As I might have mentioned in a couple of places, I am not very good at baking stuff that involves yeast. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy baking breads or other yeast delights. I very much wish to be good at it. So in the pursuit of achieving greatness (ahem!) in bread baking, I had joined Aparna’s We Knead To Bake group on FB quite a while back. But being who I am, managed not to get involved or put in efforts into baking the monthly bread to fulfill what i had actually joined the group for and became a silent spectator of all the different breads she would post every month. I did bake a couple of breads but didn’t write a post about it. So here is my first blog post for the WKTB group.
So for the month of June, the chosen bread was Maritozzi Con La Panna or Roman Cream Buns. Fancy name huh? Don’t you wanna repeat the name over and over? They are originally soft buns speckled with toasted pine nuts, enriched with the addition of Orange zest, peels & juice and they are split and served with whipped cream. Maritozzi are typically had for breakfast in and around Rome. Imagine having whipped cream for breakfast!?! I would love to move to Rome just for this I would never have this in the morning..
Aparna’s recipe includes raisins soaked in orange juice, candied orange peel and toasted pine nuts, all of which are used traditionally as mentioned, but I haven’t used them. I’m sure they aid in elevating these gorgeous buns to another level. Hopefully I will make them soon with these additions. I did however, replace the orange zest with some lemon zest. But the lemoney freshness didnt come through in the flavor, Maybe I should have added more. Just a point to remember- glaze the buns while they are hot, the moment they are out of the oven. I served these up with some coffee flavoured whipped cream. But unfortunately the whipped cream Gods were not with me that day and I didnt get stiff peaks with my whipping cream, but it tasted good, so what the heck, we had it just like that- it is cream after all 😛 You can also serve these buns without the cream or with some icing sugar dusted on top.. No matter how you eat it, they are so soft and yumm, you might not stop with one 🙂
For the Buns:
Instant Yeast – 1 & 1/2 Tsp
Warm Milk – 1/2 Cup
All Purpose Flour – 1 & 3/4 Cup (Extra for dusting)
Sugar – 1/4 Cup
Egg – 1
Butter – 50g, at room temp
Vanilla Extract – 1/2 Tsp
A Pinch of Salt
For the Glaze:
Water – 3 Tblsp
Sugar – 3 Tblsp
For the Filling:
Mix the yeast, warm milk, 1 Tsp of the sugar and 1/2 Cup of the flour in a large bowl to create a smooth paste (The milk should be warm to touch- neither too hot- it might kill the yeast, nor lukewarm- the yeast might not get activated. So the temperature is very important). This is known as the starter. Set it aside for half an hour.
Take this starter, 1 cup of flour, salt, the egg, remaining sugar, butter and vanilla extract in the bowl of your stand mixer or processor and knead until the dough is soft, smooth and not sticky.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour (or more liquid) ONLY if required to bring the dough to this consistency.
You can also do this by hand. Knead for about 10 mins, you will feel the dough transform under your hands.
Dust a large bowl with some flour and keep the dough in it. Loosely cover it and let it rise for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.
When the time is up, the dough should have doubled in size. Take it out and lightly knead the dough. Divide it into 6-8 equal portions. (I got 7).
I don’t know how else to explain the shaping, so I am quoting from Aparna’s recipe here: Roll each into a smooth ball and then flatten it out into a circle with your fingers. Roll up the circle, jelly/ Swiss roll style and seal the seam. Shape into an oval ad pace on a lined baking sheet leaving enough space between the rolls for them to expand when they rise.