Friday, September 25, 2009

Longing for Autumn-Sticky Buns

As I look out my window I see a gray and overcast sky. It has been raining (finally) for days now and the hot Texas sun has been replaced with cool drizzle and a slight breeze. Should I be happy that this is a sign of a Texas Fall? Growing up in Texas I didn't realize that our autumn ran parallel to what many consider an Indian Summer. It really isn't that impressive of a season.

I didn't know what a *real* autumn was until three years ago. My husband and I moved to Idaho and by mid September we were greeted with true autumnal beauty. The forest roads were lined with shimmering golden aspen trees that delicately danced in the wind atop white bases. Vibrant red trees bled from the small western range that lined the city. Porches were decorated with pumpkins and orange, purple and russet colored chrysanthemums grace the steps to the front door. And the wind. The wind was brisk, crisp and carried a chill to remind us that the first snowfall would soon be near. In that moment I fell in love with autumn.

I love seasonal autumn fare as well. And there is nothing like waking up on a brisk morning and have these warm, gooey, scrumptious sticky buns meet your fingertips. The first time I made these it was love at first bite. Sweet, sticky, gooey, soft and crunchy all rolled into one (literally).

This recipe comes from Foster's Market located in Durham, NC. I use her refrigerator roll recipe as suggested and am tempted to use my grandmother's roll recipe instead. I tweaked it by soaking the raisins in rum. My godmother makes the sticky and uses Pillsbury's cinnamon rolls for a quick shortcut. Either way its done, its guaranteed to be finger lickin' good.

Foster's Market's Killer Pecan Sticky Buns

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ recipe Granny Foster's Refrigerator Rolls (recipe follows)
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup honey
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a deep 9-inch round glass baking dish with the softened butter and set aside.

3. Remove the refrigerator roll dough from the refrigerator, punch it down, cover loosely with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Combine the raisins andrum in a bowl and set aside to soak 20 to 30 minutes, until plumped.

5. Stir together the cinnamon, ½ cup of the brown sugar, and the butter in a separate bowl and set aside.

6. Stir together the remaining brown sugar, the honey, and the pecans in a separate bowl. Spread this mixture evenly in the bottom of the glass baking dish and set aside.

7. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12 by 6-inch rectangle about ⅛ inch thick. Spread the brown sugar-butter mixture evenly over the center of the dough, leaving about 1 inch of exposed dough all the way around. Drain the raisins and sprinkle them over the brown sugar-butter mixture.

yield: about one dozen

Granny Foster's Refrigerator Rolls
yield:2 1/2-3 dozen rolls

½ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
One ¼-ounce package active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted

1. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

2. Place the warm water, yeast, and about 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl; stir once or twice just to mix. Let stand in a warm place for 5 or 7 minutes, until small bubbles form on top.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the butter, milk, salt, and remaining sugar and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Do not let the mixture go over 115 degrees or it will kill the yeast; it should be just warm enough for the sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a large bowl.

4. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture and stir until combined. Stir in about 6 cups of the flour and mix until the mixture forms a soft dough. Add the remaining flour if the dough is still sticky.

5. Remove the mixture from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured work surface 5 to 8 times, until dough forms a ball or comes together.

6. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl; cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough has doubled in bulk.

7. Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Place the pieces on a work surface and cover loosely with a tea towel or an inverted bowl and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use at this point. Remove from the refrigerator and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes, then proceed as the recipe directs.)

8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

9. Working with a piece of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface until ¾ to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2½-inch round biscuit cutter.

10. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and let rise 20 to 25 minutes more, until the rolls have doubled in bulk. (It may take 10 to 15 minutes longer for dough to rise if it has been refrigerated.) Brush the tops lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining dough.

11. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm Your Huckleberry (Crisp)

Before I moved to Idaho the extent of my huckleberry knowledge included Huckleberry Hound, Huckleberry Finn and the infamous Tombstone line "I'm your huckleberry." Growing up in the south the image of a blue dog with a southern drawl, a young boy setting afloat on the Mississippi or Val Kilmer's "Doc" (still looking rather handsome despite the tuberculosis) is what one would imagine before thinking of an actual berry. We know of and probably have picked blueberries and dewberries, but not huckleberries.

I came across the actual berry at the South East Idaho Farmers Market one crisp early autumn day. Amongst the mounds of potatoes, trailers of gourds, squash and pumpkins sat a tiny table displaying a mass of mason jars glistening with berries. It caught my attention. They resembled the blueberry but were darker and smaller. The taste was similar to a blueberry as well, but had a unique astringency to it. Intrigued, I bought a jar and ended up making this peach and huckleberry crisp.

Peach and Huckleberry Crisp
adapted from : Ina Garten

  • 4 to 5 ripe large peaches
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 1/2 c. plus 1/8 c. cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups plus 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup huckleberries
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 10 inch round baking dish. Cut a small X just through the skin of the peaches.
  • Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water. Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl.
  • Add the orange zest, 1/8 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 tablespoons of flour. Toss well.
  • Gently mix in the huckleberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
  • If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Crumb Topping

  • Combine 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly.
  • Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches and huckleberries.
  • Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.