In the middle of autumn, trees across the gulf south are laden with bright orange Fuyu persimmons, a fruit many find mysterious. I’m lucky to have a ton of great friends who give me their excess fruit, and that can often create the challenge of what to do with it. So far I’ve made a persimmon liquer and used thin broiled slivers of the fruit atop brie to make crostini. This past weekend, though, we had houseguests and a special request for cinnamon rolls. You can guess what happened next.
Persimmon Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
1.5 cups partial or whole fat milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2.25 t active dry yeast
1 cup persimmon puree
5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon grated)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 T vanilla instant pudding mix (the milk powder will make the dough extra soft)
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown or palm sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
For the icing:
8 ounces, softened cream cheese
1/2 pound Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 T butter, melted
So now what?
Heat the milk to 100 degrees, and add to the bowl of a stand mixed affixed with a dough hook. Add butter and sugar, and sprinkle yeast on top. After fiveish minutes, use the mixer to whisk in the persimmon puree. Gradually add the dry ingredients until the mixture creatures a loose ball. Set in a oiled bowl with a tea towel on top for about an hour (in a warm, draft-free place) to double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray the bottom of 2 9×13″ pans with cooking spray.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface (I prefer a pastry mat), sprinkle more flour on top, and using a rolling pin, gently and evenly roll it into a rectangular shape. Shoot for at least a 10″x26″ shape. Lightly brush the dough with melted butter, evenly coating the entire surface. Mix together the sugar and spices, and sprinkle evenly across the butter. Add pecans, if you choose.
Carefully foll the roll into a log, as tightly as possible. Pinch the seam closed and roll over so that the seam is on the bottom of the roll. Using a sharp knife, make 3/4″ slices and place them in four rows of three in the pans.
Not ready to bake them? Cover them and place them in the fridge overnight (let sit out 30 minutes before baking the next morning). Otherwise, let rise on top of the preheating oven for 20-30 minutes and then bake for 18-20 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, combine the icing ingredients in a cleaning mixing bowl, beating until fluffy. Once the rolls are baked, let them cool slightly before pouring the icing on top.