Christmas as Soul Therapy
How do you visualize your Christmas holidays? The day is approaching and all I can think about is the reminiscence of warmth, comfort and leisure these days evoke. Christmas is a state of mind in reality, because probably our own real world is far from that idea, maybe with the pressure of reaching deadlines or not having finally been done with the Christmas shopping. The important thing though is to keep the love and merriment spirit as your state of mind, that way all your happenings during the holidays will be guided by these beautiful sentiments.
I have been thinking like a chipmunk during the last two days, storing foods for cooking and snacking for the days following Christmas, because I want to live up to that state of mind I was talking about, cuddling up with my family and taking a break from what has been for us a year very…volatile. Yep, that’s the word! Different from other years, we have had so many changes during this one that I have really been stroked a little bit. Change is always an exciting thing, but at the moment it’s just that, change. For good or for worse. It’s your leap of faith that transforms it into an exciting new opportunity. So really looking forward for you 2016!
This recipe will help me fulfill my wish, at least for the breakfast portion of it. I have been working with this recipe for a while now and I am more than happy that finally the outcome was exactly what I wanted, in time for Christmas. These are not just sticky buns, these are Mallorca bread sticky buns. Mallorcas are Puerto Rico’s national pastry bread. They are big and custardy, thanks to all the egg yolks in the dough. You could find them in every bakery shop, topped with an insanely amount of powdered sugar. My favorite is when used as a regular bread to make a grilled cheese. But I will talk more about mallorcas and island traditions in a future post. For now I can tell you that in this recipe you will be savoring the stickiness and gooeyness of a sticky bun, but instead of a dense and drier crumb, you will enjoy a custardy and buttery one.
This will be my last recipe for 2015. I wish you have a wonderful Christmas with family, friends and loved ones. And truly wish you a blessed 2016, with a nice kick off and full of good things for you lives. Hope that anything that you are visualizing for yourself does come true! ; )
1. In this recipe it’s more important than ever to use dry measuring cups for dry ingredients and the liquids measuring cup for wet ingredients.
2. Also important to press tightly and level your dry ingredients when measuring them.
3. Even though it could sound odd to add some water in the middle of the kneading process, I have found this relaxes the dough, at least in this recipe, yielding a very soft crumb with long strands.
4. My home is always around 68°, so I found using a throw blanket to warm the dough was very effective.
5. You definitely can make ahead this recipe if you are planning it for breakfast, so you can make everything to the point where the buns rise, then store in the fridge to bake the next day. Let them drop the cold for a few minutes before baking.
6. You could omit completely the rum to hydrate the cherries, just use them like that.
7. Remember to roll always in one direction from any side.
Mallorca sticky buns
9 to 10 rolls
Total time – 3 to 3½ hours, including time for rising the doughActive time – 20 minutes for prepping the dough, filling and topping; 10 minutes for making the rolls
Equipment – Stand mixer with the hook attachment, 8” or 9” square or round pan, measuring cups, rolling pin
Instant yeast – 1 envelope
Unbleached all purpose – 2 ½ cups
Raw sugar – 3 TBSP
Egg yolks – 4
Milk – ½ cup
Unsalted butter, softened and in pieces – 8 TBSP
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp
Purified or filtered water – ¼ cup
Dark rum (optional) – 3 TBSP
Dried cherries – ½ cup
Unsalted butter, softened – 5 TBSP
Raw sugar – ¼ cup
Ground cinnamon – 1 ½ Tsp
Unbleached all purpose flour – 1 TBSP
Unsalted butter – 3 TBSP
Dark brown sugar – 1 cup
Honey – 4 TBSP
Pecans, chopped – ¾ to 1 cup
Powdered sugar (optional) – to dust on top
For the dough: Place the instant yeast and the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix for 30 seconds to 1 minute to distribute the yeast evenly. Add the sugar, egg yolks and milk and mix in low speed (#2 in the Kitchenaid mixer) and mix for 5 minutes. Add the salt, let it incorporate with the rest of the ingredients, then add the butter a few pieces at a time, incorporating each addition before adding more. Continue mixing for 10 minutes more, then add the ¼ cup of water. The dough will appear broken, but let it mix for 15 to 20 minutes more, until you see the dough appears even in texture and has a muted yellow color. Stop the mixer and push the dough off the hook. Using your hands fold just enough to form a ball and press gently. Transfer it to a deep large bowl, cover with plastic paper and then cover the entire bowl with a thick towel or throw blanket. Let it rest and grow for 1 to 1½ hours, until it has doubled its size. In the meantime you can make the filling and the topping.
For the filling: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup heat the dark rum in the microwave for 30 seconds, then sink the cherries, pushing them down so they are all covered with the liquid.
In another bowl mix the softened butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour until you form a spreadable paste. Set aside.
When ready to fill the dough, strain the cherries well with a colander and let them drain for 1 minute before sprinkling them on top of the spread.
For the topping: Combine the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Heat in moderate heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, then let it cook for an extra minute. Pour the liquid on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
Putting everything together: Remove the plastic paper cover from the dough bowl and deflate the dough by softly punching it 2 or 3 times. Transfer to a clean flat surface and press it down slightly flat with your own hands, then start stretching it with a rolling pin until you get an approximately 16” x 14” rectangle (ideally the long side should end in front of you). Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut the borders to make it straight. Spread the filling evenly through the dough, then sprinkle the dried cherries on top of it. Starting from the long side, lift the dough a little bit across the edge then start rolling toward the other side. When it folds completely pinch the seam of the dough to close it. Cut the roll in pieces of 1½” approximately, placing each roll cut side down on the baking pan already filled with the topping and trying to leave ¼” between them. Cover with plastic paper and again with a thick towel or throw blanket. Let it rise until puffy and double in bulk, about 1 more hour. Preheat oven to 350°. (If baking the next day just store them in the fridge, letting them out of the for 10 minutes before placing in the already preheated oven.)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tenting the top with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking, until every roll seems cooked and a deep brown. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately to a large plate or tray. Let it cool for 20 minutes before eating. Dust with some powdered sugar for the whole mallorca experience. You may store them in an airtight container or bag for a couple of days.