If you took a poll in Louisiana to name its favorite citrus, Satsuma would win in a landslide. Our love affair with what’s also called ‘honey citrus’ started back in the eighteenth century when Jesuits began cultivation on their property in Plaquemines Parish. The fruits ripen just in time to be dropped into your kid’s Christmas stocking and as the season ends you should try to scoop up the last ones and use them in this piquant and less sugary version of the traditional breakfast sweet roll.
First you start with some satsumas like the ones you see below. They should be soft but not too soft. There should be some give in the body but avoid the specimens that are brown & shriveled around the stem end.
Once the dough has risen roll it out into a fairly thin rectangle, about 12 to 14 inches in length. Brush it with the melted butter then sprinkle the cinnamon/brown sugar/citrus rind evenly over the whole area. Drain any liquid from the raisins you’ve soaked and distribute them along with the nuts over the sugar mixture.
Now carefully start to roll it up lengthwise as tightly as possible and pinch the edge to seal. The individual rolls should be about 2 inches in width and they can be cut with an extremely sharp serrated knife or you can do what we always did growing up. Tear off about a foot of dental floss, lift up the roll, slide it under and then bring the two ends together over the roll and cut through that way. Just keep sliding and slicing till you reach the end. Waxed dental floss is great for this and I’ll bet the mint flavored kind might even add a little bite. If it’s all you’ve got why not?
Once cut up place them in the pan into which you’ve spread a bit of the glaze. Leave space in between and put them in a warm place to rise. When they’ve expanded put them in the oven and bake until done. You may optionally brush some melted butter on top if you like.
You’ll notice from the pictures that I put half the batch in a 9″ cast iron skillet and the rest in a cake pan. Either is fine. If you have a proper jelly roll pan you can line them up and do the whole recipe in one pan. However, two round pans are nice since you can easily freeze one for later or gift it to a fellow fruit lover. And one final word about the glaze. Should you be one of those people whose sweet rolls must be topped with a quarter inch of white sticky stuff go ahead and add a lot of powdered sugar to the glaze. Keep adding until it’s a nice spreadable consistency. But seriously, it’s after the holidays and you’ve probably wolfed down enough sugar to deplete the supply of an entire parish so maybe you should think about just going lite this time.
Below you see the finished product with some extra glaze for swishing the broken up pieces of roll in, and don’t forget to lick the plate. Saves on dish washing!
- For the rolls:
- 2¼ tsps. yeast
- 1¼ cup warm milk (110 degrees)
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. dark rum (or bourbon)
- 3½ cups all purpose flour sifted
- several gratings of nutmeg
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- For the filling:**
- Melted butter for spreading on dough (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup raisins soaked in 2 tablespoons of rum plus enough water to cover, overnight
- 1½ cups chopped & toasted nuts
- 2½ tsps. cinnamon
- Zest from one satsuma (2 tsps.)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- For the glaze:***
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup (or corn syrup)*
- 2 tsps. orange flower water (or juice from the satsumas)
- zest from one satsuma
- For the dough:
- Whisk the yeast into the warm milk and let proof for 10 minutes or so.
- Add cooled melted butter, then whisk in egg, sugar, salt, vanilla and rum.
- Add nutmeg and cinnamon to flour and fold into the wet ingredients.
- Turn out onto the counter top and knead, then put into a greased covered dish and let rise till doubled.
- Punch down and roll out.
- For the filling:
- Soak the raisins in the rum for several hours or overnight then drain.
- Mix cinnamon, brown sugar, satsuma zest & salt.
- Lightly toast the pecans in a 300 degree oven.
- For the glaze:
- Melt the butter and sir in the sugar and syrup until no crystals are visible.
- Add satsuma juice and zest.
- Butter the pans and put a few tablespoons of the glaze on the bottom.
- Place the cut rolls in the pan with space between them.
- Let rise until doubled.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven until brown on top.
- After the rolls have cooled for a few minutes brush with the glaze.
**Alternate filling: ½ c. melted butter; 8 Tablespoons orange marmalade; 1 c. brown sugar; ¼ tsp salt.
***Alternate Glaze: zest of 2 oranges; powdered sugar; milk, melted butter; orange flower water. If you do make this alternate glaze just use it on top and place the rolls in a greased pan.