Foodiva's Kitchen: Princess Beatrice's Zesty Rose Pretzel for the Queen's Birthday

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Princess Beatrice's Zesty Rose Pretzel for the Queen's Birthday




Truth be told, I can't even remember how I got here. Somewhere in the email banter between Gina of SPCookieQueen and I about a month ago, someone had mentioned a Pretzel Throwdown. I'd like to say it was me for sure, but since I had only made pretzels once before in my life and knowing that Gina is one of the most talented bakers around, why would I even want to put myself out on a limb like that?


But still, here I am, offering to make a pretzel on the occasion of Gina's birthday. It's her Super Sweet 16 (give or take a few decades) and I wanted it to be a special pretzel, a memorable and tasty one. When I made my first pretzels just earlier this year, I Googled up a recipe and got a fairly easy and decent one. This time round, I wanted to see if there was a better recipe out there, so I typed in 'Pretzel' and amongst the stuff that came up was this:

Remember this hat?

Obviously, the search engine's cache had changed somewhat after April 29, 2011. When Princess Beatrice stepped out of that limo, I believe at that moment the world saw nothing else but that hat perched precariously on her forehead. Hands up anyone who remembers what her sister wore? Yep, my point exactly. The instant I saw that most fascinating hat (or rightfully, fascinator), one word flashed immediately through my mind. Okay, it was actually two words, the first one being 'antlers' and the second (one more pertinent to this post) was 'pretzel'.

Anyway, when the idea of this pretzel challenge came about, the image that stood out in my mind was that of the (in)famous fascinator. I was about to take the art of Philip Treacy, creator of that fascinator, one step further and turn it into a pretzel fascinator for Queen Gina!


Unfortunately, the choice of flavors stumped me. There are no bakeries or speciality delis serving up pretzels in Brunei, so I had very little idea of developments and trends in the pretzel world. The nearest freshly baked ones we could get are in Singapore or Malaysia, a plane hop away. The most famous pretzel franchise in these parts is Auntie Anne's. Their pretzel flavors are apparently zeitgeist-like, with localized adaptations but they come at fairly steep prices too.

One of Auntie Anne's most popular pretzels is called the Zesty Roselle. Now the name itself should be enough to stop anybody in their tracks, but how does it actually taste like? Apparently, it's a wondrously purplish-pink hued pretzel sprinkled with the exquisitely sour plum powder. The roselle part comes from the roselle plant that imparts a hibiscus-like (or Ribena-ish) flavor to drinks and baked goodies. Since I didn't have any roselle in stock, I decided to use rose syrup instead which would give my dough a distinct rose flavor and that pinkish hue as well. Naturally, Auntie Anne's recipe remains a trade secret but not to worry, I made up my own.


The process of making this was like solving a new puzzle, I had to figure out how much dough was required, how long the dough needed to be rolled, how to twist and configure the pretzel shape using one continuous rope of dough, and so on and so forth. I measured the whole length of the fascinator 'ribbon' in the picture using an actual ribbon, then just rolled my dough rope out to that length. It was a very l-o-n-g rope! You can see where the dough rope looped and went over each other from my pictures below. Like I said, it was fun once you got the logistics out of the way.

I also sprinkled Murray River Pink Salt flakes on top alongside the plum powder, so the pretzels had this salty-sweet-sour thing going on. As you can see, I ended up with pretty sizable pretzels. One pretzel can probably feed about 5 really hungry people. If you just want to make regular palm-sized pretzels, then this recipe makes 8 of those.

I'd love to say the pretzel on the right is cocoa-flavored but that was the one that got burnt!

Something worth pointing out here is that I didn't dip my pretzels in a lye or hot baking soda solution but simply brushed their tops with a mixture of baking soda and milk before adding topping and baking. So these are really soft, chewy pretzels on the inside, with a dark crust and bite on the outside. Besides, can you imagine the chaos if I were to poach pretzels of this magnitude and design in boiling water? No, let's not even go there.

Gina has thrown this birthday pretzel challenge to anyone out there, and if you fancy having a go, then by all means send her your link or else check out her post here. The round-up will be in a few days (or whenever the Queen feels like it), so you'll still have time. (Update: You can now view the round-up here!).

Just as the fascinator is not your everyday head gear, this is not your everyday pretzel (unless someone out there finds a niche market for them). Then again, today is not your regular Sunday, so let's all take some time to wish my friend Gina a very happy and joyous Birthday! Hope you have a fab day and enjoy wearing...err, eating this pretzel, Gina! Best wishes and lots of love <3.

Holy Smokes, Gina...you should've been sitting front row at the Royal Wedding!


This post also goes to Yeastspotting, home of the coolest breads, rolls and yes, even pretzels!


