Ahh, sweet summer is here and with it the glorious arrival of a everyone’s favorite flower – the peony!
With its spectacular display of colors (think pink, red, yellow and white!), lush, unbridled petals, and a delicate, intoxicating fragrance, it’s no surprise that the peony has been a delighting the senses for thousands of years. In fact, written records from as far back as 8 their enchanting beauty. Is it any wonder then that the peony is known the world over as “queen of the flowers?”
Today, peonies are just as stunning as ever and, thanks to new and improved varieties they're even easier to grow. There are three main types of peonies to consider when planting. The most common and widely available is the herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Herbaceous peonies grow to about three feet tall, die back to the ground each winter, then sends up vigorous sprouts each spring. The other is the tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), a slow-growing woody-stemmed shrub that can reach up to six feet. The third is a hybrid of the two. A combination of all three makes for a spring garden that darn near looks like it jumped out of a painting.
As dazzling as peonies are, they’re surprisingly no-fuss and require very little attention (I’m talking to you, brown-thumbs!) They survive the harshest winters, are practically drought resistant, and aren't bothered by deer or rabbits. Though peonies fare best in cool climates, early-blooming varieties with low-chill requirements can thrive in even some parts of the deep South.
You will need:
1 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons dry active yeast
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white, beaten
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Stir the saffron into the butter and let sit for 30 minutes.
- While waiting, heat the milk and add the butter and sugar to it.
- Pour into a baking bowl. While the mixture is warm to the touch, stir in the yeast.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add flour and eggs and mix until smooth.
- Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
- Cut the dough into 20 pieces and roll each piece into a long sausage. Roll from each side to the middle.
- Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Brush with egg white and decorate with sultanas.
- Bake until golden. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
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