Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recipe: Quince and Hazelnut Rolls

One of the many things I love about living in Canberra is our four seasons. Each one has its own feel, its own scent, its own tastes. To me, there is nothing quite like the distinct scent of a pot of poaching quince to make it feel like Autumn has arrived.

Quince are available for just a few weeks, so this year I've been super busy poaching up multiple pots and freezing them. I think they are rather magical in the way they go from hard, white unappitising lumps to tender, ruby red deliciousness after a few hours in the oven. Quince on porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts and this plan will have me enjoying them for months to come. But having such a bounty has also inspired me to make use of my quince in some baking.

These quince and hazelnut rolls are my take on the traditional American cinnamon roll with a bread base instead of puff pastry like a french scroll. In this case I've used a brioche type bread, sweet, dense and best of all you make it the night before, let it rest in the fridge overnight and just bung it in the oven in the morning. It means you can arrive at the office with a tray of fresh rolls looking like a champion or have a morning tea without stress or fuss.

A couple of notes, if you don't love cinnamon, you might want to halve the amount, these are definitely VERY cinnamony. The dough is very soft, so be gentle with it and use plenty of extra flour on the bench, your hands and roller when rolling it out. If your quince like mine live in the fridge in their poaching liquid, drain them well and dry them off as best you can with paper towel. Finally I've used vanilla paste in the glaze. It is awesome stuff but if you don't have it a teaspoon vanilla extract will give you the flavour.

Quince and Hazelnut Rolls

¼ cup warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
½ cup warm milk
3 eggs lightly beaten
170g butter, melted
3 ½  + ½ cup plain flour

80g butter, softened almost to melting
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup hazelnut meal
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
About half a poached quince, drained and finely diced

1 ½ cups icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
50g hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed and roughly chopped

Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a large mixer bowl and let sit for a few minutes or until frothy.

Add the warm milk, eggs and melted butter and mix until combined. Gradually mix in 3 ½ cups of flour until the dough comes together.  Sprinkle the remaining half cup of flour on the bench, add the dough and kneed into a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and and place the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm location for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Mix the brown sugar, hazelnut meal and cinnamon together.

Lightly dust a surface with flour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll into a large rectangle (about 20x60cm). Spread the very soft butter evenly over the dough. Spread the brown sugar mix evenly over the butter leaving a 2cm boarder on one long edge and dot all over with the diced quince. Starting with the other long edge carefully roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal.

Place the log seam side down, cut off the ends so that the roll is even and cut the log into 12 even slices. Place in a buttered 25x32cm (or similar) baking dish – they should fill the dish and be touching. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, brush the tops with melted butter and bake at 180oC 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile mix together the icing sugar, vanilla paste and milk a tablespoon at a time until it forms a thick but spoonable paste. Drizzle half the mix over the hot rolls, then sprinkle over the hazelnuts and drizzle the remaining mix over to glue them on.

Allow to cool in the dish and serve just warm or at room temperature.

Best on the day they are baked.

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