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By now it’s probably obvious that I’m a big fan of Jamtastic. Which is odd, in a way, considering that I don’t eat peanut butter and jelly very often, nor do I eat toast or any other kind of bready product that would go well with jam more than a few times a year. But the fact remains that it’s some of the best jam I’ve ever had, and they keep coming up with new flavors to tempt curious taste buds.
Like this one, for example.
Say hello to the first incarnation of what’s now known as Happy Fig Jam. Since I inhale fresh figs whenever I can get my hands on them, it was only natural for me to taste this stuff when it first appeared at the farmer’s market. It was an instant hit with my fig-loving brain. My adoration of it must have been obvious because, before I knew it, I had been handed a free jar to take back to the QV kitchen and use for whatever struck my fancy.
At first, I was thinking more muffins, because Jamtastic muffins have worked out so well in the past, but then I got the idea of putting pumpkin and fig together in a reworking of classic cinnamon rolls. Thanks to a lot of research and scouring of recipes from Pioneer Woman Cooks, Sally’s Baking Addiction, Minimalist Baker, Food 52 and Singer in the Kitchen, Pumpkin Fig Rolls were born!
Rich spiced pumpkin dough made with spelt and buckwheat flours envelops a generous helping of fig jam sprinkled with chopped pecans in a roll that’s hearty and relatively healthy. They’re a tad heavy on sugar since I wound up using most of the jar of jam in the filling, but aside from the Sucanat that the yeast feeds on, there’s no other sweetener involved. They’re also 100 percent whole grain, oil-free and, of course, vegan.
Speaking of yeast and Sucanat, that’s how this recipe gets started. Bring those two ingredients together in some hot water and watch the yeast go to town. I discovered that yeast loves Sucanat several years ago while making pizza dough, and it’s been my go-to sweetener for proofing ever since.
Next comes canned pumpkin puree and that classic combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. I’m fond of Farmer’s Market Foods organic canned pumpkin, but if you’d like to get enterprising, you can always make your own! The Farmer’s Market brand has good flavor and no weird additives, so it’s my standard for pumpkin-y fall baking. Make sure to use pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix!
For the flour, I used a combination of spelt, buckwheat and white whole wheat. Due to some potential sensitivities that are just coming to light, I’ve been experimenting with different whole grain flours. It’s looking like I might have to move away from wheat entirely, at least for a little while, but for this recipe I went with both wheat and wheat-free. The buckwheat flour gives the rolls their dark color and rich flavor, although I did find that it masked the taste of the pumpkin a bit. I’ll have to keep experimenting!
Put the dry ingredients into the wet slowly, stirring after each addition. Depending on how “thirsty” your flour is, you might have to add up to a cup more to get the dough to the point where it can be kneaded.
After kneading, the dough goes to have a little nap in a warm spot until it gets nicely puffy. Or maybe you go to have a nap while the dough rises. Whichever. When it’s too cold out for the kitchen to have a “warm spot,” I preheat the oven to its lowest setting, turn it off and stick the dough bowl in there. It’s not as good as a sunny window, but it helps! Your best bet in the winter, though, is in front of a wood stove, if you have one.
Now it’s finally time for the jam! This bit is just like making cinnamon rolls, but instead of sprinkling the dough with cinnamon and sugar, you slather it with fig jam. Lots and lots of fig jam. Toss on some pecans, give it a dusting of cinnamon if you’d like, and roll it up.
Then it’s off to that warm spot again for a bit more rising (feel free to take another nap while that’s going on). And yes, you do want to leave as much space between them as you see in the picture. Resist the urge to cut a bazillion rolls and cram them in the pan. They expand quite a bit during that second rise.
I really wouldn’t recommend trying to substitute another kind of jam in this recipe. The earthy sweetness of the fig is what really makes it. Happy Fig isn’t up on the Jamtastic website as of yet, but you can find it at various farmer’s markets in New York and Vermont, and the brand is rapidly expanding into grocery stores around Vermont and the greater Northeast.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy figs? Share in the comments!
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast
- ½ cup hot water
- 1Tbsp Sucanat
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- ½ - 1 cup white whole wheat flour, as needed
- ¾ cup Jamtastic Happy Fig jam
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the yeast, water and Sucanat. Stir to dissolve and set aside to proof, about 5 minutes.
- Once the yeast has proofed, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Stir to combine.
- Add the flours gradually, one at a time, paying attention to the consistency of the dough. Add white whole wheat flour if it's too sticky or water if it's too dry.
- Knead in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface until firm and elastic. Shape into a ball, return to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
- Once the dough has about doubled in size, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Spread with jam and sprinkle with pecans and a little more cinnamon, if desired.
- Starting with the long end, roll the dough up into a log, pinching the ends together as you go. Slice into 9 equal pieces.
- Transfer the rolls to a parchment-lined or lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes, until puffy. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake the risen rolls for 20 minutes, or until firm and browned but not too dry. Let cool in the pan until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or serve them warm with your choice of toppings!