Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pumpkin Paradise

I've never been a big fan of squash. In my childhood my mother fought an uphill battle to try to get me to eat healthy foods. Cooked carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower were all pushed around the plate but never actually consumed. With acorn squash she tried the classic strategy - cut in half, scoop out seeds, fill the hollow with butter and brown sugar, and bake. I loved that. At least the butter and brown sugar part. When I got to the squash that wasn't saturated with the gooey topping, I lost interest.

Once she even served spaghetti squash, telling us that it was just like spaghetti. Lie! Squash and pasta are nothing like each other. And putting spaghetti sauce on squash doesn't make it spaghetti any more than putting on lipstick and a blond wig makes me Marilyn Monroe.

I considered pumpkins as something to be carved for Halloween or made into pie for Thanksgiving. Anything else was just too...squashy tasting. My sister adores anything pumpkin flavored and I always thought this odd. I'd pass on any recipe to her that had pumpkin - pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin soup, pumpkin kabobs (wait, sorry, just having a Forrest Gump moment there)- and she'd be thrilled.

I'm not sure what changed it for me, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was looking at all the food blogs parading out pumpkin delicacies, each more enticing than the last. I gave in to the urge for pumpkin and made a pumpkin spice cake for my daughter's birthday. Well, that meant that I had leftover pumpkin. What a happy dilemma - what to choose, what to bake?

I succumbed on the same day to two different recipes. One was Peabody's beautiful Pumpkin Brioche. I saw it first on her blog, then I saw it pop up on Melinda's Online Diary, and I knew I had to have it. I made 2 large loaves and two baby loaves, fully intending to share a lot of it. Only one baby loaf made it out the door. We gobbled up one loaf and the next morning made divine French toast with the cinnamon swirl loaf. Yumm.

I'm not going to give you the recipe or directions as they're all on Peabody's site. She gives really clear, step-by-step directions so that even a novice brioche maker like me, can have a beautiful result. Thanks, Peabody!

Peabody recently bought a new house and is having a virtual open house. All invited! (It's a good thing she's got a huge virtual living room.) I am bringing these beautiful Pumpkin Streusel rolls. They are so delicious - light, flaky, not too sweet, with just overtones of pumpkin. I have had this recipe bookmarked for a long time in my Cooking Light cookbook, and this is the perfect occasion to showcase them.

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
adapted from The Best of Cooking Light

1 package dry yeast (about 2-1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 deg. F)
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbsp hot water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon 3-1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour, canned pumpkin, and next 5 ingredients to yeast mixture, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes) and add enough of the remaining flour, 1 Tbsp at a time to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. The dough will feel sticky.

2- Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 deg. F), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until dough is doubled in size. (To test readiness, press two fingers into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

3- Combine 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in chilled butter pieces with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

4- Punch dough down, cover and let rest 5 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up rectangle tightly starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place the slices in a 11x7 or 9x13-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

5- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.

6- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

7- Combine powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp water and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over buns. Serve warm. If, for some reason, not all the buns are consumed while warm, about 10 seconds in the microwave will make a bun warm and soft.

Yield: 12 buns


Anonymous said...

That Peabody has started quite the pumpkin wave through the blogs...kind of like a food blog Mexican wave!
My husband is right there with you on the pumpkin/squash front. Darn him.
I love practically all God's vegetables.
I bet this was excellent as cinnamon French toast. It is a wonderful brioche recipe.
I think, if I am invited to Peabody's house warming I will be bringing yellow cake. I am up to eyeballs in yellow cake layers at the moment. I am sure they would fly for a party! Yeah?

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

haha, how funny that you had such a strong dislike towards squash! I'm glad that the food blogging world has enabled you to see squash in a better light :0)

Peabody's culinary creations are definitely inspiring - as are yours :0)

Gigi said...

Just beautiful! I'm like your sister, I love all things pumpkin. I just baked my first loaf of bread 3 days ago! Now your pumpkin buns are calling my name and I'm answering!

kellypea said...

Funny! Peabody got me rolling as well. I saw the posts, then wanted to bake some fresh pumpkin. I made some pumpkin bread and muffins and was able to freeze the pumpkin for something else. I need to post them now. Yours looked like it turned out fabulously.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'd say these Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
deserve a super-duper big WOW
they're from Cooking Light! now that's incredible! And good!
The swirl loaf looks like I may have to have a go at that one.

Amy said...

Great post! I adore brioche french toast! So yummy! I completely agree about the pumpkin thing....I like most squash but pumpkin has never ever been a fave of mine. I do like the roasted seeds though!

Anonymous said...

I loved your cinnamon rolls and these look like another winner. I'm certainly going to have to use some of my Thanksgiving holiday to give them a whirl.

As always, thanks so much for sharing!

**doffs her cap and vanishes**

Peabody said...

Oh yum! I have been wanting to do that with the pumpkin jealous that you did...luckily you are bringing it over. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness those look fabulous! I love how you can add pumpkin to just about anything. You should really submit this recipe to Recipe4Living's Thanksgiving Contest!

Lance said...

I love the idea of adding pumpkin to sweet rolls. I think i'll end up making a baking day out of today and get to work on these two! they look delicious!

Nora B. said...

whooah! those streusel buns blew me away, Lynn! I can't go past such recipes without having a go. This has been bumped up to the top of my list. I don't have canned pumpkin, so I hope it's ok to use freshly mashed pumpkin?

And I love those cute pumpkin in the background.

Anonymous said...

Oh my mmmmmmm!!! What beautiful loaves and buns! Now I am so tempted to try this.

Anne said...

Everything here are just fantastic. The loaves are perfect.

I haven't used pumpkin in my bakes, could you actually taste the pumpkin flavor? I only get to eat pumpkin in main dishes :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Melinda - Bring the cake, for sure!

VeggieGirl - Food blogging is definitely broadening - in more than one sense of the word!

Gigi - Who can resist the siren call of cinnamon pumpkin buns?

Kellypea - Good for you. I'll be looking for your fabulous creations.

My Kitchen in Half Cups - You'd never guess from eating them that they're a "light" recipe.

Amy - Roasted pumpkin seeds are my favorite part of Halloween!

Gabe - Have a great Thanksgiving. Hope you get lots of baking in.

Peabody - I'm excited for your party. It's going to be great!

Hillary - Thanks for the tip!

Lance - I hope you had fun with the recipes.

Nora - there's a great post on using fresh pumpkin here:

eatme_delicious said...

Yum to all those pumpkin things. I've gathered so many delicious sounding pumpkin recipes recently thanks to people's blogs! :) I love the idea of a pumpkin cinnamon bun, and I had saved that pumpkin brioche when I saw it on Peabody's site too. I can't wait to try both.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I have some pumpkin puree in the freezer and this is one of the recipes I want to use it in! I love cinnamon rolls and the idea of pumpkin in them sounds delicious!