Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Early Grey Sweet Rolls with Cherry and White Chocolate

Our family has expanded yet again. Yesterday marked four years to the day since my aunt's cousin immigrated here with her husband and son from Israel. Since that time they have had a daughter, who will be turning two at the end of July, and now her brother and his family have immigrated as well. I thought it only fair to properly greet the new additions to the family with some baked goods.

A few months ago my friend had asked me if I ever tried baking with Earl Grey tea before, too which I replied that I had not. Since that time the idea was in the back of my mind but I honestly hadn't given it much thought until yesterday. I found this recipe for a sweet roll that incorporates Earl Grey tea within the dough. The original recipe called for a combination of fresh raspberries and white chocolate but I didn't have any raspberries on hand so I substituted some frozen cherries instead.

I baked the rolls in the afternoon and later that evening brought them with me to the park as I met the new family members. They were extremely nice and appreciate of the gesture, commenting that they especially enjoyed that the rolls were not overly sweet. We spent a nice evening together with the kids playing on the playground before we parted our separate ways. I was so pleased to have met them and look forward to the future occasions and celebrations we will share together.

Earl Grey Sweet Rolls with Cherry and White Chocolate

For the dough:
  • 1 package (8 grams) yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 4 cups flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Earl Grey tea bags 
  1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and a ½ cup of warm water. Set aside to sit and foam.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg, 2 tablespoons of oil and ¾ cup of warm water. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift 4 cups of flour with sugar, salt, tea powder and whisk everything together.
  4. Make a well in the center. Pour in your yeast and egg mixtures and using a wooden spoon, stir until roughly combined.
  5. Dump your dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead for 5-10 minutes (you may have to lightly flour your surface again if your dough becomes too tacky). Once the dough starts to feel smooth, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warm area or in a turned off oven and let rise for an hour to an hour and a half, until the dough has doubled in size. 
For the filling:
Note: You can substitute any fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or cherries. If using frozen fruit, make sure to not thaw and pulse a few times in the food processor so the pieces aren't too big. Then add 1 tbsp corn starch to the fruit before spreading on the dough.
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, chopped into pieces
To assemble:
  1. Once the dough has risen, roll out into a 10" x 18" rectangle.
  2. Scatter dough evenly with sugar, white chocolate chips and fruit. Be sure to leave the top inch of your dough free of any toppings so you are able to seal your roll.
  3. Starting at the bottom, begin to roll up the dough and berries using firm pressure. Seal the border using a light coating of water. 
  4. Cut the rolls about 1-1½" thick (depending on how many you want to make).
  5. Place the rolls, cut side down, in an 11" x 13" well-greased or parchment-lined baking dish. (I actually cut my rolls to be about 1" thick and was able to make 18 all together, putting 9 into two different pans). Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another half hour.
  6. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. 
For the glaze:
Optional but I would highly recommend as it is delicious and adds a great final touch.
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk or cream (depending on how thin or thick you want the glaze to be)
  1. In the last few minutes while the rolls are finishing baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk/cream until a smooth mixture comes together.
  2. As soon as the rolls are ready, coat them with the glaze immediately. If there is enough left (or you can make some extra) glaze them again in 5 minutes.

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