A 1996 graduate of the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Française in Paris, Paula Shoyer owns Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in the Washington, DC. area. She recipe tested and edited Susie Fishbein‘s Kosher By Design Entertains and Kosher By Design Kids In The Kitchen. Paula is also the author of the brand new book The Kosher Baker. Not only is this a beautiful tome, the attention to detail in its execution, the direction given in the recipes, make its publication an unparalleled event among kosher cookbooks.
I got the book last week and immediately started leafing through it. It has great great photos without being overbearing, the detail of explanation in the recipes will make for perfect results by whoever follows them fully. Each of the over 160 recipes is preceded by a little anecdote which makes it very friendly and offers us small tidbits of its author as very real and down to earth.
Having never outgrown my childhood sweet tooth, I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe for the cinnamon buns I always loved. I made a batch of 20, on Thursday evening.
In a very uncharacteristic display of will power (likely due to being tired at such a late hour), I did not have even one! Friday morning, however, I had intended to eat only a few myself and share the rest with SYR, but alas… such was not to be! My will power failed and I finished the whole lot. As we are in Elul, I felt very guilty and confessed my dastardly deed and – predictably – SYR was rather upset with me. On Sunday – yesterday – she made two batches of cinnamon buns, thereby proving (again!) she’s a far better person than I. The buns looked better than mine, which gave me the opportunity to photograph them since in the losing battle against my sweet tooth I had entirely forgotten to do so. Best of all, her teenage son told her these were the best pastry she ever made!
Choosing just one recipe is hard; having gone through the book I can tell quite a few are destined to become new favorites (especially that Crème Brûlée on page 240!). Meanwhile I”ll quote the one recipe both SYR and I thoroughly tested:
MAKES ABOUT 20 BUNS
Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to four days or freeze up to 4 months
1 cup parve plain soy milk
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) parve margarine, softened, plus extra to grease pan (if pan-baking buns)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup (2 sticks) parve margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the dough: Heat the soy milk until lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl and add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the flour, eggs, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, margarine, and oil and mix well. knead using either a dough hook in a stand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes or by hand until the dough comes together into a ball. Cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling. Place the margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix with a whisk or beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Take a piece of parchment paper about 2-feet long and place on the counter. Sprinkle with some flour. Place the dough on the floured parchment, sprinkle with some more flour, and roll it into 15 x 24-inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling all over the dough, all the way to the edges.
- Roll up the dough beginning with the long side of the rectangle, so you end up with a log about 24 inches long. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 1-inch slices. You can bake these two ways.
- To make soft, pan-baked buns, grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with some margarine. Place the buns in the pan with the cinnamon swirl-side up. Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned on the outside edges.
- To make individually baked buns with a slightly crunchy exterior, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Place the sliced buns cinnamon swirl-side up on the pans 3 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan (or on the cookie sheets) and prepare the glaze. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the boiling water and the vanilla. Whisk in another tablespoon of boiling water and see if you have a thick pourable glaze. If you think it is too thick, add another tablespoon of boiling water and whisk to combine. If you accidentally made it too thin, just add some confectioners’ sugar. Use the whisk to drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon buns.
Enjoy, gentle reader, we certainly did!