Orange Pocket Rolls
Citrus season is right around the corner and I always make sure that I have plenty of fresh oranges for the holidays. Preparing these orange rolls is a nice rainy day activity. I also like to bake them on Thanksgiving morning to tide hungry guests over until lunch.
Dissolve 1 package of yeast in warm water. Combine milk, vegetable shortening, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat just until shortening melts and sugar dissolves, do not bring to a boil. Allow the milk mixture to cool. If I am in a rush, I put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast when you add it.
To the cooled milk mixture add 2 well beaten eggs, yeast, fresh orange juice and orange zest. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes. I once got distracted and lost track of time. When I returned to the kitchen I found that the shortening had congealed. So keep an eye on this liquid.
After 10 minutes add 5 cups of flour. Turn the dough out onto well-floured breadboard. If it is too sticky, you can add a little more flour. Knead the dough and place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl and allow it to rise for 2 hours or until double in size. To help with the rising, put the bowl somewhere warm, such as on top of the refrigerator or in the hot water closet.
Right before you retrieve the bowl, melt 1/4 stick of butter. While the dough is still in the bowl, punch it down with your fist and then turn it out onto a well-floured breadboard. Knead it very lightly and then roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
With a biscuit cutter, cut disks out of the dough. When you get down to the remnants of the dough, you can ball them up and roll them out again for more disks.
Place the dough disks on a cookie sheet. With a pastry brush, dab a little melted butter in the center of each one, and then fold them in half and brush the tops with melted butter. I like to use a butter knife to help fold them. Simply lay the knife flat on one half of a disk. Fold the other half over the knife to create a pocket. Then slide the knife out.
Let the rolls rise for another 1 1/2 hours, or until double in size. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven until golden, which is about 10 to 15 minutes. This recipe makes about 5 dozen small rolls, which is plenty to share with friends and family.
Time to prepare: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Serves 5 dozen.