Being present, ever present no matter what’s going on around you is an art form in this world where we are taught from an early age to look and live in the future. That mindfulness of what tomorrow brings instead of how to enjoy today is something that we all have to deal with.
One of the best things about travel is that reality is suspended, being present is one of the most natural results of being out of your normal environment. All troubles and worries of everyday life are kept somewhere else and going back home usually involves returning to whatever you were dealing with when you stepped on board that train, plane or automobile.
Leaving, is so much easier that it’s something society has dealt with for thousands of years. People dream of it every day and books revolving travelers help people in regular lives escape for as much time as pages are read.
Returning has been on my mind, maybe because three weeks isn’t a very long time to be away adventuring. Living in a fictional world of complete freedom and lack of fear to travel alone has meant that most of my trips in my twenties have been for about a month or more at a time without thought of tomorrow’s worries.
It has kept my head above water when reality is making me sink and it has kept my passion for life alive. This, however, cannot go on forever and in a decade life will surely be different in many ways as the road keeps winding on.
Who knows where the road will take, but while the road may become ever more overgrown with complications there will come a day where this won’t be reality and to learn to enjoy the present is one art form that comes and goes and as the days get ever closer to my departure I’m trying to live in the present and block out the noise a little.
Living in the present also means enjoying the warmish weather while it’s still here because in a month we’ll surely be wrapping ourselves up. Which is why I made this very recipe, which looks rather daunting and complicated. Which I’ve done my best to simplify and break down each step to make it easy to follow so you can make these rolls. The warm buttery syrup with the ginger filling and the lashings of cinnamon throughout the dough make this recipe perfect for fall.
Gemberbolus – Dutch Ginger Rolls
Adapted from The Dutch Table
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, roughly chopped
1 cup water
3/4 + 3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place the crystallized ginger and water in a pot on high heat until boiling than turn the heat own to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, drain the ginger pieces, saving the water.
Heat the milk to lukewarm (just warm to the touch) and add the yeast, allow to proof for 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon and combine. Finally add in the egg and butter and combine until the dough has formed and is soft. Place in an oiled bowl and place in a warming cupboard to rise approximately 1 1/2 times it’s size.
Meanwhile, place the ginger, 2 tablespoons of the ginger water, sugar and vanilla extract in a blender and combine until smooth. Set aside.
To make the butter sauce, add 1/4 cup ginger water, the sugar and butter into a pot on medium high heat until boiling, lower the heat to medium-low to simmer for a further 10 minutes, it should be glossy and slightly thickened. Remove and allow to cool.
For the sugar sand, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Lightly grease a medium muffin tin, setting aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F.
Once the dough has risen, knead and divide equally into 12 pieces. Roll into balls.
Sprinkle a teaspoon amount of the sugar sand onto your working surface and roll one of the balls out into an oblong shape and 1/4 inch thickness. Spread a tablespoon amount of the ginger puree in the center of the rolls and then fold the low half into the center and the top half into the center. Roll into a ball and place in a muffin tin. Continue with the remaining dough balls and place each in the muffin tin.
Allow to rest for 15 minutes than pour 1 tablespoon of the butter syrup over the top of each. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Brush with one more tablespoon of syrup while hot out of the oven and allow to cool.
These are best served warm.