When we were eighteen, my best friend and I started going on summer adventures. We would pack White Lightning, my intrepid Toyota Corolla with all the essentials and start driving South on 1-95. The plan was always – loosely – to camp near the beach, get tan, meet boys, and drink beer. We learned how to build fires and cook over them. We had our fortunes told in the middle of the night by strangers. We had my car towed when we foolishly followed some locals in their truck onto the sand. We ate hush puppies and tile fish. We napped in the sun on a tapestry and jumped in the great Atlantic waves. We confronted and photographed wild horses. We slept in a one-man tent. We explored the water by kayak and with fins.
We’ve since run out of gas on the lonesome highway that connects Merida and Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula, and spent an afternoon at a lake in Camden dunking baby Violet in the water, initiating the newest member of our group into the ritual of our endless summer. Many times we discovered a place worth staying and almost didn’t come back.
On one such occasion, we were driving home from the Outer Banks and wandered onto Ocracoke Island. It was a paradisaical garden of surfers and artists and lovely, shoeless Bohemian weirdos. In a coffee shop that sold bongs and bongos, patchouli and Reiki, pottery and bells, hemp necklaces and flowy filigree tops, we had the most amazing sweet rolls filled with fruit.
Fueled by coffee and pastry, sun and youth and Luscious Jackson, we made it back safely to Connecticut with a car full of sand and trinkets.
Raspberry Sweet Rolls
Adapted from a recipe on Food and Wine; Makes 16 rolls [sc:ziplist]
For the dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 10-12 oz bag frozen raspberries, not thawed
For the glaze:
- 1 teaspoon half and half
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough:
In a small saucepan, warm the milk until it is more or less 90 degrees. (One minute in the microwave about does it). Stir the warm milk and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast. Let mixture sit 5 minutes until foamy Add butter, eggs, and salt, and, fitted with the hook attachment, begin to mix at a low speed. Add flour and mix at medium-low speed, 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 10 minutes. A soft dough forms first, then comes together rather loosely. Form dough into a ball and transfer it to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place, at least an hour.
Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a 10 x 24 inch rectangle. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and frozen berries. Spread evenly over dough. Roll the dough into a 24-inch long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them in the baking pan, cut sides up. Scrape any berries and juice from the work surface into the baking pan between the rolls. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 and bake for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool before drizzling with glaze.
For the glaze:
In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar with the butter, vanilla, and half and half until the glaze is spreadable.