My aunt, Annie B. Thompson, made the best butter roll, I have ever tasted in my life. A traditional Southern dessert, her recipe called for the combination of butter, whole milk and nutmeg, that literally melted in your mouth on the very first bite!
The butter roll is also one of those lost and nearly-lost recipes of days gone by, especially in a Southern Kitchen . My Aunt Annie , who learned to cook from her mother, My Grand, never wrote down any of our family’s most cherished recipes. They were passed down in the oral tradition and by just simply being in the kitchen at the right time of day and the instructions for the recipe were passed from cook to cook by showing them along with instructions like “you take a handful of this and little bit of that”, and everything would be perfectly prepared and just as delicious every time the dish was served at the dinner table.
Even though I never got the family recipe, I did stumble upon a recipe by Stan Gibson, of the University Club in Memphis , Tennessee, and his biscuit base butter roll recipe comes very close to Aunt Annie B’ s butter roll. However, Gibson elevated the simple ingredients of the dessert by substituting cream and half-and-half for the traditional whole milk, and drizzling crème anglaise over the soaking liquid that saturates the cooked dough and serving it with champagne grapes and figs.
In making Gibson’s recipe for an elegant butter roll, I feel as is I was able to rescue just a tiny bit of my family’s food legacy! This recipe was rich and sinfully delicious!