“Y” is for Yeasted Pear Ginger Rolls

Over the summer, I was gifted a can of local, organic pears. Since I rarely buy food in cans unless it’s tomatoes or coconut milk, that little can of pears sat in my pantry, forgotten. When I realized today’s post was going to involve yeast, I thought “Well why not use that can of pears and make some fancy-pants rolls?” So I did!

Baking with yeast is such a pleasure. The aroma of fresh breads, bagels, and rolls is mighty enticing. When I worked at a bakery, my co-workers and I would “accidentally” drop a loaf of just-out-of-the-oven bread on the floor so we could eat it instead of sell it to customers. Oooooh, we were bad kids. But nothing compares to pulling chunks of warm, crusty bread from a loaf, spreading them with jam, and devouring them on the spot.

This recipe for Pear Ginger Rolls is adapted from my Coconut Mango Rolls recipe. It is essential to use a can of pears because the fruit juice in the can is used in the recipe (twice!).

Yeasted Pear Ginger Rolls with Pear Vanilla Bean Icing

For the dough:

1/2 cup pear juice (from a 15-ounce can of pears), preferably organic
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, melted
1/2 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1 cup chopped pear (from the 15-ounce can used above)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
zest from one small lemon, about 1 teaspoon

For the icing:

3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons pear juice (from the can)
1 vanilla bean

Directions:

1. Line the bottom of a 9×13″ cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together pear juice, yeast, and agave nectar. Set aside until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.

3. Add soy milk, coconut oil, and sucanat. Stir to dissolve sucanat.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), add the flours and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and knead with the dough hook (or your hands if you don’t have a stand mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

5. Lightly oil a large bowl (or use the same mixing bowl the dough is in) and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl, put in a warm, draft-free place, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, about 1-1.5 hours.

6. Once risen, punch down the dough and let it rest for a few minutes.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18″ rectangle. With a pastry brush, spread the melted butter over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle sucanat over the butter. In a small bowl, combine chopped pears, ginger, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of the sucanat. Roll the dough (tightly) into a log (I rolled from the short end, but either way will work just fine) and pinch the seams with your fingers to seal.

8. Slice dough into 10-12 rolls (depending on how fat you want your rolls to be). I found that using a long, sharp bread knife is easiest for this task. Repeat until you have desired number of rolls (10-12). Place rolls into your prepared pan.

9. Cover pan with a dish towel and allow the rolls to rise for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees during the last 20 minutes of rise time.

10. Place pan, uncovered, into the oven and bake for about 16 minutes. The rolls will be golden on top.

11. Once the rolls are out of the oven, whisk the powdered sugar (use 3/4 cup if you prefer a thinner, less sweet icing) and pear juice in a small bowl. Slice the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a small spoon or flat edge of a butter knife. Add the seeds to the icing and whisk to incorporate.

12. Drizzle the icing over the warm rolls. Allow to cool slightly – these are best when served warm!!

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