Perfect for a summery brunch, these sweet strawberry rolls with a subtle lemon glaze can be prepared in advance to save time in the morning.
I love baking with bread or brioche dough, but it’s been a while since I last worked with this kind of dough. When I moved to Chicago I left my Kitchen Aid behind me and didn’t buy a new one, having no idea of how long we would stay in the US. Hard decision, I know! But somehow it’s not such a big deal if you think about it; I made brioche and bread dough by hand before after all. It’s just that a Kitchen Aid makes it easier and quicker with the kneading part, even though I find it very relaxing to do it by hand. My 7 year old niece told me recently she loved doing it too, being so disappointed when she realized we didn’t need to knead the dough for the cake recipe we were making together. She’s so funny!
On the blog, you can find several recipes using a bread dough for a quite similar recipe, such as the Swedish cinnamon rolls, the Cardamom raspberry buns or the Swedish cardamom buns, but also the Swedish blueberry vanilla buns and the Pumpkin pie cinnamon rolls, to mention only a few of them. I baked some by hand, other using a Kitchen Aid, and always got a similar result. For most of them I used fresh yeast in Sweden, while in the US I use instant dry yeast most of the time. You get a similar result but the difference is that you don’t need to knead the dough as long with active dry yeast. The ratio is usually 10g of fresh yeast = 1 teaspoon (3,5 gr) dry yeast. To make it simple, you usually divide or multiply by 3.
Since these rolls are just the perfect treat to serve for breakfast or brunch, I usually recommend to prepare the dough the day before, to give it time to rise as much as its needs for the first rise at least. For the second rise, once you filled the dough with the strawberry filling, cut into rolls and placed into a round or square baking dish, I prefer to let the dough rise the second day if I have 1 hour before me. Then you need to count about 25 minutes to bake them in the pan. I like to serve them lukewarm but you can enjoy them chilled too.
For the strawberry filling, I used fresh strawberries as they are still in season, and added a twist of lemon, to bring a touch of acidity to the whole filling. Please remember to cut the strawberry into very small pieces as it will help you a lot when you will need to roll the dough with the filling inside. If the pieces are too big, they will try to escape from the dough and it will result in a mess. Another option I also like is to use some ready to use strawberry jam to which you just add the lemon zest. My favorite is the Bonne Maman strawberry preserves, as the texture is just perfect and I simply love the taste of this one. The good news is that you can find it pretty much everywhere you are, in France, Sweden, USA, or elsewhere.
Of course you could add your own twist to the recipe and use any other jam of your choice that goes with the lemony glaze. Usually berries are the fruit that work the best, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries of course, or even mixed berries. For blueberries, you don’t even need to cut them into small pieces, and for the other berries (black and raspberries) I would cook them plain, and then pulse them two or three times into a food processor to get the desired texture, with only tiny pieces. Or go for the matching Bonne Maman preserves.
The final touch is the lemon glaze. I’m not a huge fan of the American white glaze that is usually so sweet that it takes over all the flavor of the fruits inside the rolls. So here I made mine with less sugar and in a more reasonable quantity, i.e. just enough to drizzle slightly over the rolls instead of covering them all. This way, you have a sweet lemony taste that enhances the strawberry flavors instead of destroying it. If you would like to skip this glaze you could also replace it with a simple one: just mix some water with sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, then brush the strawberry rolls with this mixture while still warm when you just removed them from the oven. It gives a lovely shining aspect to the rolls. Oh, I have to leave you now, breakfast is ready! 🙂
- 1½ cups (250g) fresh strawberries, chopped into tiny pieces
- ⅓ cup (70g) cane sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1½ tbsp cornstarch
- 2¾ cups (330g) all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2¼ tsp instant dry yeast
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (30g) of confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1-2 tbsp of milk
- To make the Strawberry Filling: place the chopped strawberries in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the strawberries are very soft and their juices have been released. Add in the sugar and cornstarch and continue to cook - and stir - for another 1-2 minutes. The mixture will thicken up dramatically during this time. Add lemon zest and stir well. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the filling into a small bowl. Let cool completely before using.
- To make the Dough: in a large bowl combine 2¼ cups (270g) of the flour, the granulated sugar, salt, and yeast; mix well to evenly combine. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the water, milk, and butter until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is hot to the touch but not scalding (it should be between 110-115F, or 43-46C).
- Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Add in the egg, then add in at least ⅓ of additional flour. You may need to add up to ½ cup of additional flour. Your dough is at the right consistency when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and is slightly elastic in consistency.
- Scoop the dough out and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough by hand, for about 3 minutes. Lightly grease a clean bowl with vegetable oil (neutral in taste, for ex. canola oil), then set the ball of dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
- Once the dough has rised, roll it out into a 14x8-inch (35x8 cm) rectangle. Spread the cooled strawberry filling on top, leaving a 1-inch (2,5 cm) boarder around the edges. Roll the dough up tightly along the edge (cigar style).
- Cut the roll into 10-11 pieces, then arrange them in a lightly greased 9-inch (23 cm) round or square baking dish. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and set them in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1½ hours.
- Once the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). When the oven comes to temperature, bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, or until slightly browned. After 15 minutes, cover the rolls with aluminum foil, to avoid heavy browning.
- To make the Lemon Glaze: in a small bowl combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and zest, and cream. Whisk until smooth, adding more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over the rolls right after you removed them from the oven. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.