Don’t tell any proud Southerner that our delicate, beloved pocketbook rolls (so named because the folded dough resembles small purses or pocketbooks) bears an uncanny likeness to the famous Parker House rolls created in Boston. Do notice that, unlike less complex yeast rolls, these need to rise at least 2 hours to attain the right feathery texture when baked. The rolls freeze well, and if this is your intent they should be baked no longer than 5 minutes, cooled, frozen in an airtight container, and, when ready to be served, baked in a preheated 400°F oven about 5 minutes or till golden.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and milk and let proof till bubbly, about 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, the room-temperature butter, and the sugar with an electric mixer, then gradually beat in the boiling water. Add the yeast mixture and stir till well blended. Add the egg and stir till well blended. Sift in the flour, add the salt, and mix well. (The mixture will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap.)
Three hours before ready to use, roll out the dough on a floured surface to ½-inch thickness and cut into rounds with a 2- to 2½-inch biscuit cutter. Fold each round in half and place on a large greased baking sheet. Brush each roll generously with the melted butter, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm area about 2½ hours.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.