Parker House Roll

The Omni Parker House Hotel shares the secret of the Parker House’s trademark light and puffy yeast rolls.

Ingredients:

6 cups all-purpose flour (about)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup margarine or butter (2 sticks), softened
1 large egg

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; add 1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick). With mixer at low speed, gradually pour two cups hot tap water (120-130°F, 49-54°C) into dry ingredients. Add egg; increase speed to medium; beat two minutes, scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in 3/4 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter; continue beating two minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 2 1/2 cups) to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes, working in more flour (about 1/2 cup) while kneading. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased large bowl, turning over so that top of dough is greased. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place (80-85°F, 27-29°C) until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough is doubled when two fingers pressed into dough leave a dent.

Punch down dough by pushing down the center or dough with fist, then pushing edges of dough into center. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead lightly to make smooth ball, cover with bowl for 15 minutes, and let dough rest.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). In 17 1/4-inch-by-11 1/2-inch roasting pan, over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 cup margarine or butter; tilt pan to grease bottom. On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut dough into circles. Holding dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted margarine or butter pan; fold in half. Arrange folded dough in rows in pans, each nearly touching the other. Cover pan with towel; let dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Bake rolls for 15 to 18 minutes until browned.

Servings: Approximately 42 rolls.

Boston Cream Pie

Named the official dessert of Massachusetts in 1996, the beloved pie is actually a pudding cake. This traditional New England recipe comes from the Omni Parker House Hotel.

Ingredients:

For 10-inch round sponge cake:
7 eggs, separated
8 ounce sugar
1 cup flour
1 ounce melted butter

For pastry cream:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups milk
2 cups light cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 eggs
1 teaspoon dark rum

For chocolate and white icing:
11 ounces white fondant
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions:

Sponge Cake

In two bowls, separate egg yolks and whites. Add half of the sugar to each bowl. Beat both until peaked. When stiff, fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add flour, mixing with a wooden spatula. Mix in the butter. Pour this mixture into a ten-inch greased cake pan. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 20 minutes, or until spongy and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Pastry Cream

In a saucepan, bring the butter, milk, and light cream to a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a bowl and whip until ribbons form.

When the cream, milk, and butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling. Boil for one minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Chill overnight if possible. When chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with one teaspoon dark rum.

Icing

Warm six ounces of the white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105°F (41°C). Add melted chocolate. Thin to spreading consistency with water.

Warm the remaining white fondant over boiling water to approximately 105°F (41°C). Thin with water if necessary. Place in a piping bag with a 1/8-inch tip.

Assembly

Level the sponge cake off at the top using a slicing knife. Cut the cake into two layers. Spread the flavored pastry cream over one layer. Top with the second cake layer. Reserve a small amount of the pastry cream to spread on sides to adhere to almonds.

Spread a thin layer of chocolate fondant icing on the top of the cake. Follow immediately with spiral lines starting from the center of the cake, using the white fondant in the pastry bag. Score the white lines with the point of a paring knife, starting at the center and pulling outward to the edge.

Spread sides of cake with a thin coating of the reserved pastry cream. Press on toasted almonds.

Boston Baked Beans in Bean Pot

Franks, beans, and brown bread were staples on the Saturday night supper menu for generations of Massachusetts families. This recipe for authentic Boston baked beans—no tomatoes allowed—comes from the city’s venerable Durgin-Park Restaurant.

Ingredients:

2 1/2-quart bean pot or covered casserole

1 pound beans* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 pound salt pork 1/2 medium onion, peeled and uncut

4 tablespoons sugar 1/3 cup molasses

1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper *Use California pea beans, York State beans, or small white beans.

Soak beans overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the baking soda in a Dutch oven and fill half way with water. Bring to a boil and add the beans. Boil for ten minutes. Drain beans in a colander and run cold water through them. Set aside.

Dice the salt pork (available in the bacon section of the grocery store) into one-inch squares. Put half of the salt pork on the bottom of the bean pot, along with the onion. Add beans. Put the remaining salt pork on top of the beans.

Mix the sugar, molasses, mustard, salt, and pepper with three cups of hot water and pour over the beans. Cover pot with lid and place the pot into the preheated oven. Bake for six hours. Check pot periodically to monitor the amount of liquid. Add water to the beans slowly as needed to keep them moist; do not flood them. Remove the pot from the oven and serve.

Servings: Serves about seven (one-cup servings)

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