Thunder Bay Persian Rolls
prep time45 min total time 105 min serves 18
If you’ve ever been to Thunder Bay, Ontario, you may have been lucky enough to try a “Persian”—a yeast-risen, fried cinnamon sweet roll, frosted with a pink berry-flavoured icing—from one of their local bakeries. Now you can make them at home for a truly Canadian experience right in your own kitchen.
Directions for: Thunder Bay Persian Rolls
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup warm water (100ºF/38ºC)
1 pkg (8 g) active dry yeast
½ cup milk
⅓ cup butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour (approx.)
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup frozen raspberries or strawberries, thawed
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp 35% whipping cream
In a large bowl, dissolve 1 tsp of the granulated sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast; let it stand until the mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the milk on top of the stove or in microwave just until bubbles form around edge. Remove from the heat; add 1/4 cup of the butter, the remaining granulated sugar and the salt. Let stand until the butter is melted. Let cool until lukewarm; stir the milk mixture and the egg into the yeast mixture. Add 2 cups of the flour; stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, ragged dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl; turn the dough to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
4. Melt the remaining butter. On a floured work surface and with floured hands, pat out the dough to 16- x 14-inch (40 x 35 cm) rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with the melted butter. Mix brown sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the long end furthest from you. Starting at the long end closest to you, tightly roll up dough; pinch the seam to seal. With a chef’s knife, cut crosswise into 18 buns. Arrange the buns on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets leaving 2 inches (5 cm) between the rolls. Flatten slightly into ovals. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
In a deep fryer, wok or deep saucepan, heat 2 inches (5 cm) oil until thermometer reads 350°F (180°C). In batches, gently transfer rolls to hot oil, turning once, until golden and puffed, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels. Transfer to a rack; let cool.
In large bowl, beat together the raspberries and butter. (The mixture will look separated.) Gradually beat in sugar alternately with cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Spread over the cooled rolls.