Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Pale orange in hue with pecan slivers for stems, these tender, subtly-spiced Pumpkin Dinner Rolls make for a great snack or dinner accompaniment. Makes 32 3-inch rolls
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar plus a pinch, divided
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
- dash cayenne powder
- 3/4 cups milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 16 large pecan halves sliced lengthwise
- Combine water, yeast, and a pinch of brown sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Crumble saffron into the melted butter, and then add the curry powder, ginger, and cayenne. Remove from heat and add milk, pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add egg and mix well.
- Add contents of the saucepan to the yeast mixture along with 2 cups of the flour. Add remaining flour, about a half a cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding more. The dough will be very sticky.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the dough into the greased bowl, flipping it to coat the entire surface with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Assembly and Baking
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 32 evenly-sized pieces. Working a few at a time, roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch rope on an unfloured surface. Before shaping, lightly dust ropes with flour, and then, with floured hands, turn each one a pumpkin.
- Create a small loop in the rope with a long tail on one side and a short tail on the other.
- Wrap the long tail around the edge of the loop 2-to-3 times.
- Hold the remaining end of the long tail on the bottom-side of the loop with a finger to keep it from unraveling as you continue to work.
- Wrap the other tail around the edge of the loop, tucking it through the center of the loop.
- Pinch both of the ends together where they meet on the bottom side of the loop.
- If you're not happy with the look of any of the rolls, simply set them aside for about 10 to 15 minutes and reshape.
- Place finished rolls on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 10 minutes.
- Just before baking, brush rolls with an egg wash for a shiny look or butter for a matte finish.
- Insert a sliced pecan into the center of each roll, pressing so the pecan touches the pan.
- In an oven preheated to 400° F, bake rolls for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Rolls should be golden brown and gently firm to the touch.
- If not serving right away, shorten the baking time by several minutes and finish baking right before eating.