By Kevin Williams
So, I sent my parents to Montezuma in search of the Amish cooking “Holy Grail” of the South: Yoder’s Restaurant. There are several Yoder’s Restaurants in the USA, all independently owned. Yoder’s is such a common name among the Amish that it’s just coincidence. But there is a Yoder’s in Mount Hope , Ohio (my favorite), a Yoder’s in Sarasota (my close-second favorite), but I think there are also Yoder’s in Arthur, Illinois and Middlefield, Ohio. I think my bucket list has a clause in it that I need to try as many of these places as I can before I head for the Pearly Gates hopefully many years from now.
Now I love my parents and when you get into your 70s my view is you can pretty much darn well do what you please, but they committed Amish culinary blasphemy in my book. They arrived at Yoder’s 30 minutes before the restaurant's 11:30 a.m. opening and decided that they didn’t have the time to stick around (they were on their way to visit friends in Florida) and that it would have just been too much food for the two of them to consume. Okay, well, you know….on the first count, I could be on my way for a meeting with the President or the Pope or the Queen but if being just a little late meant I could have eaten at Yoder’s in Montezuma, I’d keep them waiting. On the second count, well, maybe that is why my parents are more successful at keeping pounds off than I am.
The recipe below is for pecan cinnamon rolls similar to what you see in the photo, it isn't the exact same recipe but this is a recipe that is popular in Amish homes in the South where pecans are king. The pecan cinnamon rolls came from Yoder's Bakery which has earlier hours than the restaurant.
I would have loved to have seen some of the menu items at Yoder's because it probably would have melded southern cooking with traditional Amish fare. Since my parents didn't get to sample it, here is a link to an article that gives more of a flavor. Below is a recipe for Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, one of the Amish meets Southern cooking items Yoder's is famous for.
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 /2 cup warm water
- 1 /2 cup milk
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 /4 cup butter
- 3 /4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
- 3 /4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 /4 cup melted butter
- In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup butter and salt; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1½ cup flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- While dough is rising, melt ¾ cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in ¾ cup brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with ½ cup pecans; set aside. Melt remaining butter; set aside. Combine remaining ¾ cup brown sugar, ½ cup pecans, and cinnamon; set aside.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into an 18x14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving ½ inch border uncovered; sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. With serrated knife, cut into 15 pieces; place cut side down, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from the pan onto the rolls.
- Serve warm.