A glimpse of spring came earlier this week, with rising temperatures, freshly revealed patches of brown grass, and a collective sigh of relief. However, just as soon as it came, it left, drowned out by a new layer of white and acknowledged with a thick scarf wrapped around my neck. Winter is not ready to leave yet. I tucked my spring clothes back in the closet and, with a hint of reluctance, pulled on another winter sweater.
Soon, I must remind myself. Soon.
In an effort to knock the winter doldrums away, I've been trying to brighten up the kitchen with more color and brighter flavors. It was this spirit that guided me back to an old family recipe, a favorite of my Grandmother Irene. She would make her orange rolls as a welcome to spring and the arrival of Easter, adored and devoured by friends and family alike. Though I have never met her, I feel as if I know her, just a little bit, through her food.
I played with her recipe a bit, decreasing the sugar and adding a touch more orange, but keeping the essence of the recipe close to heart. There are too many family memories and remembrances wrapped up in the layers of dough to alter it any further.
Though I took an easier route with the dough—cutting it into squares and stacking it—instead of creating individual rolls, I feel as if my grandmother would not have minded. A little short cut now and then never hurt anyone, right? Once baked and soaked in glaze, I took my first bite. And then second. And third. This bread holds the heart of spring in each layer. I find myself easily saying just one more slice before repeating the phrase a few minutes later as if it was my new mantra.
While the wind may still blow and the snow may still fly, in my small apartment it is spring.
Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread is a riff on a dear family classic. Though it may take a new form, the flavors are still full and bright. A sweet, rich dough is painted in melted butter and topped with a mixture of orange sugar and coconut. The dough is sliced, stacked, and baked, wafting sweet aromas throughout the home. When it emerges, it is drowned in an orange glaze, which soaks deeply into every nook and cranny of the loaf. This loaf is a special one; it should not be missed nor failed to be shared.