Cinnamon is a warming spice and reminiscent of delicious childhood treats in which cinnamon buns are the ultimate. I have been craving comfort these days and thinking about all the people in my life who have passed who WERE my comfort. My great-aunt and uncle, great-grandmother, grandmother and of course Abby.
I often find myself longing for the elders, the old ones who were ever present and ever available for me. We lived very close to these relatives, so close, that as a child I could easily walk to their houses. I spent many days and many weeks at a time with them, so much so, that in my heart’s memory, those relatives are my home.
When I was quite young I would sleep in my great grandmother’s bed with her. She was soft and warm and I felt safe. In her bedroom was a painting, a dreamy painting of the back of a young woman with a brunette ponytail just like mine. Her clothes were from another era; long dress, bonnet and parasol so white that her impressionistic image becomes the focal point. When I awoke from those nights my eye always went to that painting.
Now, that painting hangs in my own bedroom and when I awake, it’s the first thing I see again, many decades later. When my great aunt June died in 2017 she passed this heirloom onto me and I treasure it. I looked at that painting for so many years but it wasn’t until Abby’s death was I able to see a deeper significance in it.
In the background is another figure, a smaller one, just a few strokes of white and flesh and red. It is of another woman and she is blonde. The women are walking towards each other. They are alone and they have come from a distance in opposite directions. Soon they will be together but in this moment they are separated. Yet they see each other. It’s comforting to me now to think of this possibility of seeing my loved ones again. They are in the distance but I can still see them so clearly as though as they were right in front of me. I know it’s a mystery, what really happens after death, and I don’t try to pretend that I understand anything absolute. I’m not even sure what I believe as it changes and shifts with the years. What I do know, is that I had so much love, love that was simple and clearer somehow. And after all this time… I still long for them and for that love.
Ingredients: 1 cup lukewarm water (85-105F), 2 packets of yeast, 3 tablespoons honey or sugar, 1/3 cup dry milk, 1 egg, 2. 5 cups unbleached flour, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, more flour for kneading. (see recipe for additional ingredients)
Procedure is the same as for Tassajara yeasted bread except for the rising times. Dissolve yeast in water, stir in sweetening, dry milk, egg and 1/5 cups flour.Beat for 100 strokes and let rise for 30 minutes. Fold in butter and salt. Fold in one cup of flour until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Let rise for 40 minutes. Roll onto a floured board in a rectangle 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Spread on the softened or melted butter about 1/4 cup. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/2 cup raisins. Starting at one edge roll up the dough as tight as you would a carpet. Cut the roll in 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness and place on greased baking sheet leaving space for them to rise. Rise 20 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake at 375 for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Frost with powdered sugar glaze of 1 cup of powdered sugar and 4-6 teaspoons of milk or cream or lemon juice. Frost pastry hot.