As many breads that I might have baked with We Knead to Bake, I usually land up blogging about just a few. I have so many recipes lined up, a result of all my experimentations, that despite my best intentions, some of them keep getting pushed back. My last bread with this group was a delicious orange and cinnamon swirl bread. As I finished writing my post, I realised I had deleted all the photographs sans two. So that post went into my draft waiting for a time when I will bake this bread again so I could shoot more pictures. So this month, when I had yet another bread bursting with the flavour of oranges, I had to hurry up and post before I did something disastrous again.
Can you see that delicious zest of orange peeking from every roll? That was not all. I had raisins soaked in orange juice (I added the left over soaking liquid to the bread dough). But let me start at the beginning. These buttery rolls, Maritozzi con la Panna, are Italian breakfast staples, usually served filled with freshly whipped cream as the name suggests. (though how anyone can consume all that cream early in the morning is beyond me). They are sweet, and soft with the citrus notes lending a brightness making the morning meal feel special. They taste best, fresh, slightly warm (in which case, go without the cream). If you wish to serve it with cream, let the rolls cool, fill with the cream and serve at once.
I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I left out the egg (I avoid it if I can) because the dough contained enough butter and sugar to make it a super rich dough. I added the left over orange juice in which the raisins were soaking (I hate to waste stuff) and used a little more orange juice instead of water to make the glace. The orange had been zested and had to be used up anyway. The few pieces left over belonged to the baker. She needs energy to continue to experiment!
I love citrus and in breads, it is delicious. Thrown in some roasted pine-nuts and it is lip-smacking! You could go ahead and use walnuts in the place of Pine-nuts and lemons or limes instead of orange. Dust it with some sugar and as you try to breathe in the aroma of the oranges you could find the cloud of sugar tickling your nose and leaving you with a sugar mustache. If after experimenting with this, you still have a few rolls left, do try it with some whipped cream. Almost reminiscent of the English cream tea, the soft whipped cream make this a breakfast indulgence. You could reinforce the orange flavour by adding a little zest to the cream.
1 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
50 gms Soft Butter
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tbs Pine-nuts roasted
1/8 cup raisins soaked in a few tablespoons of warm orange juice
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Salt
For the Glace
2 Tbs Orange juice
2 Tbs sugar
Mix and boil together until sugar dissolves and forms a syrup
Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting
Whipped Cream with a touch of sugar for filling the buns (you will require about 2 to 3 Tbs per bun)
1. Mix yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, warm milk and 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl until smooth. Cover and set aside for about 20 minutes to half hour until double and bubbly. This is your starter or sponge.
2.Now add the remaining flour, sugar, butter, salt, raisins, pine nuts, vanilla and knead to form a soft dough. I needed more liquid and added the left over orange juice.
3. Place in a bowl and loosely cover with a plastic wrap until double. Since this is a rich dough it could take an hour and half to two.
4. Gently de-gas the dough and divide into 6 portions.
5. Roll each portion into a smooth ball, flatten into a circle and roll up to form even sized rolls. Seal the seams.
6. Place on a lined baking tray giving it enough room to expand.
7. Cover with a plastic wrap and allow for second rise (about 30 minutes) until almost double
8. Pre-heat oven to 200C and bake for about 20 minutes until golden.
9. Brush the prepared syrup (You can make this while the rolls are baking) on the hot rolls.
10. You could wait for the rolls to cool and dust with sugar.
11. As a further option, cut the cooled rolls from the top 3/4th way down. Fill with the whipped cream and serve at once.
A pastry typical of the Lazio region of Italy, the pine nut and raisin dotted Maritozzi are supposedly a Lenten bread from the Middle Ages. It seems this was the only sweet thing they allowed themselves during the period of religious fasting. Some regions of Italy still make these buns during Lent as slightly larger loaves without the cream and these are called Maritozzi Quaresimali (Roman Lent Buns). The story goes that Maritozzi get their name from the Italian word for marriage which is “marito”. One version says that according to local custom, Maritozzi were prepared by young women in Lazio who would bring them to the village piazza with hopes of attracting the attention of future husbands. Another version contends that it was the men of Lazio who gifted these pastries to their fiancées, baked in the shape of a heart, as a proof of love. Heart shaped or not, do pass the love around.