(originally published March 5, 2016)
So we don’t have a lot of food traditions in my extended family, but one of them is pumpkin rolls at Thanksgiving — that’s always been my father’s contribution, while mom prepares the turkey and stuffing. And, while the turkey and stuffing has been abandoned for Honeybaked Turkey and Stovetop Stuffing, I’ve taken over the pumpkin roll-making.
Now, Dad had always used a recipe which he had typed up and put into his own recipe collection, but this past Thanksgiving, he couldn’t find this, so he pulled out the original source cookbook, the Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 9, Pec – Pur, but wasn’t sure which recipe it was, the “pumpkin bread” or “pumpkin rolls.” I picked the pumpkin roll recipe, though it soon became apparent that it wasn’t the original recipe after all — the dough was wetter, more like a batter, and the recipe didn’t call for kneading. But it was still successful, and it was, in the end, better and easier than the original.
So after we returned home, I wanted to make this again, so I called my parents up and asked if they could dictate the recipe over the phone, but Dad reported that they had now misplaced that very cookbook volumne, so I figured that it was no big deal and I’d just ask again another time.
Fast forward to last weekend, when my husband and I were shopping at Ikea. Now, Ikea tends to use actual used books as part of their decor — and, there in the kitchen display, was the Pec – Pur volume, which I opened up to the Pumpkin Roll recipe and copied it onto the notepaper we had brought along, and made them for dinner tonight.
And so it is that I present to you: Women’s Day Pumpkin Rolls.
1/2 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup milk, scalded
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups flour (unsifted, all-purpose)
Combine the yeast and water (105 – 115 degrees) and let dissolve. Then combine, in a mixing bowl, the pumpkin, egg, butter, sugar, salt and milk. Cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast and flour. Let rise ’til doubled, shape into rolls, and let rise again (about 20 further minutes), then bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Notes: the dough is very wet — I added about 1/2 cup more dough than called for and it was still shaggy and somewhere in-between batter and dough. It also took more like 20 minutes rather than 15 — maybe because my rolls were larger than normal? (The 15 minutes was more than sufficient in my parents’ oven, so maybe my oven or theirs doesn’t heat to the proper temperature?)
Update: I later figured out that this is a no-knead recipe much like others of the genre. And that my parents’ oven’s thermostat was nonfunctional, and in later years we didn’t even try baking rolls in the oven.