Hello, pumpkin! These moist, delicately spiced rolls are teeming with pecans and pumpkin pie filling. The rich honey and maple laced mascarpone frosting is the perfect garnish to these unbelievable rolls.
I told you pumpkin would make a few appearances this month! Just look at these rolls, will you?!
When I set out to make these rolls, I knew I wanted pumpkin to be the star of the show and I think I’ve accomplished that. Aside from the frosting, pumpkin is present in every component of these rolls. We use pumpkin to moisten the dough, pumpkin pie spice to give it a seasonal kick, and of course that delicious pumpkin pie filling! How can you go wrong?
Now, let’s talk dough, shall we? Thanks to the hearty amount of pumpkin (a whole 3/4 cup!) this dough stays nice and moist once baked. However, it is important to measure your flour properly. Spoon it into the cups, folks! Besides using a scale, that is the best way to ensure you aren’t over measuring your flour. If you simply dunk the cup into the flour bucket, you’ll end up getting maybe three times as much flour as you need. The spoon and scrape method. It’s the way to go. I’ve used both all-purpose and wholemeal flour here for good reason. I wanted the rolls to taste more hearty and seasonal than a regular cinnamon roll, but I still wanted them to keep their fluffy texture. The wholemeal adds that extra heartiness I was seeking, while the all-purpose keeps the rolls from becoming too dense. Together with the pumpkin and spices, this combo is gold. Use both.
Another thing? Do not be afraid of yeast! A few months ago, I was terrified of yeast-based baking. I thought it seemed really difficult and guaranteed failure unless you knew exactly what you were doing. I am here to tell you, with 100% confidence, that this is NOT the case! Yeast baking is easy, and I know you can do it. These rolls are very forgiving, so as long as you follow the method to the letter you won’t have any problems. I use instant dried yeast in this recipe, but you can also use active dry yeast. Just remember if you are using the latter that you will have to activate the yeast before you add it to the rest of the ingredients. For tips on this, check out Girl Versus Dough.
If you’re anything like me and adore pumpkin sweets, you’ll go crazy for these rolls. When you eat them, you’ll be transported to a crisp autumn day, cuddled up under a blanket, with a mug of earl grey and a good book. From a single bite of sweet roll, you ask? They’re magic, I tell you. Try them yourself!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
- 1 packet (2¼ tsp) instant dried yeast
- 35g unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp milk
- ¾ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 egg
- 35g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ – ¾ cup pecans, chopped (I used ⅔ cup)
- 140g mascarpone cheese
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- To make the dough, add the flours, sugar, salt, spice, and yeast to a large bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the milk and pumpkin purée, whisk together, and heat in the microwave in 30–40 second intervals, mixing after each interval, until a thermometer inserted reads 46–48C (115–120F). Do not exceed this temperature or you will kill the yeast.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Stir in the egg. The dough should now be elastic, a bit wet, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it hasn't reached this stage, add a bit more all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches this consistency. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 4–5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, and allow to rest for 10–12 minutes.
- Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray and set aside. While the dough rests, make the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the softened butter, pumpkin purée and sugars. Little lumps of butter are perfectly fine; they melt and add moisture to the roll as they cook.
- Remove the rested dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 36 x 20 cm (14 x 8 in) rectangle. Spread the filling all over the dough, leaving a naked border about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. Evenly sprinkle over the chopped pecans. Carefully roll your dough up, keeping it as tight as possible. You will lose some filling at the end – do not try to stuff it back in or the rolls won't stay together. (Trust me on this one.) Cut the rolled up dough into 12 equal pieces and place each roll in the prepared pie dish in a single layer. Do not overlap the rolls.
- Cover the rolls loosely with a layer of aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment for 45–55 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.* Once they have doubled, bake them in the oven at 190 C (375 F) for 25–27 minutes. Check the rolls at the 15 minute mark and cover with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pie dish.
- To make the frosting, combine the mascarpone, vanilla, honey, and maple syrup in a medium bowl and whisk until emulsified. Allow the rolls to cool completely before frosting.
- Rolls will keep refrigerated for up 5 days in an airtight container. They are best consumed warm with a hot mug of tea.
What’s your favourite twist on the classic cinnamon roll?