Gourmet’s Orange Pumpkin Cloverleafs

We live on a hill.  Some may not call it that, but I do, and depending on which direction you approach our hill, it resembles something quite large with very steep roads leading to it, making it a challenge if one happens to be stuck behind a truck, a school bus, or someone who has passed a driver's test but hasn't yet figured out that the gas pedal is what makes the car proceed in a forward motion if it's properly in gear.

But I digress.

Living on this hill provides us a view of the Pacific from one window and from two others, the skyline of the area near downtown and the mountains in the eastern part of the county.  Actually, the view of the Pacific is about 16 inches if I strain, sneaking out my ruler just to make sure, and the other more a craning of my neck around my neighbor's Texas Cherry Brush hedge that is more like a jungle.  On days like today when the weather is not exactly as most expect it to be, I look at both horizons and notice the dark grey upper sky heavy with rain clouds.  The sun is struggling to shine somewhere East casting the mountains in varying shades of grey and adding to the ominous look of the storm clouds.  The Pacific is indiscernible, as grey as the sky. 

I love rainy days. 


So it seems appropriate that I bring you something that is about as close to packaged sunshine as I can find.  If you're lucky enough to get one right from the oven, the warmth speaks for itself.

This recipe for Orange Pumpkin Cloverleafs is the second of four for the month of February as part of "Let Us Eat Bread," featuring recipes from Gourmet's "Roll With It."  Our bread baking group includes:  Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Andrea of Andrea's Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, and our fearless leader, Sandy of At the Baker's Bench.

Gourmet's Orange Pumpkin Cloverleafs

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-ounce package)
  • 1/4 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs, divided, plus 1 yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

Butter muffin cups with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Stir together yeast, warm milk, and honey in a large bowl and let stand
until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with
new yeast.)

Mix flour, salt, pumpkin, 1
whole egg, yolk, orange zest and juice, and remaining 5 tablespoon
butter into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a
soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead,
dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough
from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Form
dough into a ball.


Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap
and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in
a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down dough (do not knead),
then halve. Roll half of dough on a lightly floured surface with
lightly floured hands into a 12-inch-long log (keep remaining half
covered with plastic wrap).


Cut log into 6 equal
pieces, then cut each piece into thirds. Roll each piece into a 1-inch
ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you
roll in a circular motion. Put 3 balls side by side in each of 6 muffin


Make more rolls with
remaining dough in same manner. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not
terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room
temperature until dough is about 1 inch above rim of muffin cups, 1 to
1 1/2 hours.


Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together remaining egg and
water and brush on tops of rolls. (You will have leftover egg wash.)

Bake until golden brown, about
20 minutes. Transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes.

Cooks' note:
Rolls are best the day they’re made but can be frozen (cool completely,
then wrap well) 1 month. Thaw, then reheat on a baking sheet in a 350°F
oven until warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes. 


My Usual Notes:

  • We liked these rolls.  Perhaps not as much as the Cracked-Wheat Topknots, but I'm not sure it's fair to compare.  They're completely different.  The texture is light, and there's enough salt for me.  The color is gorgeous!  But the orange flavor isn't noticeable.
  • The dough is very sturdy if you can describe dough like that.  It's heavy and was slow to rise sitting on top of my stove on the long day that I simmered the stock for the demi-glace I recently made.  No, I didn't use my proofer again because sometimes, I just like to rough it when I'm participating in an event that others are baking in.
  • I did use my Kitchen Aid on this one, however and allowed it to knead with a dough hook about 5-6 minutes.
  • I made a similar recipe from Sunset magazine a couple of times, and these rolls are more tasty.  Now do they taste like pumpkin?  Not to me, they don't, but I think it's because I expect anything with pumpkin to be sweet and spicy like a pie.  I guess I'm brainwashed!  But ultimately, pumpkin is a squash, and so if I put it in that context, then I can say these are very nice rolls that come together easily.  Yes, I would definitely make them again!  In fact, since I only used 1/3 c. of the can pumpkin I opened to make these, I'm wondering how a couple of loaves of bread would turn out and how the taste would be affected by adding more zest, and some brown sugar and cinnamon.  That would be cheating, right?

On sunny days, the light coming in through my kitchen window is direct, so it makes for a very cheerful way to enjoy a good bun.  Yes, they're great for breakfast!