Sunday, 2 January 2011
persimmon rolly buns
I impulse bought many persimmons. I couldn't help it. They were perfectly ripe, and calling out to me, and really, really cheap. Soooo... persimmon rolls, anyone? On the weekends when I am home (or sometimes even when I'm at other people's houses and they don't mind me taking over the kitchen), I make rolly buns for breakfast. I have a made-up (and deeply silly) song that I sing while I make them. Every week is different (both the song and the buns), and I usually just make 'em up (both the song and the buns) as I go along. Anything, really: green tea, almond, red bean, pear, aniseed-fig, pumpkin, chestnut, date, olives and herbs, smoked tofu... nothing is safe from my rolly-bun plots and schemes. This week, it's persimmon. And because I love y'all, I actually wrote down the recipe as I went along.
I love persimmons, but I don't usually like persimmon bread. These fruits are so sweet and delicate, it seems overwhelming to add sugar to them, and then weigh them down with piles of oil. These buns are light and chewy, and the cherries make things interesting without falling into the realm of sticky-sweetness. You can easily substitute coffee for the tea, if you've only got coffee on hand. In that case, I'd recommend using cinnamon, or even a sprinkle of grated chocolate, in place of the rosewater. You could also add grated apple to the buns... just spread it on the dough along with the cherries if you want.
2 1/2 ww spelt flour
3/4 c chickpea flour (or soy flour)
1 tbs gluten powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbs assam tea leaves
1 tbs instant yeast
pulp from 5 very ripe persimmons (big ones)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried sour cherries (or 1/2c dried cherries and 1/2c walnut pieces)
soy or almond milk
Mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredient. Stir until you have a dough but don't bother kneading it. This will be a wet dough, and look more like a quickbread than a yeasted bread at this point. Cover with a clean dishcloth and leave to rise in a cool place overnight. For those of you who live in countries where it's actually warm, or have discovered the wonder of central heating and insulation, you may want to put the dough in the fridge.
The next morning, dump out your dough on a heavily floured surface. Knead briefly to incorporate enough flour that the dough holds together. This will be anywhere from 1/2 to 1.5 cups of extra flour. Roll into a rectangle. Mine was smaller than a standard rectangular cookie sheet, but just. I usually roll my dough out on a silicone baking mat, which saves me having to wash the countertop afterwards. Plus, then I know that to make 4-6 buns, I need a square of dough that just barely fits on the mat. See? Easy peasy. The important thing is that the dough should be about as thick as your thumb. Brush with rosewater and then sprinkle with cherries (the rectangle of dough, not yourself, unless you have extra rosewater and cherries). Roll up the dough so that you end up with the shorter, fatter cylinder rather than the longer, skinnier one (though you could always make tiny buns by ignoring me here). You can either make 4 ginormous buns, or 6 normal size ones, depending on where you stand on eating baked goods that are larger than your head. Personally, I find that eating anything larger than my head is a bad idea. Place rolly buns in a greased pan that you have then sprinkled with cornmeal (or flour), brush with soy or almond milk, and let sit for 30-40 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to damn hot (250C). When the oven is hot, put a metal cup of water in there, and then your buns. Disarm the fan assist if you have one. Learn from my mistakes (and burnt rolly buns). Bake at high heat for 10 mins, then drop the heat to 180C, and bake for another 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of your buns). When you take the buns out of the oven, brush them again with milk spiked with a bit of rosewater. Let cool for a few minutes, and then gently extract them from the pan. These are a real treat if you eat them still warm, and hold up well to toasting the next day.
singing: the rolly bun song. You'll just have to make up your own when you cook them. Go on. You know you want to.