Happy May Day! In college I had a professor of Middle English who insisted on this day that we go outside and hold hands in a circle and frolick while singing “Sumer is a cumin in, Loo dee sing kuku.” In medical school, when I lived next to the unforgettable, ever endearing Miss L’Heureux, on the first of Mays when she was near there would always be a package of goodies at my doorstep for me to almost step on as I exited our apartment building blurry eyed and morning blah. I so loved this tradition that now I believe in May Day like I believe in Christmas. We are to mark the birth of spring with gifts and good cheer.
So, like a little health-conscious hamster, I made some little baggie-sized savory bread nibbles for my neighbors and scuttled across several lawns to place red bags of Raisin-Nut Rye Rolls and cheesy fougasse (tomorrow’s post) in mailboxes and under porch awnings. If any squirrels beat my neighbors to their gifts, I am going to give Izzy full authority to exact a proper reckoning.
Raisin-Nut Rye Rolls
Adapted from The Village Baker
½ recipe seigle sur poolish dough
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins
½ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Glaze: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon cold milk
After the dough has been kneaded, add the nuts and raisins by rolling the dough out flat, add the goodies, and then roll it up like a log. Knead the dough for several minutes to incorporate the nuts and raisins completely. Let the dough rise, covered, for 2 to 3 hours.
To shape the rolls, flatten the dough and cut off pieces the size of a tangerine. This will make 12-16 rolls. Do not round the rolls, they are supposed to be irregular and lumpy looking.
Mix together the cornmeal, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl and spread it out on the worktable. Roll the dough balls in the mixture and then place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Glaze each with the egg mixture and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Abby, favorite neighbor of old, I miss you; You would love these—with wheat and rye flour, these are little healthy cinnamon toast balls. And as part of a May Day ritual, which I read a little into the history of all kinds of interesting pagan practices in the ancient Northern world, I am hoping the good juju in the act of giving spring gifts will ward of the snow rumored to return to Minnesota skies this evening and the next.