Orange Rolls for Our Lady of Altagracia

The Virgen de la Altagracia (Virgin of the Highest Grace) is the patron of the Dominican Republic. The story of Our Lady of Altagracia goes back to the Spanish colonization. Alonso and Antonio de Trejo, brought to the island a statue of the Virgin from their community of Placencia in Spain. The legend says that the image of the Virgin mysteriously disappeared from the house of the brothers Trejo. The statue later reappeared in an orange bush and this is the location where the first church of Higuey was built. Her feast day is celebrated on January 21. The connection to the orange tree is further developed into a lovely picture book by, Julia Lavarez, The Gift of Gracias.

Wake up to a delightful taste of orange with this breakfast sweet roll to celebrate Our Lady of Altagracia.


Sweet Roll Dough
1 pkg. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1/2 c. lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 c. butter, margarine or shortening
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 ½ to 4 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk sugar, butter, salt, egg, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 ½ hours.

Orange Filling/Glaze
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1 ½ c. sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice

Beat butter, orange peel, orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Roll dough into rectangle, 12x7 inches. Spread half of the orange mixture. Roll up dough tightly along 12 inch side. Pinch edge of dough to seal well. Cut into twelve slices. Place in greased pan. Let rise until double (about 40 minutes). Bake in 375 degree oven 20 minutes. Frost remaining orange mixture while warm.

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