Strawberry Lemon Breakfast Rolls

Note: Sorry I've fallen off schedule.  We had a rather long trip to visit family, and I was ridiculous and left my computer in Denver, so we were separated for almost a week.  But tomorrow I'm starting back up with the international cooking tomorrow, and will hopefully keep the ball rolling!

These Strawberry Lemon Rolls are to summer what cinnamon rolls are to winter.  The first are bright, happy flavors that scream of lazy days and sunshine, and the latter are gooey, comforting carb fests to warm up the bleakest, greyest of mornings.  

So!  Now that winter is behind us and summer lies before us, here's what you need to make your seasonal menu transitions happen.  I'm guessing your wardrobe switch happened a long time ago.

These would be perfect for a Mother's Day brunch menu (no really, I'm a mom, so I would know), and you can make the brioche and filling the day before so  all that's required is a quick roll, fill, and bake in the morning.  Don't let the number of steps scare you-- it's really and truly easy enough to not add stress to an already busy day.

Peter Reinhart's middle class brioche recipe is my go-to.  He was my first introduction to the world of artisanal breads, and his recipes are reliable and (mostly) straightforward.  Some time may be required, but they are accessible and doable.  But!  I did cut the recipe in half for these rolls, because when you're filling butter-laden dough with more butter and sugared fillings, things get rich fast and a little goes a long way. 

Oh, and how fun and brunchy (is that a word?  My dictionary doesn't think so) is it to keep the icing to the side for dipping?  I mean, you can drizzle if you want, but a communal dipping dish is so much more friendly, and will definitely bring people together for eating.  

Just look at it this way-- show up with these, and you could be Mom's favorite.  Winning.

Strawberry Lemon Brioche

Makes 12 small rolls

Sponge

  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, lukewarm (90° to 100° F)

Dough

  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature

Combine all the sponge ingredients and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, of until very foamy and puffy.

Once the sponge is ready, add the eggs and egg yolk into the mixture and whisk in by hand or beat with mixer on medium until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt, and stir or beat on low until all of the ingredients are combined.

Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so that the gluten can begin developing.  Then, add the softened butter a half stick at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined.  Continue mixing for about 5 more minutes, or until dough is soft and smooth, but still somewhat sticky.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and spray with oil, and spread the dough out until in a rectangle about 6 x 8 inches.  Place on oiled plastic wrap and wrap tightly with another sheet of greased wrap.  Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Strawberry Filling

  • 1/2 lb. strawberries, washed and diced finely
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

For Rolling

  • 2 Tbsp. soft butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Icing

  • 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Combine strawberries and sugar in a small pan and allow to sit for 7-10 minutes, or until juices begin to form in the bottom.  Add the lemon zest and juice.  Stir together cornstarch and water and add to berries.  Mix into berries thoroughly and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so that the cornstarch doesn't form lumps.  Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, or until the juices are no longer cloudy and translucent.  Allow to cool, or refrigerate overnight.

When ready to make the rolls, preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and working quickly, roll on well-floured surface until it measures about 10 x 20 inches.  Spread with 2 Tbsp. soft butter and sprinkle the sugar over it.  Spoon the strawberry filling onto the dough, making sure that berries are evenly distributed.

Roll as tightly as possible along the long side and cut into 1.5" sections with a very sharp knife or unflavored floss.  Place in a greased 9"x9", leaving some space between to rise.  Allow to rise until dough is slightly puffy and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with icing on the side, or drizzle over the top.