Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Rolls

Do not look for the full Thanksgiving dinner in this blog. Those recipes, for the turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, were cooked 30 years ago. I believe I have made every single stuffing or "dressing" as they call it in the Midwest, recipe in this cookbook. In fact, the only recipe for turkey is Roast Oregon Turkey with sausage dressing, and I made that before I started putting dates next to the recipes. It just has a check mark.
I do remember Thanksgiving of what must have been 1978, when Bob and I lived in a huge, cheap apartment on Q Street in Georgetown. I was working on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and we had turkey and oyster stuffing. This was before Bob became allergic to shellfish.
Anyhow, this is strictly side dish land. I suppose, if it was going to be truly useful to the general public, I would have made my entire Thanksgiving dinner two weeks early just to blog about it. However, this is not the food section of The Washington Post. Thanksgiving dinner gets made on Thanksgiving. Also, I don't have that many readers.
When I planned the menu, I went through the cookbook asking Bob, my husband, if I could make various dishes. His response was invariably, "Make anything you want." Well, this was not exactly true, because I wanted to jettison the traditional beans cooked for a million years in favor of greens. He said okay to the greens, but somehow the beans cooked for a million years ended up still on the menu. Which was actually not such a bad thing because I never got around to the greens in the frenzy of rolls, appetizer, stuffing, yams, etc.
Well, Pumpkin Rolls were a huge success. In spite of the fact that people were probably trying to moderate their intake, and two of the guests had been to a Thanksgiving dinner previously, the diners fell upon them with glad cries and began buttering like crazy.
This is a day before recipe, which I did not read through, so thus did not begin to make the day before, as instructed. We rolled out of bed about 9:00, ate a leisurely breakfast and got to work. I started the rolls first, got the dough going and popped them into a crowded refrigerator. We invited people for 4:30 and ate around 5:30 so they probably rose about 4-5 hours. Especially if you were making the rolls for evening dinner as opposed to a midday Thanksgiving dinner, you could begin them the day you intended to eat them.
Not starting them the day before was not a problem. The dough rose in the refrigerator, I divided it into 32 equal portions, and it rose again outside the refrigerator. The rolls were a lovely deep yellow color from the pumpkin and they baked in less time than called for by the recipe. I was sitting in the living room chatting with the guests when I suddenly started to smell a burning smell. It came from one pan of rolls that were on a bottom shelf. Don't try to bake stuff on the bottom shelf. It seems to burn. People ate them nonetheless, and we foisted off the leftover burnt ones on our son and daughter-in-law the lawyers. This is a great recipe. You should definitely make this for next year's Thanksgiving dinner, or a fall harvest festival dinner, should you be hosting one.

Pumpkin Rolls

1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, scalded
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted shortening
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
5 cups flour
melted butter

1. Day before, combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt and milk in a large bowl and beat until smooth and lukewarm.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the lukewarm mixture. Add the shortening and lemon rind and mix well.
3. Add about half the flour and beat until batter is smooth. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Mix well with the hands or a wooden spoon. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Cover dough with waxed paper and a towel and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Next day, shape the dough by dividing into thirty-two equal portions. For cloverleaf rolls, make three balls out of each portion and drop into greased medium-size muffin tins. The dough may be made into other shapes if desired.
5. Brush the top of the rolls with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about one and one-quarter hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Bake rolls twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until done. Brush with melted butter and cool on a rack. Makes thirty-two.

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