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Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | Christmas Bread and Baking

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls

These pull-aparts are sweet and buttery enough to please even the most stubborn self-proclaimed vegetable hater - even though they're made with (shhh) squash. Food writer Judith M. Fertig adapted the holiday-staple recipe from one made by her great-grandmother.


  • 3 3/4 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen and thawed pureed pumpkin or squash
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, slivered (or 1 1/3 teaspoon dried leaves)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt, and set it aside.
  2. Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the honey, squash, egg, and water. (The liquid mixture should be less than 110º; anything hotter might kill the yeast.)
  3. With a fork, blend the squash mixture into the flour mixture until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Two hours before baking, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 6 sage leaves into the dough. Melt the butter and set it aside in a small bowl. Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 6 portions. Divide each portion into 3 pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and dip it into the melted butter. Place 3 balls in a muffin cup. Continue until 12 muffin cups are filled.
  5. Drizzle or brush each roll with 1/2 teaspoon of the leftover melted butter and then sprinkle them with the rest of the sage. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot (at least 70º) until they're double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The 3 balls of dough will rise together to form a cloverleaf shape.
  6. Heat the oven to 350º. Bake the rolls until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.