet rolls. The first pan I made was Raspberrry Pistachio Swirl buns. They were good and pretty, too.

To use the second half of the dough, I decided to make something that has flavors similar to Hot Cross Buns. The citrus zest comes off almost like citron and the raisins combine with the pecans and brown sugar for a sweet kick. Somehow the coconut, although only 1/4 cup's worth, ties it all together.

These were so good that it was really hard to stop eating them, expecially when they were still warm from the oven!

If you double the citrus/raisin/nut mixture you can easily make two pans of sweet rolls and be ready for a crowd at Easter brunch. This dough is very easy to work with and has the richness of milk and egg. Very festive and impressive.

Spring Citrus Raisin and Nut Sweet Rolls
Makes 10 sweet rolls in each pan

6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) unsalted butter or margarine
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups - 4 cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used evaporated milk and water)
¼ cup (4 tablespoons or half stick) butter, melted and cooled
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup regular raisins
¼ cup golden raisins
zest from ½ a lemon
zest from ½ an orange
¼ cup grated coconut
½ cup pecans, chopped

Making the Dough:
Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand).

Whip in the egg and almond extract until smooth. Then add the flour, sourdough starter, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Form the sweet rolls:
Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer ½ the dough to the counter. Reserve other half of dough for another batch of rolls, or double the citrus/raisin/nut mixture and make two pans of rolls.
Using your hands, push at dough to spread it into a rectangle approximately 8 by 10 inches. Spread the rectangle with the citrus/raisin/nut mixture (see below), leaving about an inch around the edges jam free.

Citrus/Raisin/Nut mixture:
In a mixing bowl combine the butter and brown sugar. Add the regular raisins, golden raisins, coconut, lemon zest, orange zest, and chopped pecans. Stir well to completely mix the ingredients.

Shape the sweet rolls:
Roll the dough up jelly roll fashion along the long side, sealing the edges once all rolled up. Pinch the ends of the roll closed. Using a serrated knife (like a bread knife) or dental floss, cut rolls about 1 inch wide.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch diameter cake pan with sides about 3 inches high. Put 3 of the rolls in the middle and put 7 more rolls around the edges, evenly spaced, leaving some space between the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Bake the Buns:
Preheat the oven to 375°F with the oven rack in the middle shelf.
Bake the sweet rolls for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool the buns:
Cool the sweet rolls in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove the sweet rolls from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. Delicious when served warm. These rolls are sweet enough that you don’t really need to ice them.

These Spring Sweet Rolls are my entry this week in Yeastspotting event usually at Susan's wonderful blog, Wild Yeast. For a yeast lover this even is a never ending inspiration and delight. This week it's being hosted by Zorra of 1x umruhren bitte blog instead, and you can find it here.


  1. Thanks for visiting. These buns are full of my favourite flavours. They are perfect for everyday breakfast. Happy Easter.

  2. They look every bit as you've describes them...festive and very impressive :) Love the flavors. I am scared of the sourdough starter. I've heard working with them is a tricky business.

  3. Looks like you over dosed on the fruits just like I love to do! Beautiful.

  4. OMG those buns look so good and contain some of my fav flavors, especially the pistachio and raspberry! Bookmarked!

  5. Indeed very impressive rolls, and I can imagine that's hard to stop eating them.

  6. I love the coconut in these!