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Friday, June 24, 2011

pesto rolls.

I first came across these while blog surfing. The idea of them enamoured me. Rolled up just like a cinnamon roll, but filled with savory green pesto. I've always liked peeling the layers of cinnamon rolls off as I worked through them, slowly nibbling my way to the prized centre of gooey, sugary buttery ooze.

I've never tried pesto before, but I like the sound of it. Some greens (harmless, I assure you), pine nuts (one of my favourite nuts!), olive oil (yum...), garlic (love-hate relationship), parmesan cheese and a bit of salt. I used spinach instead of other kinds of leaves such as basil because I don't like the herby taste.

I love the way the pesto seeps into the dough when baked, like a self-buttering mechanism. I love love love these rolls, I couldn't just have one. But because the rolls spent barely 10 minutes in the oven, and pesto is raw to begin with, I found that I could still taste a slight grassiness of the spinach. Moo...

To explain their weird shape, I baked them in silicon brioche molds I bought in Europe during a quick sale. They cost only a few dollars! Silicon! I wanted, besides a unique shape, the rolls to bake up with soft sides instead of crusty edges, hence the molds. But of course, ordinary muffin tins work as well.

Pesto Rolls

Bread dough recipe

Pesto Ingredients
This pesto is rather stiff so that its easier to spread over the dough. You may also have leftovers. Feel free to substitute rocket, basil or any other leaves for the spinach. The pine nuts are interchangeable as well- walnuts seem to be popular too.

1 cup spinach
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt to taste

Place spinach, pine nuts, garlic clove and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until the spinach has broken down a bit. With your food processor still running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Add parmesan cheese and process for about 7-10 more seconds. Stop the food processor and add salt to taste.

To assemble:
Roll out your dough as you would for cinnamon rolls, i.e. a rectangle. Spread the pesto over the dough, going as thick as you want. Roll it up, from any side is fine really, and divide by cutting the roll into your desired lengths and place in a pan to rise until doubled in size. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the rolls sound hollow when tapped, about 10-15 minutes.

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