Early in our relationship, M and I had a pretty good Saturday morning routine. We’d walk to the Urbana Farmers Market nice and early. There, we’d load up on organic produce, then head over to Mirabelle and load up on pastry.
Mirabelle makes excellent pastries and breads, sweet and savory. One of my regular indulgences was their onion roll. It’s a slightly sweet yeast dough rolled around sweet cooked onions, tangy cream, and crunchy poppy seeds.
We haven’t lived in Urbana for years, and I’ve only seen the onion rolls at Mirabelle. With the onions, cream, and poppy seeds, it definitely has an Eastern European flavor to it, which isn’t in abundance in Austin.
I thought of the onion rolls a few days ago, and I had to have one, so I took a shot at a recipe.
I made a no-knead pizza dough recipe, which has turned out to be pretty versatile. Then we spread the rolled-out dough with Full Quiver Farms neufchatel cheese and sprinkled on sauteed onions and poppy seeds and rolled it up cinnamon-roll style. (We made another roll with sauteed apple, crystallized ginger, and brown sugar.)
Then we sliced the rolls and let them rise before baking until golden brown with some melted butter brushed over the tops.
The rolls were perfect. The dough was browned on the outside and nicely fluffy and chewy on the inside. The onion filling was creamy, sweet, and satisfyingly poppy.
This is a full recipe for onion rolls, though I made half onion, half apple. For the apple-ginger filling, halve the filling ingredients for the onion rolls and substitute with 1 chopped and sauteed tart apple, 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.
Dough for 1 pizza
2 tablespoons safflower (or other vegetable) oil
2 large onions, sliced
8 ounces neufchatel
1/4 cup poppy seeds
3 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until very soft, but not browned. This can take 10 to 15 minutes. Set the onions aside to cool.
Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the neufchatel on the dough, going all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the onions and poppy seeds over the cheese. Roll up the dough like a cinnamon roll, starting with one of the long sides of the rectangle. Place seam-side down and cut into 1.5-inch sections.
Preheat the oven to 375. Place the rolls on their sides, almost touching, in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Remove the towel, brush the melted butter on the tops of the rolls (if using), and bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.