Princess Beatrice's Zesty Rose Pretzel
Preparation time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Makes 8 palm-sized pretzels or 2 'fascinator' pretzels

Rose Dough
350 g (3 1/2 level cups) plain or all purpose flour
150 g (1 1/2 level cups) bread or high protein flour
1 1/2 level teaspoon fine salt
3 level teaspoons sugar
2 level teaspoons instant dry yeast
300ml (1 3/4 cups) water
50ml (1/4 cup) rose syrup (not rose water)
30g (4 tablespoons) cooled, melted butter

Glaze
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons milk

Toppings
1/2 cup plum powder
Pink river salt flakes (or coarse sea salt)

Method:
1. To make dough: Combine flours, salt, sugar and yeast (making sure salt and yeast don't come into direct contact with each other) and stir everything together with a whisk.
2. Stir rose syrup into the water, then add rose syrup water and melted butter to the dry ingredients and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky with a dull pink, matt look instead of the almost satiny sheen of well kneaded dough.
3. Scrape dough out and grease inside of bowl. Shape dough into a neat ball, grease dough and return to bowl. Cover and leave to rise for an hour or until slightly more than doubled in volume.
4. To make 8 palm-sized pretzels: Turn dough out onto work surface, gently deflate and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece with your palms (in one direction) into a rope about 30cm (12in) long, cover lightly and leave to rest for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven at 200C (400F).
5. Roll rope out again until 60cm (24in) long and about finger-thick. It should be a little thinner at each end then in the middle. Twist into pretzel shape and transfer to a greased or parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with other ropes. I could only get 4 on each tray.
6. To make 2 fascinator pretzels: After deflating dough, cut into 2 equal pieces. Starting from one end, roll out each piece with your palms (in one direction) into a rope about 100cm (40in) long, cover lightly and leave to rest for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven at 200C (400F).
 
That's one long rope and one messy counter...

7. Roll rope out again until 164cm (65in) long and about finger-thick. It should be a little thinner at each end then in the middle. Twist into fascinator shape, making sure to brush a little water onto the parts where the ropes overlap to seal them during baking. Carefully transfer onto a greased or parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the other rope. Place one rope on each tray.


8. Glaze: Brush each pretzel gently and thickly with the milk and baking soda mixture. Make sure glaze doesn't drip down to the unlined tray or pretzels may get 'glued' to the tray after baking (if you use silpat, this shouldn't be a problem). Sprinkle pretzel generously with plum powder and river or coarse sea salt, and immediately bake for 12-15 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and cool on a rack immediately. Best eaten warm.

44 comments:

Kitchen Vignettes said...

How absolutely delightful and whimsical!! What a brilliant idea, this post put a giant smile on my face :-) Happy birthday to Gina!

Foodiva said...

Thanks so much, Aube. So happy the pretzel tickled you! Now let's see if Gina is willing to wear that pretzel crown for the day..LOL.

Lilly said...

You are soooo funny! And I bet Gina will love the hat hehehe.
Now I have to get my ass to the kitchen and come up with a pretzel before the day ends. Wish me luck!

Foodiva said...

Lilly, I'm so glad you're joining us in our pretzel challenge/tribute for Gina. It shows what a generous heart you have! Thank you ;-).

Spicie Foodie said...

Maya you are a genius! I have a huge smile and had a giggle :) This is brilliant and I love the photo of Gina wearing here pretzel fascinator! You are making me want to run back to my kitchen and bake more. Love the flavors you've used. Gina is going to love this!!!
P.S. We really are " ultra-cute dorks" LOL!

Foodiva said...

Nancy, between your funky birthday song and my singing Corgis video, I'd say dorks totally RULE, wouldn't you? X-D (laughing so hard till I go cross-eyed!)

createwithmom said...

beautiful post cool :) Happy birthday to Gina

Foodiva said...

Akheela, thanks for stopping by and checking out this post!

Gina said...

You have me laughing so hard, I'm wiping away the tears. I knew you would show me who was truly the pretzel Queen. I'd totally wear that hat. You've made my birthday one of the best ever, thank you so much..
Love,
Gina

Foodiva said...

Gina! You finally decided to turn up at your own birthday party! Thank God you liked the pretzel, otherwise I wouldn't know what to do with myself... You should totally frame that pretzel crown photo to remind you of this very special occasion. Better think up a good theme for next year!
xoxo

Spicie Foodie said...

@Maya,
Yep I agree, dorks RULE! Now you are making laugh so hard:)

@Gina,
I would love to see you wear that hat. You'd look fabulous in it of course:)

PFx said...

That's another thing that you love, the swirl! Hahaha. The luscious effect lingering around your baked goods.
One thing tho, I truly love pretzel. If there are some on the table, it will be gone in a jiffy.

yummychunklet said...

Fantastic likeness in a pretzel! Great post!

