The Bun Also Rises

I am currently fulfilling a lifelong dream: being – and living – in London during Wimbledon. Though I love watching all of the big tennis tournaments, the traditions surrounding this particular one take it to a heightened, magical level. The all-whites rule is one that I believe should extend beyond the tennis courts. (Wouldn’t we all get along so much better in immaculate, dazzling apparel?) The strawberries and champagne diet should apply all year round. But ‘Breakfast at Wimbledon,’ the time in which the nation wakes up to a cup of tea and a quick gab about the day to come, is the best part of all.

Such morning gossips are made extra sweet by a plate full of cinnamon buns. But often times one is deterred from making them, because any yeast-based product requires so much patience. As the young protagonists in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises demonstrate, waiting often seems impossible. Just as the sun will always return after a dark night, yeast will always activate if left overnight. But sometimes a catalyst is necessary to speed up the plot. For Jake Barnes, that was a few drinks at a bullfight. For these cinnamon buns, it is the combination of yeast and baking powder. You’ll be finished in plenty of time for the first match on Centre Court!

IMG_0389

Glaze:

3 tbsp buttermilk

3 tbsp cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoon melted butter

1 1/2 cups icing sugar (or enough for glaze consistency)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling:

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

Pinch of salt

Dough:

6 oz all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons yeast

1/8 cup plus 1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Instruction:

1. Heat 1/8 cup milk to barely a simmer. Take off heat, whisk with yeast. When yeast is dissolved, let sit for five minutes (letting mixture become frothy).

2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add rest of milk, yeast mixture, vanilla extract, and butter to form dough. Knead dough on a floured surface until a smooth ball is formed. (If dough is too sticky, add flour several tablespoons at a time.) Let dough rise in a greased bowl covered with a tea towel.

3. While dough is rising, combine cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Pour melted butter over the mix to create a paste.

4. Roll dough into a 6×9 (approximately) rectangle. Spread filling evenly, leaving a half inch border. Roll (beginning with the shorter length) into a tight cylinder. Pinch at the seam. Cut into six even rolls and place in greased muffin tin. Cover with tea towel and let rise for at least half an hour.

5. Bake buns in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (until golden brown). While the buns are baking, whisk together cream cheese, buttermilk, vanilla extract, (all at room temperature) and salt. Add icing sugar in batches, whisking until smooth. When glaze consistency is reached, finish with melted butter.

6. Allow buns to cool for five minutes. Drizzle with glaze.

Enjoy cinnamon buns with buttermilk glaze with Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

Advertisements

The Sage of Innocence

Tonight Edward and I are going to a live broadcast of La Bohéme in Trafalgar Square. For our opera picnic, he’s bringing the wine, and I’m in charge of food. It’s nights like these that make me so glad to live in London – there is the possibility of culture and romance on any given night.

However, it’s also nice to get away sometimes. We spent last weekend in Wivenhoe, a small river town near the eastern coast. We ate dinner at a cozy tapas place and both agreed that it was the best meal we’d eaten in a long time. Our favorite dish was a California-inspired flatbread, light enough to save room for other dishes, but substantial enough to make a lasting impression.

For tonight’s menu, I’ve decided to bring a bit of our quiet, relaxed weekend back to the buzzing city – keeping the same flavors but melting them into travel-friendly quesadillas. Like the New York upper class society in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, a simple shell masks the complex flavors hidden inside. I’m confident that the opera singers won’t be the only stars of the show tonight!

IMG_0334

4 tortillas

1 cup shredded mozzarella

8 slices prosciutto

8 sage leaves, chopped

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup water

Instruction:

1. In small saucepan, bring water, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar to a simmer. Allow to reduce down for about ten minutes, until the mixture reaches glaze-like consistency. (You can test this by seeing if the glaze coats the back of a spoon.) Allow to cool.

2. In food processor, pulse mozzarella until creamy.

3. Working with two tortillas at a time, spread the mozzarella mixture on both. (Leave a half-inch border, as mozzarella will spread when it melts.) Lay prosciutto slices and sage leaves, and drizzle balsamic glaze on one side, and fold the second over so that both spread sides are facing inwards (as a sandwich). Repeat for as many quesadillas as you require.

4. Bake on one side for 5 minutes in a 180-degree oven. Carefully flip the quesadillas, and bake for 3-5 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into quarters.

*Note: sage has a very strong flavor, so use sparingly!

Enjoy mozzarella quesadillas with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!