Tina said...

Happy birthday to Gina! This pretzel thing is a cool idea and I love the unique twist on yours. Great post!

Kate@katescakesandbakes said...

Thats brilliant! What a great, genius idea for a pretzel! I really, really hope Princess Bea is reading this...

meghan said...

What a fun idea! I love it!!!

Meghan

Lizzy said...

Maya, this is wonderful!!! I love everything from the corgi's birthday song to Gina wearing her pretzel fascinator! Too funny...and I'm glad to know I still have time to bake up some pretzels. What a fun challenge :)

Three-Cookies said...

Hahaha, very funny and of course very creative as well. That charred pretzel is a great twist also, it will add smokiness:)

Becky said...

OMG, that's all I can say. Unbelievable and too funny:)

Becky said...

OMG, that's all I can say. Unbelievable and too funny:)

Nippon Nin said...

First of all , my husband and I love corgis. We think they are most adorable dogs. This post is really funny and interesting. Also has nice photos.
Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

Erin said...

How awesome is this entire post! I love it all. You did such a wonderful job!

Ann said...

I love it! From start to finish...what a fun post! Buzzed!

Sandra said...

There is no words to describe this post..I totally love it! Amazing photos and I must say Gina look awesome with her new hat:)) You girls rock!

Tamar1973 said...

What a creative birthday gift, although, if you hadn't mentioned Princess Beatrice's hat, I'd presumed that an octopus was your inspiration. :)

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

What an awesome idea and inspiration with clothes (actually a project I have going on too lol). Great fascinator pretzel!

Venie said...

wow! u are so creative. And once again ur blog make me drools on the keyboard.

Boabe de Cafea said...

Hey, that cool! I must admit that you had such an original idea :)

Lora said...

This is just ultra fabulous. So fun and creative and I love the flavors.

Foodiva said...

Thanks everyone for your comments, from luscious pretzel to smoky (ie. charred) flavor to octopus-inspired to Corgi-lovers-unite and even the hope that Princess Beatrice might drop by. I <3 them all! :-))

Quay Po Cooks said...

This pretzels are sooo COOL! An ultra fun birthday gift too. Brilliant!

Magic of Spice said...

Maya these are amazing! What a fun and creative idea, I'm sure Gina was beside herself :)

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Oh Maya Maya... you are one amazing blogger. I just wrote you are full of surprise in the latest post of yours, and now I saw Gina wearing this crazy hat, I couldn't help laughing so hard... Gina is so happy to have you as a great friend, Maya. You are absolutely amazing!!! Very unique Pretzels and great job!!!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

I love these. Very inspired and super creative :) I've never in my life heard of Auntie Anne's Zesty Roselle, but these came out fantastic! The pink salt was a nice touch, too. Where does one find plum powder? You and your exotic ingredients!

Your enthusiasm is contagious. They kind of remind me of octopi pretzels... but "pretzel fascinators" really is the best way to describe them.

Foodiva said...

Alisha, Gina seemed to be tickled, which was quite a relief... :-).

Foodiva said...

Nami, trust you to drop in on this crazy post...LOL. This new look suits Gina, no? We should get her the REAL hat for her birthday! I read in the news that the hat was sold for US$80K+, I wonder who bought it?

Foodiva said...

Christine@sugar apothecary, plum powder is sold in small packets in Asian or Chinese supermarkets, you should be able to find them easily in Chinatown. We usually dip our fresh guava slices in plum powder for that extra kick!

Cher said...

You are too delightful! LOVE IT!
Auntie Anne's State-side are no where near as creative...

wok with ray said...

Okay, move that light a little to the right. more, more, more. Dangggg that pretzel's really burnt! Oh well. I was laughing sooo hard when you put that pretzel on top of her head, Haha! You are such a fun person, Maya - thank you. And happy birthday, Gina!! :)

Foodiva said...

Cher, Auntie Anne's could do with pretzel like this on their menu, don't you think? ;-)

Foodiva said...

Haha, you're too funny Ray! That was natural light and there was no way I could shift that... And yes, that first pretzel was burnt because I was so busy making the second one. It was fiddly, took a long time and I forgot about the one in the oven!

Trix said...

OMG!!! You are a lunatic, I love it!! What a "twisted" mind you have, lol. I have had a lot of pretzels in my day, but never with plum powder, how interesting. I wish I had known about this, I love making pretzels!!

Foodiva said...

Trix, coming from you, I know lunacy and twisted mind are the best form of compliments! LOL. Didn't know you loved making pretzels, otherwise I'd have gotten you on board :-). You can make them for MY birthday though, how about that?

Russell van Kraayenburg said...

Haha I love this post! Every time I see that hat i giggle. In pretzel form it is even better! What a cute birthday gift idea. I want a pretzel hat for my birthday!

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